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Displaying items by tag: Trofeo Princesa Sofia

Qualification events that lead to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics are being greatly affected this week by the world Coronavirus crisis. The second of three Irish Olympic Laser Radial trials due to be sailed as part of the 2020 Trofeo Princesa Sofia on March 30 to April 4 in Mallorca has been cancelled.

As late as yesterday, the Spanish organiser was pressing ahead with the event, issuing a breathless press release advising "already several hundreds of sailors are training in the waters of Mallorca to prepare for this regatta".

24 hours later, however, it's the second major Olympic classes regatta to be cancelled this week after the Genoa World Cup was pulled on Wednesday.

“We deeply regret this situation but we must follow the restrictions requested by the Authorities to face this world health issue,” said the event statement.

As Afloat previously reported, held on the Spanish island of Mallorca, this event in the Mediterranean Sea is the traditional start of the European season for Olympic classes. 

The cancellation of the Trofeo Princesa Sofia Iberostar also triggered the postponement of the 2020 470 Class World Championship that were to be held March 16-21 in Palma, Mallorca.

Published in Laser

Organisers say there is intense activity already at the Trofeo Princesa Sofía Iberostar, to be held in the bay of Palma from 25th March to 4th April, especially at the venues of Club Nàutic S’Arenal and Club Marítimo San Antonio de la Playa. International sailing teams continue to arrive every day and there are already several hundreds of sailors training in waters of Mallorca to prepare for this regatta, considered as one of the best in the International Olympic calendar despite the threat of the Coronavirus threat. 11 people are currently recorded as having the virus on the Balearic islands, according to local media sources.

Teams from Japan, Australia, the US, Russia, Italy, Switzerland, France, Great Britain, Germany, Hungary and Croatia as well as Spanish sailors, have been doing their winter training since the end of January in the venues of the Trofeo Princesa Sofía Iberostar, specially classes 470, 49er, Nacra 17, Finn and Laser.

The largest fleet is undoubtedly the 470, both women and men, with over 80 teams. Club Nàutic S’Arenal will host the Class World Championship from 13th to 21st March, just before the Sofia Iberostar, so there will be much at stake in the bay of Palma.

Most 49er sailors (around 45 teams, men and women) are also in Mallorca after the end of the Class World Championship in Australia some weeks ago.

The same waves as in Tokyo 2020

The Trofeo Princesa Sofía Iberostar will be a selection event for some nations to decide the teams that will have the honour and responsibility of representing their country at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics so it will be a tense period for many from 30th March to 4th April, racing days in Palma.

For those who secure the Olympic spot for the Summer Games, the Sofía Iberostar has an added value: “If we are lucky to have the usual wind (SW) in the bay of Palma, with big waves, it would be as sailing in waters of Enoshima”, points out Santiago López-Vázquez, Olympic preparation Manager of the Spanish Sailing Federation (RFEV).

According to Mark Robinson, manager of the British Olympic Sailing Team, “Trofeo Princesa Sofia is a favourite amongst our sailors and the bay of Palma is the perfect venue. Our sailors look forward to training in the sun, wind and waves that Palma is famous for”. The large British team, including the Technical team members, are already at the Club venues after training in Portugal and taking part in some World championships held in the Southern Hemisphere.

Swiss sailors also appreciate the conditions in the bay of Palma. “The venue is awesome to train with many different conditions, and above all, a very good temperature in winter! We started training three days ago and for now, we had a good breeze and big waves, which is perfect to improve my weaknesses”, points out Eliot Merceron, Laser Standard sailor.

The top world sailors

“Everyone comes here because we know we will have great sailing conditions”, adds Sébastien Schneiter, Swiss 49er team skipper-. The 49er world’s best sailors are here”. His crew, Lucien Cujean, highlights that the Sofia Iberostar “enables you to judge if you did a good winter training. It’s always a good value for us in term of quality, racing, and time on the water!”

The Chief of the Spanish Navy also agrees with this view toward the Olympic Games: “The 51st edition of the Trofeo Princesa Sofía Iberostar, in this Olympic year, provides the best international regatta possible for the Spanish pre-Olympic team to test our nation’s preparation level, with scarcely four months left for the Tokyo 2020 Games”.

Racing kicks off on 26th March

The Dragon, ORC and one-design classes will open the Trofeo Princesa Sofía Iberostar. These fleets, based at Real Club Náutico de Palma, will race from 26th to 29th March. The Olympic Classes, with venues in Club Nàutic S’Arenal and Club Marítimo San Antonio de la Playa, will race from 30th March to 4th April, with the top sailors battling in the Medal Races, which score double points, on the last day.

Multinational hotel company Grupo Iberostar from Mallorca is the event’s main sponsor since 2015. Furthermore, the 51 Trofeo Princesa Sofía Iberostar has the collaboration of Marine Pool, Trasmediterránea, Europcar, Torqeedo and Palma Beach as well as the institutional support of the Balearic Government through the Balearic Islands Tourism Strategy Agency (AETIB), the Turisme Mallorca Foundation from Consell de Mallorca and Ports de Balears as well as Palma and Llucmajor city councils.

