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9 April 2009, 10:38 pm
Perfect Conditions As Medal Race Line Ups Are Decided In Palma
The 49ers racing in Palma
The 49ers race on the Bay of Palma

Trofeo SAR Princesa Sofia MAPFRE 2009
Palma de Majorca, Spain

The Medal Race line ups are decided after the sun and wind return to Palma for the penultimate day of racing at the Trofeo SAR Princess Sofia MAPFRE, the first European event of the ISAF Sailing World Cup.
Tomorrow the top-ten boats in each of the Olympic fleets will line up for the decisive Medal Races, where point scores will be doubled and the winners of the ISAF Sailing World Cup medals will be decided. Today's racing was especially important as those who have made the Medal Races have already secured themselves at least 11 points towards the ISAF Sailing World Cup Standings (20 points are awarded to the event winner, 19 to second etc down to 1 for twentieth place).

Follow The Medal Races Live

From 12:00, follow the Medal Race live for the 49ers, Finn, 470 Men and Women online with individual boat tracking at www.tractrac.com/trofeoprincesasofia.

Live mark roundings for the other classes will be available on the event website.

After the heavy rain and the lack of winds experienced over the last two days in Palma, the sun and wind were widely acclaimed by sailors and race officials. The 2.4mR fleet at the western end of the bay was the first to enjoy the wind and started racing in the morning while the Lasers were the last of the water at 18:00! The four Race Committees made the most of these perfect conditions to add another 38 races to the programme.

The Medal Race will just be a formality for French pair of Nicolas CHARBONNIER and Baptiste MEYER. A second and a first in the final two races of the opening series puts them out of reach for their opponents. They secure the event title and the maximum 20 points towards the ISAF Sailing World Cup Standings in their first event together.

"We have worked a bit more on the boat tuning which resulted in greater speed. We had some good start and went where we wanted, the rest came together", explained CHARBONNIER "It is definitely the first time I have won the event before the Medal Race! We will go out to enjoy the racing and have fun!"

Although gold may already be decided, silver and bronze ISAF Sailing World Cup medals will be open to the top 10.

In the Women's fleet, Ingrid PETITJEAN and Nadège DOUROUX (FRA) maintain their lead going into the Medal Race. They are only threatened by two teams for the event title: early leaders Sylvia VOGL and Carolina FLATSCHER (AUT) and Spain's Tara PACHECO and Berta BETANZOS, in second and third position respectively.

There was a surprise upset in the Laser Radial fleet as Beijing gold medallist, Anna TUNNICLIFFE (USA) and her US teammate, early regatta leader Paige RAILEY (USA), both got off a bad start today after scoring top 40 results in the first race. These mixed results relegate RAILEY to second and TUNNICLIFFE to fifth, out of medal contention. Susana ROMERO (ESP), Spain's Olympic representative and 2008 silver medallist in the Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championship, made the most of today's windy conditions to grab the lead of the regatta. Only the top four will be fighting tomorrow for the medals; Veronika FENCLOVA (CZE) and Tina MIHELIC (CRO), winner of today's last race, are the other skippers who can challenge ROMERO and RAILEY.

Another Spaniard to enter the Medal Race in first place overall is Andalucian windsurfer Blanca MANCHON. After winning two races today in the Women's RS:X fleet, MANCHON has already secured a medal. With a first and a third in the first two ISAF Sailing World Cup events, MANCHON will add some top points to her 38-points total and is already guaranteed to maintain her lead of the World Cup Standings whatever happens tomorrow. Rolex Miami OCR winner, Marina ALABAU (ESP) and Flavia TARTAGLINI (ITA) will provide fierce competition for the title.

In the Men's fleet, Dutch windsurfers Dorian VAN RIJSSELBERGE and Beijing Olympian Casper BOUMAN, won all the races. Two victories for VAN RIJSSELBERG increased his advantage at the top of the overall leaderboard, but one bullet was not enough to bring BOUMAN into the Medal Race. The Dutch improves his position to 11th, just three points short of the top 10!

The top five will start tomorrow with a chance for gold, and the top seven in contention for a medal!

It will be a dual for gold in the 49er Medal Race between Pietro SIBELLO and Gianfranco SIBELLO (ITA) and John PINK and Rick PEACOCK (GBR), who hold a lead of over 20 points ahead of the rest of the fleet! The rest of the top five will race for the bronze medal, whilst the remainder of the fleet will compete for ISAF Sailing World Cup points.

Despite scoring mixed results, Skandia Team GBR skipper Nick THOMPSON takes the control of the Laser fleet and cannot drop out of the top three tomorrow. He will be challenged by Daniel MIHELIC (CRO) who made an impressive recovery today from 17th to second overall after taking two bullets and placing fifth, and Michael BULLOT from New Zealand. Early leader Tonci STIPANOVIC (CRO) collected two high scores to place in fourth position overall.

The greatest performance for the British team came in the Finn class. 2005 Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Champion in the Laser, Giles SCOTT (GBR), won both races today, followed closely across the finish line by Andrew MILLS (GBR). SCOTT, takes the lead from home favourite Rafa TRUJILLO (ESP), who drops to fourth overall. The 21 year old is one of four British Finn sailors who made the Medal Race.

"These are the first races I have won at this level in the Finn," declared SCOTT. "I had good starts, good speed and made gains, especially downwind." MILLS is in second place, one point from Ed WRIGHT (GBR) while Mark ANDREWS (GBR) is placed eighth overall. British Finn coach Matt HOWARDS explains his sailor's good results: "They have trained a lot all winter and we had a week per month in Palma. They worked so hard they deserve to do well. Their attitude is becoming more professional with more attention to detail."

The top five, which also includes young Finnish sailor Tapio NIRKKO, all have a shot at the top position. TRUJILLO and WRIGHT, who both collected top scores in Miami, will look to consolidate their ISAF World Cup Standing.

An ex-Finn sailor is leading in the Star class. Greek sailor Emilios PAPATHANASIOU has teamed up with his ex-Finn coach Apostolos KARNOUTSOS for his debut in the Star Class. The Trofeo SAR Princess Sofia MAPFRE is the first regatta for the Greek team. A third and two bullets have brought the newcomers into the lead of the 12-boat Star fleet. Unlike most classes, the Star event title is open tomorrow to the top seven teams.

The 2.4mR Paralympic fleet ended their event today as they do not hold a Medal Race. Thierry SCHMITTER (NED) wins the event convincingly after scoring top three results throughout. André RADEMAKER (NED) places second while the two British female sailors Helena LUCAS and Megan PASCOE are respectively third and fourth on equal points.

ISAF Sailing World Cup

The ISAF Sailing World Cup 2008-2009 consists of the following events:

16-21 Dec 2008 - Sail Melbourne The Asia Pacific Regatta, Melbourne, Australia
25-31 Jan 2009 - Rolex Miami OCR, Miami, USA
4-10 April 2009 - Trofeo SAR Princess Sofia MAPFRE, Palma, Spain
18-24 April 2009 - Semaine Olympique Francaise, Hyeres, France
27-31 May 2009 - Delta Lloyd Regatta, Medemblik, Netherlands
20-29 June 2009 - Kieler Woche, Kiel, Germany
14-19 Sept 2009 - Skandia Sail for Gold Regatta, Weymouth, Great Britain

Find out more about the ISAF Sailing World Cup, including more on the seven events, the latest World Cup Standings, the scoring system and the Notice of Series at www.sailing.org/isafsailingworldcup.

Corinne Rolland-McKenzie
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