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Finn Lynch 20th, Eve McMahon 19th as 'Extreme' Monday Opens 53rd Trofeo Princesa Sofía Regatta in Malllorca

1st April 2024
‘Full on’ ‘…crazy’ ‘…nuclear’ ‘…big winds opened the 53rd Trofeo Princesa Sofía Mallorca by Iberostar
Full on’ ‘…crazy’ ‘…nuclear’ ‘…big winds opened the 53rd Trofeo Princesa Sofía Mallorca by Iberostar Credit: Sailing Energy

With gusts to over 30 knots at times and a big, untidy swell which has been built up by nearly two weeks of strong winds in the Balearica Islands, of the ten Olympic scheduled events only the Formula Kite Men and Women, the ILCA 6 and ILCA 7 singlehanders and the redoubtable 470 Mixed were actually able to race and open their accounts on schedule at the 53 Trofeo Princesa Sofía Mallorca by Iberostar.

Conditions were ‘extreme but sailable’ according to Denmark’s ILCA 6 Olympic champion Anne-Marie Rindom who was just one of the many athletes who enjoyed the big breeze, big surf challenge of opening day. Another was USA’s five times Formula Kite world champion Daniela Moroz who won the event on its debut at the Princesa Sofía in 2022. She proved untouchable in the breeze and along with Germany’s Philipp Buhl in the ILCA 7 they are the only two athletes making a perfect, unbeaten start.

Moroz….loving it, Maeder…mostly smoothly

“It was nuclear today and I was loving it! We don’t get many opportunities to race in these conditions so I am always excited for days like this because I always learn and improve a lot. It was pretty hectic out there and really I was just happy to just get around the course and finish both races relatively clean.” Enthused Moroz who leads Breaina Whitehead, who will be Australia’s representative when the foiling kite class makes its Olympic debut this summer.

With the Men’s kite event completing three heats of their planned four, Pan American Games champion Bruno Lobo of Brazil leads Singapore’s world champion Max Maeder – last year’s winner overall. Lobo went 1,1,2 in the blue fleet whilst Maeder – in the yellow fleet – went 3,1,1

“The conditions were crazy today, the waves were really big and so it was all about surviving with your equipment intact, at least for me it was. Race 1 was interesting as I was leading at the first mark and it went smoothly until the last downwind where my kite collapsed because of the wind and I ended up crashing because of that. After I recovered I was third. In the second and third races it went smoothly with no issues and so definitely feel ready for whatever is to come.” Reported Maeder.

Double ‘Buhl-lets’ for German world champ

While Germany’s 2020 world champion Philipp Buhl proved best in the muscular conditions among the full capacity 193 strong ILCA 7 fleet. He even capsized in the second heat and still took his second winning gun of the day.

Australia’s world and Olympic champion Matt Wearn started his Sofía title challenge with a first and a third to lie fourth behind Buhl, GBR’s Micky Beckett winner here twice in a row and Norway’s Herman Tomasgaard who was runner up to Wearn at the worlds in Adelaide in January,

“I guess that is my best start for a few years here.” Acknowledged Wearn “It was quite brisk, a one and a three for the day is a good start. It was not easy. In this really big fleet getting off the start line with speed in the big waves was the key because then you could use your boatspeed, that was half the job.”

Like most of his rivals, Wearn has been in Arenal for some time building up, “I have had just under three weeks here, enjoying the warmer weather and the conditions here, getting back into things in Europe, so it has been a good lead up and a productive few weeks. Everything is going pretty well, all my events so far have gone well, so here and Hyères are all good build up.”

He leads a strong Aussie group of 14 ILCAs, “We have a lot of good young kids here, the new, younger generation. I think we have a good investment in a good programme at home. There is lots of talent coming through, seeing what we can do in the class and people just want to be a part of that. We get together a lot and having had the worlds there this year has helped.”

Ireland's Finn Lynch lies 20th with a four and 14 scored.

Rindom readying for medal defence in Marseille

Denmark’s Rindom is on great form as she builds up to her gold medal defence, also now playing a leading role in Denmark’s SailGP team, “It was windy, especially in the second race we saw over 30kts and big waves. The race committee did a really nice job, keeping the waiting time between races down and we really got some really, really nice racing in. It was extreme conditions but sailable. I like these conditions especially because I feel like it is good to push the limits some time. It was hard but sailable. The first race I made a mistake on the upwind and got a great big knot in my mainsheet and so I could not bear away so I lost about 20 boats but I kept head and fought for every boat and got 11th or 12th and the second race I was second. I am happy with my speed and am happy with the day.”