Published in Tokyo 2020

The counter clicks down. On Monday there are just 130 days to go until the 2016 Olympic Sailing regatta starts and in Mallorca the curtain will rise on the crucial, high pressure European Olympic regattas season when more than 800 boats take to the Bay of Palma for the 47th Trofeo Princesa Sofia IBEROSTAR. 

Just qualified for Rio, Irish 49er skiff pair Andrea Brewster and Saskia Tidey will be among 13 Irish sailors competing on the Bay of Palma. Three Irish Laser sailors are in Mallorca for the second part of their neck and neck trial. James Espey leads Finn Lynch by a point and Fionn Lyden is five points off the lead. As well as the the trialists Kinsale's Darragh O'Sullivan is also competing in the Laser division.

There is a red hot fleet of 150 in the mens Laser class where even qualifying for the 60–boat gold fleet represents a big achievement in itself. A stand out performance such as Lynch's gold fleet finish a fortnight ago at the European Championships would give the edge in what is a neck–and–neck race for the single Irish berth.

Ireland has now qualified for four sailing events at the Rio 2016 Olympics including the Men’s 49er skiff, Laser Standard, Laser Radial as well as the 49erFX women’s event. 

Oisin McClelland from Northern Ireland is competing in the Finn class, the Donaghdee man had some promising races in the Europeans two weeks ago and has been based in Valencia all winter. His main target this year is the Finn Junior worlds.

The popular, showcase Balearic Olympic regatta is an Olympic qualifying regatta for the first time. So this week represents the last chance to secure the remaining Olympic places for European nations in each of the ten Olympic classes, and also for one African nation in the Finn and the Nacra 17 Class.

Suffice to say the pressure on certain sailors is only set to rise here. And almost inevitably the long cherished, hard fought for dreams of competing at the 2016 Olympic regatta in Rio, for many will be left behind on the Bay of Palma.

Such are the stakes at this 47th Trofeo Princesa Sofia IBEROSTAR - Olympic qualification - that the total complement of entries across the classes is significantly higher than at the corresponding regatta back in 2012 when all that was offered was silverware, the chance to polish up the processes in hard racing conditions and to check in with the opposition.

There are 220 more boats entered this year than raced here in the lead up to London 2012. Entries officially close Sunday but already in excess of 800 boats are registered representing 68 different nations, three more nations competing here than in 2012.

Proud of their long history of producing what many sailors regard as the best, most professionally run Olympic regatta in the Med the organisers have upped their game too.

"For us this is very special to have Olympic selection here. It's our chance to shine. We have more responsibility to the sailors to be more professional than ever, to run better races. People are taking a lot of risks here, there is a lot of pressure on them and we need to respond, all making that extra effort on the water." says Ferran Muniesa, Regatta Director.

"We have added an eighth race area, up from seven in the past, just to ensure we are as efficient as we can be, looking to make it easier to get right through the qualifying shcedule on the first days."

"And we have talked closely with the classes and the sailors, listening to what they wanted here to make the regatta the best it can be. For example the Nacra 17s wanted all their boats weighed. And the Finns requested a specific Race Officer to be with us."

The regatta have made a significant investment in time and money to develop an APP which is available on IOS and Android. It is designed to show the race tracks for fans, friends and families of the competitors. It also allows media to follow racing remotely. The application (APP) provides access to all the information available on the web (live information from the race course, regatta results, bulletin boarda, news and multimedia) and also allows the user to select one or more sailors or one or more classes to follow, to receive notifications with the most relevant information on the specified sailors or classes.

All of the classes have strong entries. Some contain most of what would be considered the top medal favourites for Rio.

Medallists, Champions are here
The record entry in the Nacra 17s have five duos of the top six finishers at last month's world championships including France's four times world champions Billy Besson and Marie Riou. The Finn class includes Gold Cup holder Giles Scott (GBR), recently crowned European champion Pieter-Jan Postma (NED), Brazil's Miami World Cup winner Jorge Zarif, Denmark's 2012 Olympic silver medallist and runner up in Miami Jonas Hogh-Christensen, Europeans runner up and four of the top six ISAF ranked sailors.

Brazil's legendary Robert Scheidt, Miami World Cup winner must be top seed in the Laser class which is at maximum capacity but misses a few top names. Among those not here are GBR's World Champion Nick Thompson and Australia's Tom Burton.

The Women's Laser Radial class sees China's Olympic Gold medalist Lijia Zu stepping up her compressed, compact 2016 Olympic campaign after her sixth placed Europeans finish and 12th in Miami. Belgium's 2012 Bronze Medallist Evi Van Acker, 2012 Bronze Medallist heading for her third Olympics lines up. New European Champion Marit Bouwmeester (NED) is not here but the Europeans' third, fourth and fifth placed Josefin Olsson (SWE), Tuula Tenkanen (FIN) and 2008 Silver Medallist Gintare Scheidt (LTU)- the winner of the 2015 Rio test event are all racing in the 95 boat field. The Men's 470 fleet features helms and or crew which won all three 2012 Olympic medals.

