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5 April 2007, 07:10 pm
Rain Comes Down As Medal Race Finalists Decided
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Princess Sofia Trophy 2007
Palma de Mallorca, Spain

Heavy showers in the Bay of Palma left the eight course areas of the ISAF Grade 2 Princess Sofia Trophy - Mapfre with little wind and little racing as the Medal Race finalists were decided. In a day for experienced heads, long-time Olympic campaigners Robert SCHEIDT (BRA) and Darren BUNDOCK (AUS) were the star performers, with bullets for both giving them control of the Star and Tornado fleets.
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The Star, Finn, 49er and Tornado completed one race and the Yngling fleet sailed two races before the light morning breeze dropped completely. The southwest wind averaged 5 knots made the penultimate day of racing a tactical battle and one where mistakes could prove extremely costly.

The eleven Medal Races will be sailed on Friday, with the standings across almost every class incredibly tight, a reflection of the breadth and quality of the entry in Palma.

SCHEIDT On Top Form

Only in the Star and the Tornado are the leaders firmly in control. SCHEIDT and crew Bruno PRADA (BRA) recorded their fifth straight bullet in very light winds, extending their overall lead to an unassailable 19 points. Whilst the Brazilians look like they have victory wrapped up, the battle for the remaining medal will go to the wire. Matthias MILLER and Manuel VOIGT (GER) jump up the leaderboard to second after finishing third in Thursday race, whilst 2005 World Champions Xavier ROHART and Pascal RAMBEAU (FRA) are third. Reigning World Champion and world #1 Hamish PEPPER and crew Brad NICHOL (NZL) are just four points off the medals after recovering from 35th at the first mark to finish tenth in Thursday's race.

Darren BUNDOCK and Glenn ASHBY (AUS) are heavy favourites to add to their rapidly growing trophy collection after moving into a 15 point lead of the ISAF Grade C1 Tornado European Championship. A bullet for the Aussies puts them well clear of the chasing pack, which is still headed up by Iordanis PASHALIDES and Konstantinos TRIGONIS (GRE). There looks set to be a fierce battle for third, with three teams separated by a single point. Andrey KIRILYUK and Valery USHKOV (RUS) currently hold the advantage, but this battle will all come down to the Medal Race performances.

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Sarah AYTON's British team
will go up against the USA
in the Yngling Medal Race
© Ruben Ballester/
www.nicomartinez.com
In 49er, Federico ALONSO and Arturo ALONSO (ESP) lost their chance of a memorable victory with a finish in the teens. European Champions Stevie MORRISON and Ben RHODES (GBR) extended their lead to 11 points with a solid top ten finish in Thursday race, with Peter HANSEN and Soren HANSEN (DEN) recovering from a poor performance on Wednesday to move back up to second. Although the Brits have a definite advantage, thr 49er Medal Race promises to be an edge-of-your-seat ride, with second to eighth covered by just two points.

History Repeating

Sally BARKOW, Carrie HOWE and Debbie CAPOZZI (USA) and Sarah AYTON, Pippa WILSON and Sarah WEBB (GBR) staged a repeat of their battle last year in the day's two Yngling races. The Brits started out the better with a second in race 9, but BARKOW and her crew responded with a bullet to take a nine point lead into the Medal Race. A strong race 10 finish from Silja LEHTINEN, Maria KLEMETZ and Livia VARESMAA (FIN) moved them up to third place, a point ahead of world #1s Ulrike SCHUEMANN, Julia BLECK and Ute HOEPFNER (GER).

In the Finn, Marin MISURA (CRO) lost the lead to 2006 winner and world #1 Jonas HOEGH-CHRISTENSEN (DEN), who sailed well in the light breeze wind and finished second in the day's race. Just one point separates the top two, with Pieter-Jan POSTMA (NED) just four points further back in third.

The other classes sailed out to sea but could not complete any race, so there are no changes in the standings.

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Light winds on Thursday
© Ruben Ballester/
www.nicomartinez.com

Standings Into The Medal Races

The windsurfers look set to provide plenty of excitement with Przemyslaw MIARCZYNSKI (POL), bronze medallist at the 2006 Worlds, just five points ahead of silver medallists Tom ASHLEY (NZL). In third place overall Nick DEMPSEY (GBR), overall winner of last year's regatta in Palma, cannot be discounted. It is even closer in the Women's RS:X fleet, with Barbara KENDALL (NZL) and Charline PICON (FRA) tied for the lead, just ahead of World Champion Alessandra SENSINI (ITA).

It is equally tight in the Men's 470 where just two points cover the top three of Pierre LEBOUCHER and Vincent GAROS (FRA), Alvaro MARINHO and Miguel NUNES (POR) and Gabrio ZANDONA and Andrea TRANI (ITA). Double World Champions Marcelien DE KONING and Lobke BERKHOUT (NED) are more comfortable, with an 11 point lead in the women's fleet.

Julio ALSOGARAY (ARG) also lead by 11 points in the Laser, whilst the Laser Radial Medal Race looks like being a straight shoot out between world #1 Evi VAN ACKER (BEL) and Gintare VOLUNGEVICIUTE (LTU).

The Dragon class will continue sailing fleet races on Friday with Markus WIESER, Sergey PUGACHEV and Thomas AURACHER (UKR) still leading the way.

The 38 Trofeo SAR Princesa Sofia - Mapfre is sponsored for second consecutive year by Mapfre and is organized by the Federación Balear de Vela, Real Federación Española de Vela, Real Club Náutico de Palma, Club Nàutic S'Arenal, Club Marítimo San Antonio de la Playa and Escuela Nacional de Vela Calanova. The collaborators are Govern de les Illes Balears, Palma City Council, Llucmajor City Council, s'Institut de Serveis Socials i Esportius de Mallorca, Trasmediterránea Acciona and Ultramar.

The Princess Sofia Trophy will be included in the first running of the ISAF World Cup© series for the Olympic Classes. For more on the ISAF World Cup© CLICK HERE.

For a complete list of all the news from the Princess Sofia Trophy 2007 CLICK HERE.

Neus Jordi (As Amended By ISAF). Image, Robert SCHEIDT and Bruno PRADA look a sure thing for victory in Palma:© Ruben Ballester/www.nicomartinez.com
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