|OALMA DE MALLORCA, SPAIN-(5-4-2007) Today’s heavy showers in the Bay of Palma left the eight racing areas of the 38 Trofeo SAR Princesa Sofia – Mapfre without wind. Only classes Star, Finn, 49er and Tornado completed one race and the Yngling fleet sailed two races before the light morning breeze dropped completely. The SW wind of average 5 knots that blew in the bay of Palma complicated today’s races demanding the competitors’ high tactical knowledge to remain in the top positions of the fleet. The Race Committees also faced problems to lay the courses and get races started.
The medal race will be sailed tomorrow. The finals will be very tight as the result of the great and equal level of competitors.
In 49er, Spanish team Federico Alonso/Arturo Alonso lost all their chances of winning and now the leading position is for British sailors Stevie Morrison/ Ben Rhodes, the current European champions. It will be an exciting medal race tomorrow because many of the top 10 have equal points and there is very little difference between them. Second place overall is for Danish sailors Peter Hansen/Soren Hansen, silver medallists at the 2006 European championship. Neither German team Jan Peter Peckolt/ Hannes Peckolt nor Italian sailors Pietro Sibello/Gianfranco Sibello, first and second in the ISAF ranking list respectively, managed to be among the top 10 and take part in the Medal race.
US sailors Sally Barkow/Carrie Howe/Debbie Capozzi confirmed their leadership in Yngling winning one of the two races sailed today. Second place overall is now for British team Sarah Ayton/Pippa Wilson/Sarah Webb. Finnish team Silja Lehtinen/Maria Klemetz/Livia Väresmaa had a good day and is up to third place overall with German team Ulrike Schuemann/Julia Bleck/Ute Hoepfner dropping down to fourth overall.
Nobody could put in the shade twice Olympic Brazilian champion Robert Scheidt with crew Bruno Prada. He won the only race sailed today in the Star class reasserting his leadership and virtual victory in this 38 Trofeo SAR Princesa Sofia – Mapfre with 19 point advantage over second classified, German team Matthias Miller/Manuel Voigt. Third place is for French team Xavier Rohart/ Pascal Rambeau, bronze medallist in Athens 2004.
In the Finn class, Croatian sailor Marin Misura lost the lead in favour of Danish competitor Jonas Høgh-Christensen who sails well in little wind and finished second in today’s race. There is only one point difference between the Croatian and the Danish sailor so tomorrow’s medal race could become a match race. Third place is for Dutch competitor Pieter Jan-Postma.
Australian team Darren Bundock/Glenn Ashby, the number one team in the ranking lists, showed again a great performance winning today’s race in Tornado class. The Australian sailors go to the Medal race with the victory in this Trofeo SAR Princesa Sofia – Mapfre guaranteed. Greek team Pashalidis Iordanis/Trigonis Konstantinos are up to second overall and are the best team of the European championship. There is a fierce battle for third place overall between Russian sailors Andrey Kirilyuk / Valery Ushkov and French team Xavier Revil/Christophe Espagnon, the current European silver medallists.
The other classes sailed out to sea but could not sail any race so there are no changes in the standings.
The medal race will be interesting in the Neil Pryde RS:X M with very little point difference between the ten competitors. Spanish competitor Iván Pastor, number one in the ISAF ranking list, is eighth but has still options for a final victory together with Polish sailor Piotr Myszka, Tom Ashley from New Zealand and British competitor Nick Dempsey, absolute winner of the past Trofeo SAR Princesa Sofia – Mapfre and 2006 European champion.
Another exciting race will be seen in the Neil Pryde RS:X W with a fierce battle between Barbara Kendall (NZL) -three times Olympic medallist and with three world titles in Mistral class- and French competitor Charline Picon with equal points at the top of the standings. Italian competitor Alexandra Sensini is third overall at only two points.
In 470 M, with only two points difference between first and third classified, the attention will focus on French team Pierre Leboucher/Vincent Garos (bronze medallists at the 2006 Europeans), Portuguese team Álvaro Marinho/Miguel Nunes and Italian team Gabrio Zandonà/Andrea Trani, fourth in the ISAF ranking list.
With the Medal race scoring double, 470 W Dutch team Marcelien De Koning/Lobke Berkhout will have to watch out over sailors Lenka Smidova/Veronika Fenclova from the Czech Republic.
The same will happen with Argentinean sailor Julio Alzogaray, provisional leader in Laser Standard. His main rival will be Andrew Murdoch from New Zealand, fifth in the ISAF ranking list, as well as veteran British sailor Paul Goodison, 2006 European champion.
In Laser Radial, Belgian sailor Evi Van Acker, the current European champion, will try to beat Lithuanian competitor Gintare Volungeviciute.
The Dragon class will continue sailing fleet races tomorrow with Ukranian team Markus Wieser/Sergey Pugachev/Thomas Auracher as provisonal leader.
The 38 Trofeo SAR Princesa Sofia – Mapfre is sponsored for second consecutive year by Mapfre and is organised by 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.