Inevitably some selection battles will go to the wire. For example while the USA Sailing Team have already selected in five classes, Australia have chosen in three classes - 470 Men, 49er and Nacra 17 and the British Sailing Team have selected in eight classes , their selection trials continuing in the 470 men and 49er classes are ongoing. Among the most engaging internal battles this week will be that for the USA's Laser berth between Charlie Buckingham and Erik Bowers, similarly an ongoing rivalry in the Finn Class between Australia's Oliver Tweddell and Jake Lilley. There are many more through the fleets.

Whether they have only recently secured their selection or actually booked their tickets to Rio as early as last year in Santander at the ISAF Sailing World Championships, for dozens of other sailors this week is much more about learning hard miles in the white heat of competition. After beating Olympic Silver Medallist Zach Railey for the USA Finn berth Caleb Paine has swapped one type of pressure for another:

"Now it is about testing everything and making sure I am best prepared for the Olympics. The immediate stress is relieved slightly but here it is about seeing how I stack up agains the rest of the competition. I have the ability now to focus on my complete racing. It is going to be a great event with such a high quality fleet. Definitely here I want to work on my downwind speed."

Published in Olympic

#trofeosofia – Annalise Murphy of the National Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire enters the final day of racing this morning before Saturday's medal races in third place overall at the Trofeo Sofia in Palma. Breeze lovers in all classes made the most of the conditions with some perfect scores and are closing the gap on some of the regatta leaders. Today will see the last day of finals and the last chance to break into the top ten for medal race participation.

One of Annalise's arch rivals, Evi Van Acker (BEL) is continuing undefeated in the Laser Radial finals with two more bullets added to her perfect score. It has been a formidable performance eclipsing Annalise's own heavy weather speed edge. The 2014 SWC Champion is obviously enjoying the breezy conditions and is closing the gap on Alison Young (GBR) who is conserving a one point lead going into the last day of finals. "There is a very strong competition in this regatta. It has been good racing and I have been consistent in all conditions. We will see what the rest brings in." Van Acker said.

Annalise's capsize dropped her out of the top ten for the first time in the competition, scoring an 11th, her discard, in race seven. The main hope for an Irish sailing medal in Rio tweeted last night: 'A hard day for me today including a unintentional swim in the second race. In 3rd overall now'.

After scoring some big points in the first day of finals, the Spanish FX team of Tamara Echegoyen and Berta Betanzos are back in contention with a win and top five results. They are placing second overall, just four points behind Danish sisters Maiken and Anne-Julie Foght-Schutt. The Royal Irish Yacht Club's Glamrockers Andrea Brewster and Saskia Tidey are in the top half of the skiff fleet, 21st from 47.

Despite a penalty collected for starting too early, Peter Burling and Blair Tuke (NZL) are conserving a healthy 21 points lead over Erik Heil and Thomas Ploessel (GER), but can't make any more mistake. The German have also increased their lead to 22–points over Brazilian team of Bianchi and Lowbeer. Another two top ten places (7,8) scored by the Belfast Lough 49er pair Ryan Seaton and Matt McGovern keep them eighth overall and in medal race contention barring slip–ups today.

Overall Class leaders going into Friday's racing are:

470 Men: Luke Patience / Elliot Willis, GBR
470 Women: Jo Aleh / Polly Powrie, NZL
49er: Peter Burling / Blair Tuke, NZL
49er FX: Maiken Foght Schutt / Anne-Julie Foght Schutt, DEN
Finn: Giles Scott, GBR
Laser: Philipp Buhl, GER
Laser Radial: Alison Young, GBR
NACRA 17: Billy Besson / Marie Riou, FRA
RS:X Men: Julien Bontemps, FRA
RS: X Women: Charline Picon, FRA
2.4 Metre: Megan Pascoe, GBR
Dragon: Patrick Monteiro De Barros / Pedro Manuel, POR

Class winners:
Kiteboard Men: Florian Trittel, ESP
Kiteboard Women: Elena Kalinina, RUS

Published in Olympic

#annalisemurphy – The National Yacht Club's Annalise Murphy dealt well with the demanding conditions in the Bay of Palma yesterday in the opening rounds of the Trofeo S.A.R. Princesa Sofia in Mallorca.  In the Radial, experienced sailors Tatiana Drozdovskaya (BLR), Alison Young (GBR) and Annalise are top three after two races in gusty winds. Annalise lived up to her Irish Sports Council star billing as a 'podium athlete' and leads Irish squad fortunes so far in Spain with Irish Olympic class sailors also competing in the 49er, 49erFX and the Laser dinghy classes.

