The Olympic sailing world reconvenes next week on the Spanish island of Mallorca, where we will see over 1,200 athletes competing across the ten Olympic classes at the annual Trofeo SAR Princesa Sofia Iberostar regatta, this year celebrating its 50th anniversary. The Olympic regatta held on the Bay of Palma marks the beginning of the 2019 European season for the 49er, 49erFX and Nacra17.
While this is not an Olympic selection regatta, the Trofeo Princesa Sofia is always an important event in every sailors calendar. Many teams will have been away from international competition since late in 2018, or in the past few months competed in only the Miami World Series event in light and tricky conditions. The Trofeo Princesa Sofia regatta is an early performance indicator for the season ahead, allowing teams to get back into Olympic level competition prior to the rigorous European schedule. This is made all the more important given many teams are pushing for national selection ahead the Tokyo 2020 games, to be sailed in Enoshima Japan in late July next year. Trofeo Princesa Sofia is an event that comes without the added pressure often associated with the World Series, European or World Championship events. Sailors and spectators can expect action packed class racing in one of the best sailing venues the world has to offer.
In the Nacra17 class, Italy’s Ruggero Tita and Caterina Banti are back and looking to continue their 2018 dominance. Tita and Banti are the Trofeo Princesa Sofia defending champions, as well as the current European and World Champions, and the pressure will certainly be on to continue their form leading into the 2019 European season. At the recent warm up regatta in Palma, the relative new Spanish duo of Tara Pachenco and Florian Trittle took home the win ahead of many of the more experienced teams. While only having several months together in the class, they seem to be hitting their stride at just the right time. Jason Waterhouse & Lisa Darmanin from Australia took out the win at the recent Miami World Series event in January and the Rio 2016 silver medalists will continue to be a team aiming for nothing but a gold medal.
The 49erFX will see 67 teams line up on the Bay of Palma. The current 49erFX World Champions and defending Trofeo Princesa Sofia champions of Annamiek Bekkering & Annete Duetz from the Netherlands will be one of the favourites and looking to repeat in 2019. They recently took the win at the Portugal Grand Prix event in Vilamoura in similar conditions as can be expected next week in Palma. Knocking at the door will be the Rio 2016 Gold medalist teams of Martine Grael & Kahene Kunze from Brasil, and Silver medalists Alex Maloney and Molly Meech from New Zealand. These two teams replicated their Rio 2016 positioning at the recent Miami World Series, so we expect to see fireworks on the 49erFX race course.
In the 49er class, a huge contingent of 107 teams will line up on the startline on Monday, which would be a modern 49er class record. Amongst them, current World Champions Sime & Mohivol Fantela of Croatia will certainly have a target on their back as the boat to beat, and are coming off the back of a 3rd place at the recent Miami World Series event and a 5th place at the Portugal Grand Prix. Previous European and World Champions Dylan Fletcher & Stuart Bithell (GBR) are fresh off their time with the SailGP and will once again be looking to podium, with Argentinian brothers Yago and Klaus Lange looking to defend their 2018 Trofeo Princesa Sofia title. Another notable entrant is the 2016 Olympic Gold Medallist and 4 times World Champions Peter Burling & Blair Tuke (NZL). After a long lay off to compete in The Ocean Race and win the America’s Cup, they’re back for their first major 49er event of their Tokyo2020 campaign.
While the focus for most will be firmly on the racing, many of our sailors will be looking to have a positive impact off the race course. On Thursday 28th of March, sailors from every Olympic class, as well as junior sailors from the local sailing clubs, will come together on the beaches of El Arenal and Can Pastilla for a beach clean up, to fight the plastic pollution we face in our oceans. Sailors, spectators and the public are invited to join in at the boat parks at both locations from 5pm. The beach clean up has been driven by the sailors themselves, with key members behind this event including Hannah Mills (470 – GBR), Atlantic Brugman (470 – USA), Iago López Marra (49er – ESP) & Yago Lange (49er – ARG). Lange says “It’s not only about the beach clean up, it’s more about being together as sailors and doing something about plastic pollution in the oceans.”
Be sure to tune into the official class social media channels during the week for live updates direct from the event in Palma.
Racing is set to take place from April 1st to 6th, on the bay of Palma. Medal races are scheduled to be held on Saturday 6th April.
Find the entry list here: https://www.trofeoprincesasofia.org/en/default/races/race-inscriptions
Results will be available here: https://www.trofeoprincesasofia.org/en/default/races/race-resultsall
Read the sailing instructions and all other official documents on the Official Notice Board here: https://www.trofeoprincesasofia.org/en/default/races/race-toa
You can also follow the regatta on social media. Share and like it, and please use the hashtag #SofiaIberostar to join the conversation!