Ireland's Eve McMahon lies 19th with a seven and 13 scored.

Winkels winning

In the Mixed Dinghy (470 Mixed) Germany’s Malte and Anastaysia Winkel made the best start to what could prove critical event in their hotly Olympic selection. The husband-and-wife duo are fighting to overhaul rivals Simon Diesch and Anna Markfohrt who hold a points lead in the trials chase because they finished fourth at the 470 World Championships in February.

The Winkels won the first race and took second in their second heat in the Yellow fleet to lead the class after a big opening day whilst. GBR’s Vita Heathcote and Chris Grube lie second thanks to a pair of second places. Diesch and Markfohrt were ninth in the first race but won their second heat.

Winkel said, “It was super challenging, super technical, really tough for junior teams, some of which were in survival mode, a lot of them seem to have capsized, but this is the baptism of fire for them at the Trofeo. It went really well for us, we were fast on the water today, speed was a factor, we started one race well, one not so well, in both races we led at upwind mark. We're super happy with 2 and 1. But it's only the first day.”

Spain’s newly anointed world champions Jordi Xammar and Nora Brugman are third, “It was pretty full on out there.” Said Xammar, “Today the conditions were pretty epic. We were on the edge with some pretty big waves and strong wind, which was pretty fun and allowed us to really surf. It's an Olympic year and it's important for us to get the most out of every race. We're going for it full on".

“It was even windier than we thought when we first went out, but the main thing was the waves were pretty steep and so downwind was pretty sketchy and so you kept nose diving. It was not just that it was windy but the waves on top really made it pretty exciting.” Recalled Martin Wrigley, the British helm who lies sixth with crew Bettine Harris.

Winds are forecast to be lighter for the second day Tuesday with an expectation that rising temperatures will see an Embat sea breeze regime established around 8-12kts from around midday.

Race Results

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Irish Olympic Sailing Team

Ireland has a proud representation in sailing at the Olympics dating back to 1948. Today there is a modern governing structure surrounding the selection of sailors the Olympic Regatta

Irish Olympic Sailing FAQs

Ireland’s representation in sailing at the Olympics dates back to 1948, when a team consisting of Jimmy Mooney (Firefly), Alf Delany and Hugh Allen (Swallow) competed in that year’s Summer Games in London (sailing off Torquay). Except for the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City, Ireland has sent at least one sailor to every Summer Games since then.

  • 1948 – London (Torquay) — Firefly: Jimmy Mooney; Swallow: Alf Delany, Hugh Allen
  • 1952 – Helsinki — Finn: Alf Delany * 1956 – Melbourne — Finn: J Somers Payne
  • 1960 – Rome — Flying Dutchman: Johnny Hooper, Peter Gray; Dragon: Jimmy Mooney, David Ryder, Robin Benson; Finn: J Somers Payne
  • 1964 – Tokyo — Dragon: Eddie Kelliher, Harry Maguire, Rob Dalton; Finn: Johnny Hooper 
  • 1972 – Munich (Kiel) — Tempest: David Wilkins, Sean Whitaker; Dragon: Robin Hennessy, Harry Byrne, Owen Delany; Finn: Kevin McLaverty; Flying Dutchman: Harold Cudmore, Richard O’Shea
  • 1976 – Montreal (Kingston) — 470: Robert Dix, Peter Dix; Flying Dutchman: Barry O’Neill, Jamie Wilkinson; Tempest: David Wilkins, Derek Jago
  • 1980 – Moscow (Tallinn) — Flying Dutchman: David Wilkins, Jamie Wilkinson (Silver medalists) * 1984 – Los Angeles — Finn: Bill O’Hara
  • 1988 – Seoul (Pusan) — Finn: Bill O’Hara; Flying Dutchman: David Wilkins, Peter Kennedy; 470 (Women): Cathy MacAleavy, Aisling Byrne
  • 1992 – Barcelona — Europe: Denise Lyttle; Flying Dutchman: David Wilkins, Peter Kennedy; Star: Mark Mansfield, Tom McWilliam
  • 1996 – Atlanta (Savannah) — Laser: Mark Lyttle; Europe: Aisling Bowman (Byrne); Finn: John Driscoll; Star: Mark Mansfield, David Burrows; 470 (Women): Denise Lyttle, Louise Cole; Soling: Marshall King, Dan O’Grady, Garrett Connolly
  • 2000 – Sydney — Europe: Maria Coleman; Finn: David Burrows; Star: Mark Mansfield, David O'Brien
  • 2004 – Athens — Europe: Maria Coleman; Finn: David Burrows; Star: Mark Mansfield, Killian Collins; 49er: Tom Fitzpatrick, Fraser Brown; 470: Gerald Owens, Ross Killian; Laser: Rory Fitzpatrick
  • 2008 – Beijing (Qingdao) — Star: Peter O’Leary, Stephen Milne; Finn: Tim Goodbody; Laser Radial: Ciara Peelo; 470: Gerald Owens, Phil Lawton
  • 2012 – London (Weymouth) — Star: Peter O’Leary, David Burrows; 49er: Ryan Seaton, Matt McGovern; Laser Radial: Annalise Murphy; Laser: James Espey; 470: Gerald Owens, Scott Flanigan
  • 2016 – Rio — Laser Radial (Women): Annalise Murphy (Silver medalist); 49er: Ryan Seaton, Matt McGovern; 49erFX: Andrea Brewster, Saskia Tidey; Laser: Finn Lynch; Paralympic Sonar: John Twomey, Ian Costello & Austin O’Carroll