The wind played dirty tricks all day in Palma on sailors and race committees who had to juggle with big shifts and different pressure. From 4 to 20 knots, and reaching 40 in some gusts, the wind turned around the bay playing with everybody's nerves! However, the show was on with the bay covered with white caps and the 800 boats that raced their first day in the event.

The Finns were the first fleet to return ashore with two races completed. World champion Giles Scott (GBR) took the first race, managing the shifts to his advantage.

The wind played havoc in the first women 470 race with two third of the fleet in the blue group failing to finish within the time limit.

Sailing the Nacra today proved to be quite an athletic performance with gusts reaching over 30 knots. Only ten boats managed to finish the first race in both groups where capsizes and broken equipment was a common sight

Olympic medalists and World champions Peter Burling and Blair Tuke (NZL) are taking a perfect start in the 49er event with two victories. Northern Ireland skiff pair Ryan Seaton and Matt McGovern are 14th from 71. 

Tamara Echegoyen and Berta Betanzos (ESP) proved just as good with a clean score in the FX. Dun Laoghaire's Andrea Brewster and Saskia Tidey are 29th from 40.

Jesper Stalheim (SWE), Tom Burton (AUS) and Lorenzo Chiavarini (GBR) have claimed the only race sailed in the three laser groups. Belfast lough's James Espey lies 64th from 150.

Only eight out of 45 windsurfers crossed the finish line in the Men RS:X yellow group. Today windy race was won by World champion Julien Bontemps (FRA) and Samuel Sills (GBR) in the Men and by Maayan DAVIDOVICH (ISR) and Sofia Keplacka (POL) in the women.

For the second day in a row, the kites didn't race. The wind was either too strong or too gusty to allow for proper racing.

Racing continues today for all classes.

Published in Annalise Murphy

#TrofeoSofia – James Espey is the only member of the Irish Olympic Sailing Team to qualify for this morning's gold fleet racing at the ISAF Sailing World Cup Trofeo Princesa Sofía in Palma. The Belfast dinghy sailor scored seventh in yesterday afternoon's race five to give him three top ten results to bring him up to 24th overall in his massive 144–boat fleet.

The results scored 10, 13, 8, 27 and 7 are all the more satisfying for the Royal Ulster sailor given they were produced in difficult light winds, conditions that have frustrated his Irish London 2012 team–mates and have consigned them to silver fleet participation for the rest of the regatta.

The shifty winds kept the sailors busy all day with bands of wind up to 14–knots then down to 6–knots coming down the course areas of the fourth ISAF World Cup event.

Fleets are now split into gold and silver for the final three days before the medal race on Saturday.

After four races Annalise Murphy counts 32, 46, 48 and a 31 to be placed 86 from 96. It's a big disappointment for the Irish Laser European champion especially given her light wind preparations at the Rio Olympic venue itself last season plus there are forecasted strong winds expected later this week, sailing conditions which the Dublin 'Breeze Queen' relishes.

One race in the split 96-boat Laser Radial fleet sees Murphy's long time rivals Marit Bouwmeester (NED) head into gold fleet racing two points clear of Great Britain's Chloe Martin.

Bouwmeester finished second in the yellow fleet whilst Martin took a third in the blue fleet as the top two spots remain unchanged.

"It was a nice day even though it was quite a long day on the water because we got a good race in and now we can do gold fleet racing," said Bouwmeester. "There are so many girls here and the racing is really good. It should be a fun three days in the gold fleet which will be nice."

Despite setting the early pace Bouwmeester isn't getting carried away, "I'm just trying to sail as best as I can, learn as much as I can and then if I win I would like that but if not then there has to be more work done."

The days race wins went to Daphne van der Vaart (NED) in the blue fleet and Anne Marie Rindom (DEN) in the yellow fleet.

Racing got off to a late start in the afternoon with a light morning breeze ensuring Palma Bay resembled a shiny pane of glass. When the first race got underway after 14:00 local time a moderate 5 knot breeze that picked up to 10 knots saw the light wind specialists continue their strong early form. 

On a separate course, with scores of 19, 31, 23, 22, 25, and 19, Belfast lough 49er duo Ryan Seaton and Matt McGovern lie 51st from 79. 

Last night 49erfx Irish newcomers, Andrea Brewster and Saskia Tidey, who are making their Rio campaign debut in Palma reflected on their overall position of 44th from 50 on twitter: 

"Tough day for us at the office. A wee bit soul destroying when the things you can't control attack and you're left to fight back... Today was not our day. We have come away from it with the positives which were good speed and starts again. We will be competing in silver fleet for the rest of the regatta which will be an excellent opportunity to practice what we need to and take the most we can from the rest of the week. We got this ... Just need to give it time and have patience!

Unfortunately our result on the score board doesn't show how much our sailing has improved and how far we have come this winter but we are happy and feel like we are making gains and couldn't be prouder!"

