A total of 1,130 sailors from 55 nations have registered at ISAF Sailing World Cup Mallorca – Trofeo Princesa Sofia with racing set to commence at 11:00 on Monday 31 March through to Saturday 5 April.
Olympic medallists, World Champions, Rio aspirants and new contenders are among the entrants with high intensity racing the name of the game across one Paralympic and ten Olympic events.
Sailors battles that started at Qingdao, China in October 2013 progressed through to Melbourne, Australia in December 2013 and heated up in Miami, USA will continue in Mallorca, Spain.
ISAF Sailing World Cup Manager Antonio González de la Madrid said, “The 2013-2014 Sailing World Cup Series has seen some excellent racing across three world class venues. ISAF Sailing World Cup Mallorca – Trofeo S.A.R. Princesa Sofia is the fourth of five regattas and I expect to see the same high standards of competition and race management that have been present beforehand.
“Throughout the history of the event in Mallorca we have seen excellent racing on Palma Bay. This year the forecast looks set to offer a mixture of conditions that will put all of the sailors’ skills to the test.”
The 2013 World Champions from nine of the ten Olympic events will compete in Mallorca. Mixed in with nine of the current World #1 sailors and a wealth of unrivalled sailing experience amongst all fleets, the week is set to offer a strong insight into who the leading contenders for honours at the Santander 2014 ISAF Sailing World Championships will be.
For 2013 49erFX World Champions Alex Maloney and Molly Meech (NZL) Mallorca represents a return to action since they took the inaugural 49erFX World Championship title, “It’s been September since we last raced so we’re really excited to line up against all of the other 49erFX fleet again,” commented Maloney.
Maloney and Meech have been a strong force in the 49erFX and have finished on the podium in all six of the regattas they’ve sailed in. With time back in New Zealand they come into Mallorca prepared and up for the challenges ahead, “We had a really good summer at home. We had a few international teams come down for different lengths of time. The Dutch were down all summer and the Brazilians were there so it was a good Kiwi summer.
“We’ve had some really good practice races with most of the fleet; there have been 30+ boats on the line. They’ve been fun and everyone’s getting more and more competitive so it’s going to be a good week.”
The Kiwis took silver at the 2013 edition losing out to Denmark’s Ida Marie Baad Nielsen and Marie Thusgaard Olsen who picked up gold. The Danes return to defend their title with further notable entrants in the 50-boat fleet including ISAF Sailing World Cup Melbourne victors Olivia Price and Eliza Solly (AUS), Miami gold medallists Sarah Steyaert and Julie Bossard (FRA) and World #1 Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze (BRA).
Maloney and Meech’s compatriots and fellow 2013 World Champions Peter Burling and Blair Tuke (NZL) are also using ISAF Sailing World Cup Mallorca – Trofeo Princesa Sofia as their return to the Olympic circuit following the 2013 Worlds. The 79-boat 49er fleet will be spearheaded by the Kiwis as well as Denmark’s Jonas Warrer and Peter Lang and 2013 champions Erik Heil and Thomas Ploessel (GER).
The Women’s 470 will be missing World #1 Sophie Weguelin and Eilidh McIntyre (GBR) as well as World #2 Lara Vadlau and Jolanta Ogar (AUT) through injuries. However, the fleet will welcome back former World #1 and defending champions Fernanda Oliveira and Ana Luiza Barbachan (BRA).
Oliveira took time out of the 470 for the birth of her daughter after the 2013 470 Worlds and is savouring the combination of sailing and motherhood, “I’ve been in the 470 for the last 16 years so it’s very good to be here again. It’s a new moment that was very special to me and I’m very happy. I’m enjoying it a lot.”
Balancing an Olympic campaign and parenthood is a tough ask but it’s been a straightforward transition for the Brazilian, “It’s the same as usual,” explained Oliveira. “We are with the same team and Ana helps me a lot. We’ve been going through our routine as normal. Our coaches are the same and they help me more, it’s been okay.”
The 48-boat Women’s 470 fleet also features 2013 ISAF Rolex World Sailors of the Year Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie (NZL), London 2012 silver medallists Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark (GBR) and World #3 Anne Haeger and Briana Provancha (USA).
Mat Belcher and Will Ryan (AUS) will be looking to get back into winning ways in the 78-boat Men’s 470 fleet after their win streak ended at ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami. Miami winners Sofian Bouvet and Jeremie Mion (FRA) enter Mallorca buoyed by halting the Australians winning form but with strength in depth present within the fleet the competition is wide open.
The Laser is the biggest fleet in Mallorca with 144 sailors registered and is closely followed by the Laser Radial on 96 and the Finns on 92.
Seventy three Nacra 17s will race in Mallorca with 72 Men’s RS:X and 56 Women’s RS:X sailors ready for the first start.
The 2.4mR has 16 registered sailors including ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami gold medallist Megan Pascoe (GBR) and London 2012 gold medallist Helena Lucas (GBR).
Racing across one Paralympic and ten Olympic events commences at 11:00 local time on 31 March 2014. Paralympic racing concludes on 4 April whilst Saturday 5 April will see the medals decided across all the Olympic events in the Medal Races.
Live Tracking from ISAF Sailing World Cup Mallorca – Trofeo Princesa Sofia will commence on Wednesday 2 April and can be viewed on the ISAF website here http://www.sailing.org/worldcup/multimedia/tracking.php