51st Trofeo Princesa Sofía Mallorca
The 51st Trofeo Princesa Sofía Mallorca will be the first scoring event for the Hempel World Cup Series that will bring together the pre-Olympic teams of iQFoil and Formula Kite, the classes equipped with foils that will make their debut at the Olympic Games. of Paris 2024. Asier Fernández de Bobadilla, director of Olympic preparation of the RFEV, breaks down the particularities of these spectacular disciplines.
The 51st Trofeo Princesa Sofía Mallorca will debut the 2022 Hempel World Cup Series pigeonholes as the first major Olympic class event since Tokyo 2020. The regatta co-organized by the Club Nàutic S’Arenal, the Club Marítimo San Antonio de la Playa and the Real Club Náutico de Palma will include the two foil boats (hydrofoils) that will debut in Paris 2024 in four categories: iQFoil Men, iQFoil Women, Formula Kite Men and Formula Kite Women. The incorporation of these flying classes marks the beginning of a new era for Olympic sailing, and Mallorca will be an exceptional setting for the preparation of its protagonists.
iQFoil: Windsurfing half a meter from the surface
In the new iQFoil class, foiled windsurf boards are raced, replacing the RS:X that were used in the previous four Olympic cycles. The regulation equipment consists of a board 2.20 meters long by 95 centimeters wide and a 95 centimeter foil mast, with a 9.0 square meter sail for iQFoil Men and 8.0 square meters for iQFoil Women.
The incorporation of hydrofoils will allow Olympic windsurfing to sail at 30 knots with barely five wind speeds on a board located half a meter from the surface, a jump in performance that requires an evolution for windsurfers. “The adaptation of the sailors has been quite simple, because after all it is still windsurfing,” explains Asier Fernández de Bobadilla, director of Olympic preparation for the Royal Spanish Sailing Federation (RFEV). “What has changed a lot is the weight of the athlete: we are observing that the ideal in the male category is 100 kilos and in girls it will end in 80. The calculation is that ten kilos of weight are equivalent to about two knots of speed, so the anthropomorphic characteristics mark an important factor. In this regard, in Spain it is difficult for us to find such great people, but on the other hand we have two girls who are doing extraordinarily well: Pilar Lamadrid (champion of the iQFoil International Games in Lanzarote in January) and Nicole van der Velden (champion of the Lanzarote International Regatta in February) are already in the world top ten, and that two and a half years before the Games is a very good starting point”.
Ferrán Muniesa, sports director of the Princesa Sofía Mallorca Trophy, highlights the new competition format with which the iQFoil class will debut in this 51st edition. “They will navigate a series of slalom events, a long 90-minute regatta, and as a Medal Race, a novel system in which the best classified goes directly to the final, the second and third to the semifinal, and the next seven compete for two places in that semi-final. Only three boats have access to the final, so it is a much more aggressive format in which it will not be known who has won until the last regatta, something unprecedented in sailing”. The regatta field will be established in front of Can Pastilla.
Formula Kite: Flying with kites
Formula Kite is the coming-out of kitesurfing at the Olympic Games. Unlike the iQFoil, in which sails and boards are imposed, the Formula Kite allows you to combine up to four different kites and various hydrofoil designs, which a priori balances performance and prioritizes the skill of the sailor. “It’s a new class and the learning curve will be the steepest if we do it right,” explains the RFEV technician. “But we have a very promising group: In Formula Kite Men we have Kiko Peiró, Jacobo Espí, Sebas Ducos or Álex Climent, our great reference; in Formula Kite Women is Gisela Pulido, holder of 11 world kite titles in Freestyle. Although it is a very different discipline, that record means that she is number one in the world in kite control, to which must be added that she is very intelligent and learns very quickly. We are giving her all the tools in tactics, strategy, trim… And she is taking advantage of them”.
The premiere of the Formula Kite represents two milestones for the Trofeo Princesa Sofía Mallorca: On the one hand, it will be the fastest boat in the history of the event, with speeds around 40 knots; on the other, it will be the class that will compete closest to land, literally in front of Palma beach, bringing the show closer to the public than ever. In the opinion of Ferrán Muniesa, “this new class revolutionizes sailing in general and provides brutal versatility, because it is one of the