The girl's Royal Irish club–mate Ross Hamilton is 72 from 92 in the Finn dinghy.

How to handle the super tricky conditions experienced so far in Palma are captured in this youtube account by British Finn sailors Andrew Mills and Giles Scott.

Racing begins this morning at 11am with an easterly wind of 5 knots shifting to a southerly position and increasing to 14 knots this afternoon and possibly more.

Full results here

Published in Olympic

#TrofeoSofia_en – Looking forward to another consistent showing this today, Ireland's James Espey lies 30th after three rounds at the ISAF Sailing World Cup Trofeo Princesa Sofía in Palma and leads Irish hopes at the massive Spanish regatta. The Belfast sailor counted a 10, 13, 8 leaving him 30th overall in the mens 144–boat Laser fleet.

The rest of the Irish Olympic Sailing Team will be seeking a better performance as they hit the water this morning about now with winds forecast to be slightly stronger than yesterday's 6-8 knots. First day Irish report here and vid highlights above.

Originally scheduled for 11am the fleets have been held ashore with the Finn dinghy (including Ireland's Ross Hamilton) released first. Two more races are scheduled in each of the 11 competing classes.

Espey has been in Palma for over a week and has experienced a host of different conditions which he appears to have mastered by virtue of yesterday's performance and his recent twitter postings:

Published in Olympic

#annalisemurphy – Ireland's sailing superstar Annalise Murphy prepares for battle at the second round of the International Sailing Federation's World Cup in Mallorca this morning and forecasts show that the massive Spanish competition is to get off to a decidedly light air start.  

Annalise appears to be on form finishing second at Andalusian Olympic week (pictured above), a Cadiz based training regatta ahead of today's major cup event.

In Cadiz, Annalise finished off the podium by three points as Belgium's Emma Plasschaert, tied with Amelie Riou (FRA) on 21 points, won gold by countback having won three of 11 races all sailed in testing 15 to 20–knot breezes.

Winds today, however are not expected to reach more than five to eight knots in Palma which will make for some long days and interesting results for all 96 Laser Radials that have signed up to race in Mallorca. All three Laser Radial gold medallists from the 2013-2014 Sailing World Cup registered.

The Dun Laoghaire sailors is scheduled to have three races this morning and will complete 11 by Friday ahead of Saturday's final medal race,  a cut she will most definitely be hoping to make given her slip at the first ISAF Cup event in Miami in February.

ISAF Sailing World Cup Qingdao victor Dongshuang Zhang (CHN), Melbourne gold medallist Tatiana Drozdovskaya (BLR) and Miami winner Paige Railey (USA) will all compete in Palma Bay.

They will be joined by 2013 Laser Radial World Champion Tina Mihelic (CRO) and London 2012 medallists Marit Bouwmeester (NED) and Evi Van Acker (BEL). Alison Young (GBR) returns to defend her title.

Published in Annalise Murphy
The medal races and Women Match racing finals have crowned today the sailing champions in the 42 Trofeo Princesa Sofia in Palma. The Irish Sailing team did not qualify for the final rounds.

The Women Match racing finals were a hard fought battle with Silja Lehtinen, Silja Kanerva, Mikaela Wulff (FIN) taking the first match by a small margin, then Sally Barkow, Elizabeth Kratzig-Burnham, Alana O'Reilly (USA) winning the next three close matches to win the Gold medal.
"It feels really good to win a Sailing World Cup event. We came into this event thinking it was going to be a kind of warm up leading up to the first phase of the U.S. Trials in May. We really showed a lot of progress through the event and that was really important. We still have a lot to work on and we're off to Weymouth next week to train with the rest of the U.S. Team then on to Hyères." commented Sally Barkow (USA) after the win.

The Finals and Petit-Finals were sailed in perfect conditions after the sea breeze filled in around midday to a steady 7-10 knots. The Petit-Finals saw Anna Tunnicliffe, Molly Vandemoer, and Deb Capozzi (USA) defeat Claire Leroy, Marie Riou, and Claire Pruvot (FRA) in two straight matches to win the Bronze medal.

In many classes, yesterday leaders kept their early position after the double pointers medal race to win the title.

For Ben Ainslie (GBR), who was playing for Gold or Silver, winning the medal race from start to finish settled the questions. Giles Scott (GBR) kept Silver and Thomas Lebreton (FRA), the bronze.

Ben Ainslie, coming back to the Finn after a break sailing in the Match racing circuit, is successful with a win in Sail Melbourne a second in Miami and a second SWC win in Palma. The Olympic champion is also taking the Ultimate Trophy which crowns the best sailor across all classes in the event.

"The come back to the Finn has been hard work. I need to work more on my fitness. It is good to see the other British do well, it is motivating and is good for sailing in England." Ainslie's next stop will be Hyères and Sail for Gold for the start of the British Olympic selections.

The Gold medallist is slightly increasing his lead on the SWC standings over Giles Scott, but the two British are sailing away from Zach Railey (USA) in third place.

