The Bay of Palma turned on the perfect combination of sunshine and solid SW’ly winds for the fourth day of competition at the Trofeo Sofia Mallorca Olympic classes regatta, the first Hempel World Cup Circuit of 2022.
It was the first day of Gold Fleet racing in the Formula Kiteboard which put on a spectacular display for the tourists promenading along the waterfront of Playa de Palma. Out on the water it was a battle of the bigger and smaller French riders, with 110kg of Benoit Gomez (FRA) powering to a race win in the opening heat. Reigning World Champion, Theo de Ramecourt (FRA), was second behind Gomez but then hit his stride to win the next four heats. This puts de Ramecourt three points ahead of Gomez in the rankings with Toni Vodisek (SLO) seven points off the lead in third. De Ramecourt was buzzing from a high-adrenalin day on the race course. “The wind and the waves were super-tricky, and it was very technical upwind and downwind, easy to lose control. At the start of one race Toni got in front of my line just before the gun, so I had to stop and wait to get going. But it was a fun mission to play catch-up.”
France is also starting to dominate the Women’s Formula Kiteboard, as Lauriane Nolot (FRA) extended her lead to 11 points over Ellie Aldridge (GBR) in second overall. However, reigning World Champion Daniela Moroz (USA) started to find her form today. Apart from a UFD disqualification for breaking the start line too soon, three first places and a second made the American the stand-out performer of the day and puts her in third overall, just a point behind Aldridge.
Canada’s Sarah Douglas is running away with the ILCA 6 Sofia Mallorca title. After four finals races she is already 20pts clear of Greece’s second placed Vasileia Karachaliou, strengthening her hand today with two more wins.
With sixth overall she had the best Tokyo 2020 result of the ILCA 6 fleet assembled here. Now Douglas is intent on making every possible gain while Olympic medallists such as gold and silver winners Anne Marie Rindom (DEN) and Marit Bouwmeester (NED) are still on their post Tokyo break.
Douglas recalled, “I was reasonably happy with my games. I was happy with how I sailed. Going into the medal race I was in fourth and could have medalled so I was disappointed to miss out. I was happy with sixth and the way I sailed. I have grown as a sailor since then. I had a break after Tokyo. I got back in the boat in January and trained in Florida and Mexico training with the Canadians and Americans. The biggest thing for me has been the mental rest. I needed the time off and away from the boat after Tokyo, that has been the biggest factor. This is my first five day regatta since Tokyo so it is pretty tiring!”
Most consistent in today’s course racing on the Men’s iQFOiL windsurfing race track was Luuc van Opzeeland (NED) who scored two bullets from five heats to rise to second overall. Also winning two heats and only marginally less regular was GBR’s Andy Brown who continues to lead the competition by 4 points from the Dutchman. Some way back, 25 points off the lead, is Italy’s Nicolò Renna in third overall.
Brown’s rise through the ranks of the iQFOiL has been impressive. After struggling to make the top tier on the RS:X windsurfer, the higher power and speed of the foiling board seems to suit Brown much better. “I was sixth in last year’s Worlds and put in some good effort over the winter,” he said. “For me the difference this week is thinking about the race more, listening to what my coach Nick Dempsey three-time Olympic medallist is telling me. The speed was already there, and now it’s the racing, the tactics and the strategy, it is starting to come together.”
In the Women’s iQFOiL GBR’s Islay Watson overhauled her French rival Hélène Noesmie and now leads her class by two points even after the young Scot landed a BFD disqualification in the first of today’s four course races which Noesmie did not compete in.
Interestingly, Watson and fellow Scot Andy Brown are from the same place, Loch Insh in the Highlands of Scotland.
ILCA 7, Gold medallist on the rise
No one in the ILCA 7 fleet could match the double-bullet brilliance of Sarah Douglas in the women’s singlehanded division. Best of the Men today was Olympic Champion Matt Wearn who continues his comeback from 32nd overall on the opening day of the competition.
The Australian was third in the first race when it paid to go left and struggled a bit more in the next when it paid to go right, still scoring a reasonable 12th. Michael Beckett (GBR) was only a point less consistent than Wearn with 14th in the first race and narrowly missing out on a race win against Filip Jurišić (CRO) to finish second. “I got the day half right,” said Beckett, “which was probably about all that anyone managed today. It was hard to read the pattern of the breeze so that was a pretty good day out, really.”
A race win for Philipp Buhl (GER) puts the 2020 World Champion just two points behind Beckett’s lead, with Wearn now 15 points off the top. France’s Jean-Baptiste Bernaz, the overnight leader did not race today.
Solid Spaniards, Germans on the prowl
Jordi Xammar and Nora Brugman (ESP) maintain a solid lead in the 470 Mixed class with a steady fourth and fifth today. Underlining that the female helm, male crew combination is equally potent is Germany’s Luise Wanser and Philipp Autenrieth who are just four points shy of the medal zone.
“We are just waiting to get on the podium here. We are stalking them like a big cat hunting.” Laughed Wanser who was sixth in Tokyo with Anastasia Winkel, “If we could do better on the first upwinds we would be there. We are fast and we are sending it downwind and going fast. I don’t think it matters if you are a female or male helm and that is super cool. We won a race the other day when it was super over-powered conditions!”
The 49er class looks set to go to the wire with the top five teams going into the final day of gold fleet racing with only four points between them. Leaders are Poland’s European Champions Mikolai Staniul and Jakub Sztorch.
Spain’s Diego Botin, poised in fourth said, “We did not burn our discard yet and today we just focused on consistency. The third race we made mistakes and it was not so good. The new rig is quite different. I think it is stiffer and that makes it harder to sail. The old rigs probably have a small edge in these conditions but it is nice to have the change in the class.”
FX, Honours shared
Jana Germani and Giorgia Bertuzzi (ITA) were the most consistent team of the day, keeping all four race scores inside the top six. This lifts the Italians to fourth overall and just one point behind Vilma Bobeck and Rebecca Netzler (SWE) who also put in a solid day in the medium to strong conditions. The two frontrunners had a game of two halves, with Odile van Aanholt and Annette Duetz winning the first two heats, then a third place but slumping to a 14th. This was still good enough for the Dutch to retain a nine-point lead over the Brazilian Olympic Champions who started the day a bit shakily but gradually improved as Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze scored 9,15,2,1 to hold second place overall.
The 51 Trofeo Princesa Sofía Mallorca is jointly organised by 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, the Federación Balear de Vela and World Sailing, with the backing of the main Balearic public institutions.