Ireland has won two Olympics medals in sailing events, both silver: David Wilkins, Jamie Wilkinson in the Flying Dutchman at Moscow 1980, and Annalise Murphy in the Laser Radial at Rio 2016.

The current team, as of December 2020, consists of Laser sailors Finn Lynch, Liam Glynn and Ewan McMahon, 49er pairs Ryan Seaton and Seafra Guilfoyle, and Sean Waddilove and Robert Dickson, as well as Laser Radial sailors Annalise Murphy and Aoife Hopkins.

Irish Sailing is the National Governing Body for sailing in Ireland.

Irish Sailing’s Performance division is responsible for selecting and nurturing Olympic contenders as part of its Performance Pathway.

The Performance Pathway is Irish Sailing’s Olympic talent pipeline. The Performance Pathway counts over 70 sailors from 11 years up in its programme.The Performance Pathway is made up of Junior, Youth, Academy, Development and Olympic squads. It provides young, talented and ambitious Irish sailors with opportunities to move up through the ranks from an early age. With up to 100 young athletes training with the Irish Sailing Performance Pathway, every aspect of their performance is planned and closely monitored while strong relationships are simultaneously built with the sailors and their families

Rory Fitzpatrick is the head coach of Irish Sailing Performance. He is a graduate of University College Dublin and was an Athens 2004 Olympian in the Laser class.

The Performance Director of Irish Sailing is James O’Callaghan. Since 2006 James has been responsible for the development and delivery of athlete-focused, coach-led, performance-measured programmes across the Irish Sailing Performance Pathway. A Business & Economics graduate of Trinity College Dublin, he is a Level 3 Qualified Coach and Level 2 Coach Tutor. He has coached at five Olympic Games and numerous European and World Championship events across multiple Olympic classes. He is also a member of the Irish Sailing Foundation board.

Annalise Murphy is by far and away the biggest Irish sailing star. Her fourth in London 2012 when she came so agonisingly close to a bronze medal followed by her superb silver medal performance four years later at Rio won the hearts of Ireland. Murphy is aiming to go one better in Tokyo 2021. 

Under head coach Rory Fitzpatrick, the coaching staff consists of Laser Radial Academy coach Sean Evans, Olympic Laser coach Vasilij Zbogar and 49er team coach Matt McGovern.

The Irish Government provides funding to Irish Sailing. These funds are exclusively for the benefit of the Performance Pathway. However, this falls short of the amount required to fund the Performance Pathway in order to allow Ireland compete at the highest level. As a result the Performance Pathway programme currently receives around €850,000 per annum from Sport Ireland and €150,000 from sponsorship. A further €2 million per annum is needed to have a major impact at the highest level. The Irish Sailing Foundation was established to bridge the financial gap through securing philanthropic donations, corporate giving and sponsorship.

The vision of the Irish Sailing Foundation is to generate the required financial resources for Ireland to scale-up and execute its world-class sailing programme. Irish Sailing works tirelessly to promote sailing in Ireland and abroad and has been successful in securing funding of 1 million euro from Sport Ireland. However, to compete on a par with other nations, a further €2 million is required annually to realise the ambitions of our talented sailors. For this reason, the Irish Sailing Foundation was formed to seek philanthropic donations. Led by a Board of Directors and Head of Development Kathryn Grace, the foundation lads a campaign to bridge the financial gap to provide the Performance Pathway with the funds necessary to increase coaching hours, upgrade equipment and provide world class sport science support to a greater number of high-potential Irish sailors.