Dorian van Rijsselberge (NED), Tom Ashley (NZL) and Nick Dempsey (GBR) kept a strong hold on their early lead to take the podium in the RS:X class. Dempsey takes second place behind the Dutch in the Sailing World Cup standings.

"I feel really happy with my results." says Dorian van Rijsselberge. "It was a wonderful regatta, with sunshine and plenty of wind! My goal here was to finish in the top three and winning is always very nice."

Marina Alabau (ESP) who has been leading the event since the second day, is winning the Trofeo Princesa Sofia MAPFRE for the first time. Charline Picon (FRA) remains in second to take silver. Coming into the medal race in third, Laura Linares (ITA) suffered from an early start disqualification in the Medal race. The last place on the podium goes to her rival and first day leader Alessandra Sensini (ITA) who placed third in the Medal race. Marina Alabau (ESP) takes also the lead in the Sailing World Cup.

With victory going to Percy and Simpson (GBR) on the penultimate racing day, the battle on the Star medal race was for Silver and Bronze. Robert Stanjeck and Frithjof Kleen (GER) got to their best placing in the event to win second overall on equal points with Torben Grael /Marcelo Feirrera (BRA) and Diego Negri /Enrico Voltolini (ITA).

Manu Dyen and Stéphane Christidis (FRA) successfully defend their title in Palma. This is the tenth time the French duo compete in the Spanish event. Today they transformed their early lead into Gold after a Medal race where the Italians nearly succeeded in taking the championship.

"We had a god start with the Italians just behind us. On the first beat we fell in an area with less wind. The Sibello passed us and had a good gap on us at the mark, enough to take the regatta." A good gybe set at the bottom gate reduced the distance and gave the French the advantage and the title.

Pietro and Gianfranco Sibello (ITA) conserves the Silver. The bronze was up for grab by the next six teams. The Danish team of Allan Norregaard and Peter Lang (DEN), favourites for the Bronze, missed their chance after finishing 9th in the Medal Race. It is the Austrians Delle-Karth/Reisch who take the bronze.

New teams sail to success in 470.

In the 470 as well, the top two kept their early position after the medal race to secure a place on the podium and points towards the Sailing World Cup Standings. French Nicolas Charbonnier and Jérémie Mion (FRA), sailing together since last February have found their mark and transformed the last two training months into success. "There are still many points to adjust but this week was a good test for us as new team."

When asked about their objectives and the French selection coming soon in Hyères, the Olympic bronze medallist answers that "winning the next Olympics is the main goal" and that they will not be distracted by anything else. Pierre Leboucher and Vincent Garos keep the second place overall but lose the title won last year.

Luke Patience and Stuart Bithell (GBR) climb on the podium to grab third place after a 4th in the Medal race.

In the 470 women, one week training together, seemed to be enough for Jo Aleh and Bianca Barbarich-Barber (NZL), who claimed victory in their fist event together. Ai Kondo and Wakako Tabata (JAP) conserve second position and the Israeli team of Gil Cohen and Bouskila Vered, the third.

Penny Clark and Katrina Hughes (GBR) fourth in Palma places them ahead of the Sailing World Cup standings.

There is a new champion in the Laser class with Olympic Gold medallist, Paul Goodison winning the event on the last day. The results were tight among the top three and the medal race decisive. A two places gap was enough for Goodison to take Gold from World Champion, Tom Slingsby (AUS) who has to settle for Silver. Sail Melbourne winner, Nick Thompson (GBR) keeps the Bronze and extends his lead on the Sailing World Cup standings.

Sarah Winther (NZL) takes Gold in the Radial with Evi van Acker (BEL) keeping second place. Gintare Scheidt (LTU) wins the medal race and the third place on the podium.

"I am very happy with my week." says Winther, "I didn't come here to win, I used this event to work on some key things. Racing in Palma was awesome this year, surely the best."

Sailors will be heading to the next Sailing World Cup event starting in two weeks in Hyères.

Published in Olympics 2012

Unfortunately an 18th and 9th scored in yesterday's sailing has dropped Annalise Murphy of the National Yacht Club to 11th overall, just one point off qualifying for the medal race.  It means none of the Irish campaigners in Palma will take part in today's finals. However Murphy's result of 11th overall against a 78-boat fleet remains a powerful performance for the Dun Laoghaire Olympic campaigner. She scored six results in the top ten in predominantly light conditions. The 49er crew of Ryan Seaton and Matthew McGovern who qualified for gold fleet racing ended the regatta 17th. Podcast on Annalise Murphy's Olympic progress.

annalise

Annalise Murphy sailing in the last rounds of the Princesa Sofia Trophy Photo: Jesús Renedo

 Two final races completed on Friday in the 2011 Trofeo Princesa Sofia have decided the top ten sailors in each Olympic class who will compete in the medal race Saturday. With the same conditions encountered since Tuesday, there was not many surprises as the top three in most classes remain unchanged.

