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22 March 2005, 09:21 am
Olympians Head The Field
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Princess Sofia Trophy 2005
Palma de Mallorca, Spain

Light winds meant a slow start to the ISAF Grade 2 Princess Sofia Trophy. The early signs point towards a strong showing from the stars in the fleet with Olympians from Spain and Britain rising to the top of the leaderboard.
The first day of the 36th edition of the Princess Sofia Trophy started with overcast skies and no wind with starts delayed until 1500 hours (local Spanish time). The Embat wind, at six to seven knots blew in most of the racing areas with smooth seas.

Only one race was sailed by four of the participating classes: the Yngling, Dragon, Laser and Laser Radial, while the Europe, Mistral, Finn, Tornado, 49er and the 470 will have to wait for better weather conditions today.

In the Yngling class, Spanish team Graciela PISONERO, Mónica AZÓN and her sister and Olympic silver medallist in the 470, Sandra AZÓN won the only race sailed today. In second position were the British crew including Olympic gold medallist in the Yngling, Sarah AYTON, competing in her first regatta as a helm along with new crew of Annie LUSH and ocean racer Lisa MacDONALD, who is standing in whilst fellow gold medallist Sarah WEBB recovers from a knee operation. Fellow British sailors Dom LINDSEY, Diana SHANKS and Fleur OSWALD also got off to a great start in their first race together as a crew, finishing in third place.

In the Dragon class, with 41 boats entered, Russian boat My Best took the line honours with team Vadim SLATSENKO, Andry LITSYNSKYY and Petr ZAHAROV winning out over the Danish trio of Lars HENDRIKSEN, Peter JOHANSEN and Martin LEIFELDT on board BB-King. The Turkish boat, Alaturca, with Arda BAYKAL, Kaya DINAR and Oguz AYAN were third.

The Laser class will sail in two groups for the start of the week. The yellow group has been dominated from the beginning to the end by British sailor Paul GOODISON, who has vast experience in the Princess Sofia Trophy and is showing the form that has taken him to number two in the ISAF World Sailing Rankings. In second and third places are the Spanish sailors Mariano SARMIENTO and Javier HERNÁNDEZ. Mark HOWARD (GBR) leads the blue group, followed by Spanish sailor, Julio Ruiz GÓMEZ and Portuguese sailor, Gustavo LIMA.

The new Olympic equipment, the Laser Radial, has made a successful debut at the Princess Sofia Trophy. North American sailor, and 2003 ISAF World Youth Champion In the Radial, Paige RAILEY, sailed a fantastic race and leads the overall results. Since the ISAF World Sailing Rankings were released for this new Olympic equipment RAILEY has won both the ISAF Graded events she has entered and is here in Spain looking to climb back up to the position at the top of the rankings she held on the 2 February.

RAILEY was followed by British sailor Penny MOUNTFORD and German sailor Wiebke SCHRÖEDER. If weather conditions are favourable, the competition will continue today at 1100.

Elena PIPO (As Amended By ISAF). Image, Action From Day One:© Nico MARTINEZ
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