Ben Ainslie (GBR) will sail again the Medal race from an unbeatable position having already secured the title won last year in Palma. However, today could have brought a change of fate after Ainslie broke his boat before the start of race nine.
Ainslie explains the situation “It was one of those crazy days and a really strange pre-start incident I think because of the big waves and trying to clear from another boat. I damaged my boat so there was no real chance of continuing in the race in that state so the best option was to come ashore and luckily there was a spare boat lying in the dinghy park so we just switched the rigs round, came back out and just had to try and get a reasonable race to get round the course.”
A third place in the event last race was enough for Ainslie to keep his lead, 35 points from Railey.
Zach Railey is keeping his second position but the breezy conditions made the day for Chris Cook (CAN) who has climbed into third overall. With Gold already secured by Ainslie, the Silver is open to the top four and the bronze to the top 8.
Thierry Schmitter (NED) has successfully defended his title today after taking seven out of the ten races in the 2.4. This is the fourth time in a row that the past Olympic and World champion wins the Trofeo Princesa Sofia Mapfre. However, this year the fleet was bigger and of high level despite Damien Seguin’s absence. Helena Lucas (GBR) finishes second with Norwegian Bjornar Erikstad in third.
Thierry Schmitter summarises his week: “Today, after 4 days, the wind and waves finally came through. It was a nice playground for spectacular 2.4mR sailing. And when I am enjoying the conditions, I am also able to win. This is what happen again today in the first race: my 7th first place in a series of 10 races. Quiet souvereign I would say. Even if the World champion, Damien Seguin (FRA) was not present, these results are encouraging for the coming months and the Paralympic regatta in Weymouth beginning of September. I am already looking forward to compete again in the 2.4mR in Hyères in three weeks time for the next stop of the ISAF World cup.”
The wind have waited until the fifth day of the Trofeo Sofia Mapfre to give sailors the opportunity to hike or stretch their legs on trapeze. This also means that the cards have been shuffled and new faces have appeared today at the front of the fleet.
Last year winner Jo Aleh with Pollie Powrie (NZL) have welcomed the breeze and did make the most of it. The pair won easily the day’s two races but this will not be enough to qualify the pair for the Medal race with a 14th overall position. “It was good to stretch the legs today” said Powrie. “It was good racing for us and more our conditions.” Aleh and Powrie will sail the Spring Cup before heading home for the Worlds and Sail For Gold. “There are lots of regattas and we need to plan our training as well. For us Palma is a good event to start with after our summer. There are always lots of teams to train with and race so for us it is a good event to come to.” added Aleh.
The lead in the women 470 have been changing daily throughout the week and it is now the turn of Japanese team of Ai Kondo and Wakako Tabata to take the yellow jersey: “ We are in good form and work well as a team. At the start of the regatta our mind was not into racing but now we are well into it. We got the Silver last year but we want to take Gold tomorrow.”
The medal race will decide the winner and the results are so tight that the top seven team have a chance for Gold.
In the 470 Men, World #1 Belcher and Page (AUS) are continuing on their good form with two bullets in the breeze. “These are more our type of conditions” explained Mat Belcher, “We made some good decisions and took some good shifts but the Israeli were the fastest out there today.”
Gideon Kliger and Eran Sela (ISR) scored a second and a third place to keep second overall. Tomorrow’s medal race will decide who from the Australians or the Israeli will take the title.
Simon Grotelueschen (GER) is taking the lead from Tom Burton (AUS) in the Laser. Gold will be settled tomorrow between the German and Olympic Champion Paul Goodison (GBR). Despite being the best in the Laser Gold fleet today with a second and a third, Tonci Stipanovic (CRO) didn’t make it into the Medal race, in 11th position.
With high scores, the top ten in the Star class are very tight in points. The top seven can get a shot at the title after tomorrow’s medal race. Robert Scheidt and Bruno Prada will be starting from first place with Pepper/Turner (NZL) in second and Rohart/Ponsot (FRA) third. Early leaders Iain Percy and Andrew Simpson dropped down to fifth but only five points from first. The Star medal race will be one to watch for suspense and action.
Despite the pressure of their Olympic selection, Jonas Warrer and Soren Hansen (DEN) are conserving the lead in the 49er. The Beijing Olympic champion and crew can not get worse than Silver in the Medal Race dominated by the French and British with three teams each.
In the Radial, Alicia Cebrian (ESP) gave all she had to protect her first place in today’s strong conditions usually favoured by her opponents. Evi van Acker (BEL) and Marit Bouwmeester (NED) will start the Medal race in second and third. The top three only can claim the event.
The Medal Races are scheduled from 11.30am to 2pm Saturday on two race courses: 49ers and Laser Radial will start at 11.30 am, followed by 470 Women and Laser at 12.20am, 470M and Stars at 1.10pm and finally the Finns at 2pm.
The Women Match racing will start at 10am.
A fresh 15-18 knots of sea breeze challenged the sailors for the penultimate day of women’s match racing at the 43rd Trofeo S.A.R. Princesa Sofia MAPFRE.
Anna Tunnicliffe (USA) was the first to punch her ticket for the Finals when she dispatched of Olivia Price (AUS) 3-0 in the Semi Finals.
The other Semi Final was fought to a “winner take all” 5th match. Tamara Echegoyen (ESP) received a penalty in the pre-start but lead all the way around the course. She tried to lure Claire Leroy (FRA) into an offsetting penalty at the finish, but Leroy escaped with a green flag and crossed the line first to advance to the Finals.
Tomorrow will see Echegoyen and Price sail for the Bronze medal while Leroy and Tunnicliffe sail for the Gold.
SF1 – Leroy (FRA) defeats Echegoyen (ESP) 3 – 2
SF2 – Tunnicliffe (USA) defeats Price (AUS) 3 – 0
Skudina (RUS) defeats Macgregor (GBR) 1 – 0
Mulder (NED) defeats Barkow (USA) 1 – 0
5-8 Sail Offs:
1- Macgregor (GBR) defeats Barkow (USA) 1 – 0
2- Skudina (RUS) defeats Mulder (NED) 1 – 0
The Finals and Petit Finals are scheduled to begin at 1000 tomorrow.