For Iain Percy and Andrew Simpson, the Medal race will be a formality! The Gold medallists have sailed to consistent results in a talented fleet and have acquired such a lead that they are assured of Gold in the event. However, the fight will remain for the five following teams all eligible for a podium tomorrow. Diego Negri and Torben Grael 's team have remained in second and third.

It wasn't a dream day for Marazzi and de Maria (SUI) who took a penalty on the start of the day's first race and broke their mast in the second.

"We've had a good week" says Percy, "and things have gone well but it was kind of one of those times where things worked out and some of our rivals didn't have good weeks. The result shows us to be a little bit further ahead than maybe we are, but still we're really happy. It's nice to win an event after such a long time away."

The top three remain the same in the RS:X classes with Marina Alabau (ESP) starting in the medal race with a good lead over her opponents. She has already secured her a Gold or Silver. Charline Picon (FRA) is also insured to finish on the podium opened to the top five.

"I don't usually perform in the conditions we had these last few days but I feel really well this week. Tomorrow will be a three way battle between Marina, Laura and me. I have a chance for Gold if Marina makes a mistake but my main objective will be to secure the Silver."

Laura Linares (ITA) and Alessandra Sensini who are competing in Palma in their first Olympic selection event are two places apart.

"My objective is to do as best as I can and will give my best tomorrow. I will not look out for Alessandra and will concentrate to gain places on the podium." explains Linares (ITA).

In the RS:X women and men divisions, the podium is opened to the top five. Dorian van Rijsselberge (NED) is conserving the lead and can not stepped down from the podium. Byron Kokalanis's good races today (1-3) have sent him to 5th overall and within reach of a medal.

For Dyen/Christidis (FRA) and the Sibello (ITA) brothers, the medal race will be deciding who takes Gold and Silver. It will be an interesting race within the Medal race! Allan Norregaard and Peter Lang (DEN) are the favourite for Bronze with a seven points lead over their closest rival. However, the Bronze will also be the direct objective for sailors placed up to eighth overall!

The Finn battle for Gold will follow the same scenario as the 49ers with only Ben Ainslie and Giles Scott (GBR) standing a chance for Gold. The two British are continuing to race to top places with Ben Ainslie wining the first Sailing World Cup event Sail Melbourne, and Giles Scott, the second in Miami. With top two places secured in Palma they are sure to increase their lead in the SWC standings.

"We'll see how I get on tomorrow. The medal races are always tight, it's obviously double points so I've got to go out and sail another good race and hopefully I can do that and make it all count." explains Ainslie.

With only two points separating the top three Lasers, tomorrow's medal race will be intense between World Champion Tom Slingsby (AUS), Gold medallist Paul Goodison (GBR), and Nick Thomson who is leading the Sailing World Cup standings after winning Sail Melbourne. New-Zealanders Sam Meech and Andrew Murdoch following 18 points behind on equal points have a small chance for bronze.

The top three haven't changed in the 470 men going into tomorrow's medal race. While seven teams have a chance for a medal, only the top four can pretend for Gold. Nicolas Charbonnier and Jérémie Mion (FRA) have slightly extended their lead on team mate Pierre Leboucher and Vincent Garos (FRA) who will try to keep their Trofeo Princesa Sofia title.

"Today was good for us," admits Charbonnier, "we have increased the points with the seconds." For the newly formed team, the Princesa Sofia MAPFRE was also the occasion to tune their act together. "We have learned a lot here, especially the areas where we have to work to better our sailing. So it is a very positive week."

The top three remain the same in the 470 women fleet but the teams have exchanged places. Jo Aleh and Bianca Babarich-Barber (NZL) are back in the lead in front of Japanese Ai Kondo and Wakako Tabata (JAP) and in third early leaders Cohen/Vered from Israel. Penny Clark and Katrina Hughes (GBR) in fourth place can technically get to any medal.

The medal race in the Laser radial will start with a new leader. Sara Winther (NZL) takes the lead from Evi van Acker (BEL) after placing 11th in the first race and winning the next. The score is tight between the top 10 and the podium opened to all medal racers! Today best results went to Gintare Scheidt (LTU) who climbs to fourth overall after a first and a second in today's races and is in contention for Gold.

2010 World Champion, Thierry Schmitter (NED) has successfully defended his title in the 2.4 competition after winning six out of ten races. The Dutch especially enjoyed the strong breeze on the first day: "It was great fun, We should have racing like that more often." Second overall was Heiko Kroger from Germany and Megan Pascoe (GBR) third.

"It's always nice to come away with a World Cup medal – it would have been nice to have a different colour but that's life and I did my best with what I had on the last day." says Pascoe.