The Senior and Academy teams of the Performance Pathway are supported with the provision of a coach, vehicle, coach boat and boats. Even with this level of subsidy there is still a large financial burden on individual families due to travel costs, entry fees and accommodation. There are often compromises made on the amount of days a coach can be hired for and on many occasions it is necessary to opt out of major competitions outside Europe due to cost. Money raised by the Irish Sailing Foundation will go towards increased quality coaching time, world-class equipment, and subsiding entry fees and travel-related costs. It also goes towards broadening the base of talented sailors that can consider campaigning by removing financial hurdles, and the Performance HQ in Dublin to increase efficiency and reduce logistical issues.

The ethos of the Performance Pathway is progression. At each stage international performance benchmarks are utilised to ensure the sailors are meeting expectations set. The size of a sailor will generally dictate which boat they sail. The classes selected on the pathway have been identified as the best feeder classes for progression. Currently the Irish Sailing Performance Pathway consists of the following groups: * Pathway (U15) Optimist and Topper * Youth Academy (U19) Laser 4.7, Laser Radial and 420 * Development Academy (U23) Laser, Laser Radial, 49er, 49erFX * Team IRL (direct-funded athletes) Laser, Laser Radial, 49er, 49erFX

The Irish Sailing performance director produces a detailed annual budget for the programme which is presented to Sport Ireland, Irish Sailing and the Foundation for detailed discussion and analysis of the programme, where each item of expenditure is reviewed and approved. Each year, the performance director drafts a Performance Plan and Budget designed to meet the objectives of Irish Performance Sailing based on an annual review of the Pathway Programmes from Junior to Olympic level. The plan is then presented to the Olympic Steering Group (OSG) where it is independently assessed and the budget is agreed. The OSG closely monitors the delivery of the plan ensuring it meets the agreed strategy, is within budget and in line with operational plans. The performance director communicates on an ongoing basis with the OSG throughout the year, reporting formally on a quarterly basis.

Due to the specialised nature of Performance Sport, Irish Sailing established an expert sub-committee which is referred to as the Olympic Steering Group (OSG). The OSG is chaired by Patrick Coveney and its objective is centred around winning Olympic medals so it oversees the delivery of the Irish Sailing’s Performance plan.

At Junior level (U15) sailors learn not only to be a sailor but also an athlete. They develop the discipline required to keep a training log while undertaking fitness programmes, attending coaching sessions and travelling to competitions. During the winter Regional Squads take place and then in spring the National Squads are selected for Summer Competitions. As sailors move into Youth level (U19) there is an exhaustive selection matrix used when considering a sailor for entry into the Performance Academy. Completion of club training programmes, attendance at the performance seminars, physical suitability and also progress at Junior and Youth competitions are assessed and reviewed. Once invited in to the Performance Academy, sailors are given a six-month trial before a final decision is made on their selection. Sailors in the Academy are very closely monitored and engage in a very well planned out sailing, training and competition programme. There are also defined international benchmarks which these sailors are required to meet by a certain age. Biannual reviews are conducted transparently with the sailors so they know exactly where they are performing well and they are made aware of where they may need to improve before the next review.

©Afloat 2020

Paris 2024 Olympic Sailing Competition

Where is the Paris 2024 Olympic Sailing Competition being held? Sailing at Paris 2024 will take place in Marseille on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea between 28 July and 8 August, and will feature Kiteboarding for the first time, following a successful Olympic debut in 2018 at the Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires. The sailing event is over 700 km from the main Olympic Games venue in Paris.

What are the events? The Olympic Sailing Competition at Paris 2024 will feature ten Events:

  • Women’s: Windsurfing, Kite, Dinghy, Skiff
  • Men’s: Windsurfing, Kite, Dinghy, Skiff
  • Mixed: Dinghy, Multihull

How do you qualify for Paris 2024?  The first opportunity for athletes to qualify for Paris 2024 will be the Sailing World Championships, The Hague 2023, followed by the Men’s and Women’s Dinghy 2024 World Championships and then a qualifier on each of World Sailing’s six continents in each of the ten Events. The final opportunity is a last chance regatta to be held in 2024, just a few months before the Games begin.

50-50 split between male and female athletes: The Paris 2024 Games is set to be the first to achieve a 50-50 split between male and female athletes, building on the progress made at both Rio 2016 (47.5%) and Tokyo 2020 (48.8%). It will also be the first Olympic Games where two of the three Chief roles in the sailing event will be held by female officials,