Mateu CAÑELLAS, president of the Consortium Trofeo SAR Princesam said: "630 boats, 880 competitors and 40 participating nations. These are the figures of the 40 Trofeo S.A.R. Princesa Sofía MAPFRE, record numbers in a post-Olympic year. Furthermore, the Princesa Sofía MAPFRE has also two main reasons to celebrate: it reaches its 40th anniversary and it has been included in the ISAF Sailing World Cup, the new worldwide event for Olympic sailing. It's a circuit formed by seven events from around the world, among which the Sofia is the only Spanish one, adding high amounts of excitement and competition to the regatta. Among other things, the Princesa Sofía MAPFRE is the first European event of the circuit, so we welcome the ISAF Sailing World Cup to Europe for the first time".
With ISAF Sailing World Cup medals and points towards the World Cup Standings up for grabs, over 800 sailors have entered across the Olympic and Paralympic sailing events. The inaugural ISAF Sailing World Cup launched into action last December and for many of the crews in Palma event three of the series will be a World Cup debut and the perfect opportunity to make their mark on the Olympic sailing scene early in the build up to London 2012. With the largest entry of any of the World Cup events to date, there are plenty of star names lining up…
Names To Look Out For…
Olympic gold medallist and world #1 ranked Laser Radial sailor Anna TUNNICLIFFE has not put a foot wrong since returning from Beijing last August with an Olympic gold medal around her neck. After the opening two World Cup events she sits on top of the ISAF Sailing World Cup Standings with a perfect 40 point score (20 points are awarded to the winner of each World Cup event, 19 for second etc). However, TUNNICLIFFE faces a tough challenge as she aims for a third consecutive World Cup win, with the Laser Radial fleet at Palma looking particularly strong. Amongst the chief challengers to the Beijing gold medallists will be fellow US skipper Paige RAILEY, Mexico's Tania ELIAS CALLES, Finnish skipper Sari MULTALA and the Belgian duo of Evi VAN ACKER and Carolijn BROUWER. BROUWER's competitiveness in the Radial fleet will be particularly interesting; she recorded numerously successes in the singlehanded Europe dinghy whilst it was Olympic equipment, before switching to the Tornado multihull for a Beijing campaign and now returning to the one-person Radial dinghy.
In the Men's 470 fleet, two of medal-winning helms from Beijing are both set to make their World Cup debuts in Palma, but with new crew. After winning silver medals at Athens and Beijing with Joe GLANFIELD (GBR), Nick ROGERS (GBR) has joined forces Pom GREEN (GBR) for his London 2012 campaign. Amongst his rivals will be Beijing bronze medal winning helm Nicolas CHARBONNIER (FRA), who teams up with Baptiste MEYER (FRA). After finishing second at both Melbourne and Miami, the US pairing of Stuart MCNAY and Graham BIEHL will also line up in Palma to defend their position at the top of the World Cup Standings.
Another Beijing medallist making his World Cup debut in Palma is Australia Darren BUNDOCK (AUS). After many years of success in the Tornado class, including six World Championship titles and two Olympic medals, BUNDOCK has switched to the 49er skiff after the multihull event was removed from the 2012 London Games (the number of sailing events was required to be decreased from 11 to 10). For his 49er debut at Palma he has teamed up with Ben AUSTIN, 49er crew for Australia at the Beijing Games.
For the home supporters hopes will be high, particularly in the two windsurfer fleets, which have brought great Spanish success over recent years. World #1 ranked Marina ALABAU (ESP) will start as favourite in the Women's RS:X fleet, whilst Ivan PASTOR (ESP) is one of the leading names in the men's fleet. Also lining up in the RS:X fleets are the Men's and Women's bronze medallists from Beijing, respectively, Shahar ZUBARI (ISR) and Bryony SHAW (GBR). Another Spanish favourite is Athens silver medallist and 2007 World Champion Rafa TRUJILLO, who tops the billing in the Finn fleet along with Beijing silver medallist Zach RAILEY (USA).
Other names to look out for include:
- Rolex Miami OCR winner Nick THOMPSON (GBR), the talented young Cypriot Pavlos KONTIDES, and Beijing bronze medallist Diego ROMERO (ITA) in the Laser fleet
- the experienced pairing of Ingrid PETITJEAN and Nadège DOUROUX in the Women's 470
- World Championship and Olympic medallist Xavier ROHART (FRA) in the Star
- Paralympic medallist Thierry SCHMITTER (NED) in the 2.4mR fleet
Registering in Palma takes place on 4-5 April. Racing gets underway on Monday 6 April, continuing through until the decisive Medal Races next Friday 10 April. Racing will be held in nine of the ten Olympic sailing events (Women's Match Racing does not feature at Palma or Hyeres but rejoins the World Cup from event five at Medemblik onwards) and, for the first time in Palma, the 2.4mR Paralympic event.
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.