Another beautiful day on Palma Bay for the Women's Match Racing fleet at the 42nd Trofeo S.A.R. Princesa Sofia MAPFRE. The conditions were fantastic for some great battles in the Quarter-Finals and Semi-Finals.
Silja Lehtinen (FIN) won her Quarter-Final over Silke Hahlbrock (GER) 3-0 and awaited her opponent. Anna Tunnicliffe (USA) saw her unbeaten streak ended by Stephanie Hazard (NZL), but rebounded to win her Quarter-Final 3-1. Claire Leroy (FRA) defeated her countrywoman Anne-Claire Le Berre (FRA) 3-1 to reach the Semi-Finals. The battle between Sally Barkow (USA) and Lucy Macgregor (GBR) came down to the 5th and final match with Barkow victorious and winning the knock-out series 3-2 to advance.
This set up an American battle in Semi-Final One between Tunnicliffe and Barkow and a Finnish-French match between Lehtinen and Leroy in Semi-Final Two.
Lehtinen won the first match, then Leroy tied it up. Lehtinen won the next two to secure her spot in tomorrow's Final.
"We had reached the Quarter Finals twice before, but we had never advanced. So, this was a big thing for us. Our goal for the event was to get to the Quarter Finals, so everything from here on is a bonus. There are a lot of great teams here and just getting to the top eight is very difficult. We have been training a lot Tomorrow we will just keep doing what we have been doing, nothing special. We made some big gains in our training before Miami as well and we'll just keep doing what we've been doing." explained Silja Lehtinen.
In the other Semi-Final, the two American teams – Sally Barkow and Anna Tunnicliffe – fought down to the wire in an exciting 5 match series which came down to a near phot finish with Barkow's team victorious.
"The key for today was that we really tried to be patient and not make any aggressive mistakes.  Every time we were getting all fired up, we just tried to calm down and keep it simple.  And I thought we had really good boatspeed and good boathandling and used it to our advantage.  Just a really tough battle with Anna (Tunnicliffe) - it was back and forth more times than I can remember and so we were just pleased to win by inches in the end. We'll just stick to the same game plan – we're going well through the water, so we'll just try to win the starts and go from there." commented Sally Barkow after her Semi-Final win.
The Finals will see Lehtinen and Barkow.  And Leroy will meet Tunnicliffe in the Petit-Finals.
Semi-Finals:
Sally Barkow (USA) defeats Anna Tunnicliffe (USA) 3-2
Silja Lehtinen (FIN) defeats Claire Leroy (FRA) 3-1
5. Stephanie Hazard (NZL)
6. Anne-Claire Le Berre (FRA)
7. Lucy Macgregor (GBR)
8. Silke Hahlbrock (GER)
Quarter-Finals:
Anna Tunnicliffe (USA) defeats Stephanie Hazard (NZL) 3-1
Claire Leroy (FRA) defeats Anne-Claire Le Berre (FRA) 3-1
Silja Lehtinen (FIN) defeats Silke Hahlbrock (GER) 3-0
Sally Barkow (USA) defeats Lucy Macgregor (GBR) 3-2

The medal races are sheduled from 11AM on Saturday 9th of April. They will be sailed on three courses set close to the shore. The Women Match Racing finals will take place in front of the Palma Cathedral

More Irish Olympic Sailing news.

Published in Olympics 2012

Marine Wildlife Around Ireland One of the greatest memories of any day spent boating around the Irish coast is an encounter with marine wildlife.  It's a thrill for young and old to witness seabirds, seals, dolphins and whales right there in their own habitat. As boaters fortunate enough to have experienced it will testify even spotting a distant dorsal fin can be the highlight of any day afloat.  Was that a porpoise? Was it a whale? No matter how brief the glimpse it's a privilege to share the seas with Irish marine wildlife.

Thanks to the location of our beautiful little island, perched in the North Atlantic Ocean there appears to be no shortage of marine life to observe.

From whales to dolphins, seals, sharks and other ocean animals this page documents the most interesting accounts of marine wildlife around our shores. We're keen to receive your observations, your photos, links and youtube clips.

Boaters have a unique perspective and all those who go afloat, from inshore kayaking to offshore yacht racing that what they encounter can be of real value to specialist organisations such as the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) who compile a list of sightings and strandings. The IWDG knowledge base has increased over the past 21 years thanks in part at least to the observations of sailors, anglers, kayakers and boaters.

Thanks to the IWDG work we now know we share the seas with dozens of species who also call Ireland home. Here's the current list: Atlantic white-sided dolphin, beluga whale, blue whale, bottlenose dolphin, common dolphin, Cuvier's beaked whale, false killer whale, fin whale, Gervais' beaked whale, harbour porpoise, humpback whale, killer whale, minke whale, northern bottlenose whale, northern right whale, pilot whale, pygmy sperm whale, Risso's dolphin, sei whale, Sowerby's beaked whale, sperm whale, striped dolphin, True's beaked whale and white-beaked dolphin.

But as impressive as the species list is the IWDG believe there are still gaps in our knowledge. Next time you are out on the ocean waves keep a sharp look out!

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