Trofeo Princesa Sofia
The first qualifying event for the Sailing World Cup 2023 will muster 75 470 Mixed and 55 Nacra 17 crews in the Bay of Palma, the two mixed classes that will compete for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.
The inclusion of two mixed classes will be one of the great new features of the Paris 2024 Olympic Games. The Nacra 17 made its debut with a combined crew at the Rio 2016 Games but now the new Olympic cycle incorporates the 470 Mixed, which brings together the best exponents in the men’s and women’s classes into one mixed trapeze dinghy. Both the Nacra and the 470 were a key part of the last edition of the Princess Sofia Trophy and return this year stronger in quantity, experience and quality. In 2022, 66 470 Mixed and 38 Nacra 17 teams competed, and the list of pre-registrations for the 52 Trofeo Princesa Sofía Mallorca by Iberostar shows 75 470 Mixed and 55 Nacra 17 teams. Participation has gone up by 25%.
The mixed formula, a potted history
Olympic sailing included the first women’s fleet at the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul. The boat chosen for that historic debut was the 470, and the first women’s pair to win Olympic gold were the American duo of Allison Jolly and Lynne Jewell. Seven Olympic Games later, it was the Nacra 17 catamaran that rolled out the new mixed crew concept at Rio 2016, and the first winning duo was Argentina’s Santiago Lange and Cecilia Carranza.
“The International Olympic Committee saw it as a fantastic way to take on board the reality of today, that men and women share equally in all kinds of sporting activity,” explains Ferrán Muniesa, technical director of the Princesa Sofía, who experienced the process at first hand. “This innovation was very welcome, but it required a period of adaptation: at the beginning we had to work on the psychological aspect and look for ways to achieve fluid communication on board. As an organisation we cherish the integration women have loved high performance sailing for many years, especially in dinghy and Olympic sailing, where there is absolute equality. I think it’s a very exciting, dynamic formula”.
The list of pre-registered 470 Mixed teams in the Sofia consists of 75 teams of 26 nationalities and includes the world’s best specialists. The Sofia 2022 champions, the Spaniards Jordi Xammar and Nora Brugman, who arrive in Mallorca in good shape after winning the last regatta for the 470s, the Lanzarote International Regatta, in February. They were joined on the podium by their Spanish compatriots Silvia Mas and Nicolás Rodríguez, and the Swedes Anton Dahlberg and Lovisa Karlson. The three crews will once again face off on the bay of Palma against reigning world champions, the Germans Luise Wanser and Philipp Autenrieth, as well as current European champions, Dahlberg and Karlsson.
The 470 is a 4.7-metre boat that has been an Olympic boat since the Montreal 1976 Olympic Games. After two open format Games, in Seoul 1988 it made history as the first Olympic sailing class with a women’s category and in Paris 2024 it will make its debut as the second mixed crew class. The competition programme for the 470 Mixed in the 52 Trofeo Princesa Sofía starts on 3 April and consists of up to 10 scoring races plus the Medal Race.
The Nacra 17 fleet is also stronger than the 2022 entry. In fact, the organisers have had to increase the initial quota of 40 entries to accommodate all the teams which applied for pre-registration. Among the 55 teams of 25 nationalities competing for the 52nd edition of the Sofia will be a full house of the Tokyo 2020 podium, headed by the gold medallists, defending champions in Palma, and current world champions: the Italians Ruggero Tita and Caterina Banti. So too Great Britain’s John Gimson and Anna Burnet, silver medallists and bronze winners Alica Stuhlemmer and Paul Kohlhoff of Germany. Also back in Palma will be champion of the historic Rio 2016 edition and undisputed legend of Olympic sailing: the Argentinean Santiago Lange, who sails with with Victoria Travascio.
The Nacra 17 is a catamaran with a length of 5.25 metres by 2.59 metres beam and an optimum crew weight of 135 kilograms. Born in 2011, in 2012 it was chosen by World Sailing as the boat to debut the Olympic mixed crew category at the Rio 2016 Games. The Nacra 17s will start racing on 4 April and will compete in up to 12 races plus the Medal Race.
The 52 Trofeo S.A.R. Princesa Sofía Mallorca by Iberostar is the first qualifying event for the Sailing World Cup 2023 and will be held from 29th March to 8th April under the joint organisation of the Club Nàutic S’Arenal, the Club Marítimo San Antonio de la Playa, the Real Club Náutico de Palma, the Real Federación Española de Vela and the Federación Balear de Vela, with the support of World Sailing and the main Balearic public institutions. It is funded by the European Union Next Generation EU, the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism, the Recovery, Transformation and Resilience Plan and the Tourism Strategy Agency of the Balearic Islands.