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21 March 2008, 07:30 pm
Breeze Arrives For Palma Medal Races
The Laser Medal Race
The breeze arrived in Palma on Friday making for some spectacular Medal Races

HRH Princess Sofia Trophy 2008
Palma de Mallorca, Spain

The ISAF Grade 2 Trofeo S.A.R. Princesa Sofia offered the sailors a beautiful last day with strong breeze, waves and sun for the Medal Races.
The Yngling, Finns and 49ers were the first three classes to hit the water with a southwesterly wind ranging from 16 to 25 knots across the bay. Finally the opportunity had arrived for some teams to show their expertise in the breeze and close the gap on their opponents.

It was especially the case for Dutch 470 sailors Marcelien DE KONING and Lobke BERKHOUT. The triple World Champions had already proven they are unbeatable in the breeze. They led the Medal Race from start to finish to successfully defend the Trofeo Princesa Sofia Title they won last year. Among the top five all week, the Dutch pair has peaked at the right time.

"We have tried new techniques this week and it is good to see that it finally works out and fall into place. Here is the perfect place to train for Qingdao. We are also training on new tactics for lighter winds. Winning the event here is a really nice bonus," said the World Championship winning team of 2005, 2006 and 2007.

Natalia VIA-DUFRESNE and Laia TUTZO (ESP) conserved their second place overall to take the silver medal. The British team of Christina BASSADONE and Saskia CLARK worked hard to reach third place on the podium after a slow start in the regatta. The 2007 World Championship bronze medallists placed second in the Medal Race, after passing the Japanese Ai KONDO and Naoko KAMATA on the last downwind. It was enough for the British to take the bronze on countback from the early leaders and world #1 crew Giulia CONTI and Giovanna MICOL (ITA).

With eight races in the top five, including a third in Friday's windy Medal Race, Gabrio ZANDONA and Andrea TRANI (ITA) took the Trofeo Princesa Sofia title from Álvaro MARINHO and Miguel NUNES (POR), who despite winning the Medal Race placed a disappointing ninth overall.

"Our boat is still in transit from Australia and we are using here an old boat," explained the Portuguese crew.

The fight was fierce for second place overall with Gideon KLIGER and Udi GAL (ISR) taking fourth place just in front of Sven COSTER and Kalle COSTER (NED). With the two teams on equal points, KLIGER and GAL take the silver medal thanks to a better result in the Medal Race. The Dutch pair had to settle for bronze.

After battling all week against their team mates, the Russian Yngling of Anna BASALKINA, Vlada UKRAINTSEVA and Ekaterina MAXIMOVA has sailed away from their rivals after winning the Medal Race. Ekaterina SKUDINA, Diana KRUTSKIKH and Natalia IVANOVA finish in last position in the Medal Race but managed to stay on the podium on third overall. The World Champions from Great Britain, Sarah AYTON, Sarah WEBB and Pippa WILSON enjoyed the breeze to sneak in second position.

The regatta trophy changed hands during the 49er Medal Race. The Italians Pietro SIBELLO and Gianfranco SIBELLO led the race and the classification at the first mark but the Ukrainians Rodion LUKA and George LEONCHUK passed the Italians on the first run to take the lead. The second run could have seen the Ukrainian 2005 World Championship-winning team's hopes for the title disappear when they lost control of their boat and capsized. They were just quick enough to restart and cross the line in fourth position. With the Australians finishing between them and the Germans, the Ukrainians won the regatta on equal points with the German brothers.

Jan-Peter PECKOLT and Hannes PECKOLT (GER) decided to handle the extreme conditions with care: "There were about five boats nose-diving out there. So we were in control mode. We could have passed the Australians but decided to play it safe. Of course we didn't see the Ukrainian capsize or we would have pushed harder! It was really fun out there!" explained the German brothers.

The Olympic Champions Iker MARTINEZ and Xabi FERNANDEZ (ESP) mastered the breeze and waves to win the race.

Rafa TRUJILLO (ESP) was the second Spanish Medal Race winner on Friday, taking victory in the Finn. The Athens silver medallist had not yet sailed to his full potential with a slow start in the regatta. A victory in the Finn Medal Race will comfort the Spaniard who is working hard to find his pace again. Ben AINSLIE (GBR), who had already won the event by virtue of a huge lead established after Thursday's racing, placed fifth in the Medal Race. Ivan KLJAKOVIC GASPIC (CRO) added another good performance (second in the Medal Race) to his results to conserve his second position and increase his lead on Zach RAILEY (USA) to 30 points. The American took bronze.

Zofia KLEPACKA (POL) added another victory to her results with a bullet in the Women's RS:X Medal Race. She takes bronze in the regatta behind Alessandra SENSINI (ITA) in first position and Marina ALABAU (ESP) second.

The podium is unchanged in the men's division after the Medal Race won by Richard STAUFFACHER from Switzerland. World #3 Nick DEMPSEY (GBR) crossed the line in third place to win the title behind Przemyslaw MIARCZYNSKI (POL), second in the regatta and overall. Fabien HEIDEGGER (ITA) placed sixth in the Medal Race and third in the overall ranking.

Skandia team GBR sailors claim the top two places in the Laser fleet. Undefeated all week, Paul GOODISON (GBR) added a third Trofeo Princesa Sofia MAPFRE to his earlier victories in Palma. Team mate Nick THOMPSON (GBR) took the silver medal. Rasmus MYRGREN (SWE) comfortably won the Medal Race to take the bronze medal.

With only seven boats, the Tornados have sailed a final race won by Santiago LANGE and Carlos ESPíNOLA (ARG) in third position overall. In the overall standings, it was the French team ended victorious with only top five results. Second place went to the German Johannes POLGAR and Florian SPALTEHOLZ.

In the Laser Radial fleet Petra NIEMANN was the run away winner and declared the "Absolute Winner" Trofeo Princesa Sofia MAPFRE. The German scored the least points over the classes with just ten points overall. The prestigious Trophy was awarded on Friday to NIEMANN by H.R.H. Queen Sofia of Spain.

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

Corinne Rolland-Mckenzie (As Amended By ISAF)
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