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19 March 2008, 12:21 pm
Capricious Winds On Day Three In Palma
Action from the Tornado course
The wind kicked in on day three in Palma

HRH Princess Sofia Trophy 2008
Palma de Mallorca, Spain

The wind arrived for the majority of competitors on day three at the ISAF Grade 2 Trofeo S.A.R Princesa Sofia MAPFRE in Palma, Spain with the British and Italian teams continuing to build on their strong starts.
Sailors and regatta organizers were expecting a strong southwesterly with waves, but the stronger winds today came from the north. While it granted the Yngling with 18 knots, and the 49er with a weakening medium breeze, it failed to reach the Finn course forcing the Race Committee to abandon the first race of the day. Meanwhile the Tornados were enjoying a totally different wind from the west! With the last qualification races scheduled today for the Lasers, 49ers, 470 and RS:X Men, the weather didn't make it easy for the Race Committees who had to adjust to the capricious winds to provide fair racing for all. In the end, all races were sailed as scheduled, and the favourites have kept their place at the top of the leaderboards.

Petra NIEMANN (GER) continues on her quest to conquer the Trofeo Princesa Sofia with two more victories in the Laser Radial. The Trophy is given every year to the sailor or team with the least points in a fleet of a minimum of 20 boats. The Laser Radial fleet is right on target and with five points to her overall score (NIEMANN is discarding a first!), the German is in good position for the coveted cup. The Norwegians Anette MYHRE and Cathrine GJERPEN maintained their overall standings in second and third.

Competition is tight for first place in the Tornado, Yngling and 470 men, with teams on equal points. French Tornado sailors Xavier REVIL and Christophe ESPAGNON and Germans Johannes POLGAR and Florian SPALTEHOLZ have each scored a first and a second. The German team seemed to have recovered their earlier form after a disappointing result at the World Championship this year where the pair placed 21st. POLGAR and SPATEHOLZ's good results in Palma in a small but talented fleet will be welcome as they prepare for the final Olympic selection regatta in Hyères.

The Russian teams are still leading the Yngling fleet and are now on equal points but regatta defenders Americans Sally BARKOW, Carrie HOWE and Debbie CAPOZZI and World Champions Sarah AYTON, Sarah WEBB and Pippa WILSON (GBR) are also on equal score only two points behind.

"We've spent quite a lot of time working on our downwind speed and have made big improvements there," explained AYTON after her team posted 1,7 results for the day.

"There's an Olympic sized fleet here, so it means different tactics and getting used to having a bit more space than at a bigger event such as the Worlds. But the team are sailing well together - every day we're learning and that's where we need to be at this stage of the cycle."

While the British enjoyed the heavier breeze to claim the first race, Athens gold medallist in the 470, Sofia BEKATOROU (GRE) and her Greek crew took the bullet in the second.

The top four is unchanged in the 470 men. Gabrio ZANDONA and Andrea TRANI (ITA) and Javier CONTE and Juan DE LA FUENTE (ARG) have won a race each and are still on equal points in first and second. World Championship Álvaro MARINHO and Miguel NUNES (POR) have mastered the tricky conditions and smart sailing compensated for lack of speed: "We played the shifts well! Our good boat is still on the way from Australia so we are using an old boat and are not so fast". A first and a third today brings, the Portuguese to eighth overall.

Unsettled Leaders

Marina ALABAU (ESP) and Alessandra SENSINI (ITA) maintained a safe margin in the RS:X regatta. While the Spaniard had inconsistent results with a ninth and a win to take first place overall, the Italian collected top-three results. Bryony SHAW (GBR) is unmoved in third place after winning the first race.

World #3, Nick DEMPSEY (GBR) is dominating the men's division after winning today's races. Ivan PASTOR LAFUENTE (ESP) moved up to second overall after discarding a tenth place.

In the Finn fleet, Ben AINSLIE (GBR) increased his lead with a fourth place and a win while the rest of the fleet had mixed results. The shifty winds were hard to read on the Finn course, racing on the eastern corner of the bay. AINSLIE will prove once again hard to beat. In second position, Ivan KLJAKOVIC GASPIC (CRO) scored top ten results but is 14 points away from first place. World #1, Jonas HOEGH-CHRISTENSEN (DEN) had up and down results with a second and 20 (which he is discarding), but despite this inconsistency moves up to place third in front of Zach RAILEY (USA). The American lost two places to fourth after a disqualification at the start.

The top three remains unchanged in the Laser class with Paul GOODISON (GBR) and Nick THOMPSON (GBR) scoring similar points today. Rasmus MYRGREN (SWE), who was reinstated to third place in Monday's race, suffered from the shifty conditions to finish 12th in the first race and win the second. Other race victories went to Andreas GERITZER (AUT), who gets back from 31st to fourth place after deleting 17 points from his overall score. Alejandro FOGLIA from Uruguay also had a great day with a fifth and a win to place 12th overall while in 31st position, Igor LISOVENKO (RUS) scored the other win.

Natalia VIA-DUFRESNE and Laia TUTZO (ESP) have claimed back the top spot in the 470 women after scoring a second and a fourth. Early regatta leaders, the Italians Giulia CONTI and Giovanna MICOL and Germans Stefanie ROTHWEILER and Vivien KUSSATZ both collected high scores but are still in the top three.

Bronze medallist at the 49er Worlds in Melbourne in January and Athens silver medallists, Rodion LUKA and George LEONCHUK (UKR) have stolen the lead from Jan-Peter PECKOLT and Hannes PECKOLT (GER) after a sixth place and two wins scored in Tuesday's three 49er races. The Germans are only twopoints behind after consistent results.

"It was a tricky day with challenging conditions. We had choppy waves and very gusty winds," commented the German brothers, who have chosen Palma for their training camp. "We come here every year for a few months. It is great for training."

The young sailors, who have quickly reached the second place in the ISAF World Sailing Rankings, have their eyes set on a place on the Olympic podium. "Now that the selection trials are over we can concentrate on testing our equipment and select the best gear for China."

The qualification phase is over and the 49ers, Laser, 470 and RS:X men fleets will be now divided in gold and silver fleets.

Results - click here
Princess Sofia Trophy - www.trofeoprincesasofia.org

Corinne Rolland-Mckenzie (As Amended By ISAF)
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