The 51st edition of the Trofeo Princesa Sofía Mallorca has concluded. The week-long event was the first major international event for Olympic classes since the 2020 Summer Games in Tokyo, and is the first regatta in the 2022 Hempel World Cup Series.
Held at the City of Palma’s Ses Voltes, the awards ceremony was attended by several key figureheads from the island’s governing bodies: the Balearic Minister of Sports, Fina Santiago; the Minister of Tourism of the Consell de Mallorca, Andreu Serra; the Deputy Mayor of Palma City Council, Joana Adrover; the Sports Councillor of the Llucmajor Council, Simó Adrover; and the President of the Balearic Port Authority, Francesc Antich.
Also present: the president of the Royal Spanish Sailing Federation, Javier Sanz; the president of the Balearic Sailing Federation, Cati Darder; the president of the Club Marítimo San Antonio de la Playa, Jesús Comas; the president of the Club Náutico s’Arenal, Oscar Estellers; the commodore of the Real Club Náutico de Palma, Jorge Forteza; and the World Sailing Vice-Presidents Tomas Chamera and Yann Rocherieux.
The Italian sailors Ruggero Tita and Caterina Banti, 2020 Olympic gold medallists who raced in the Nacra 17 class, received the trophy as overall winners of the 51st Trofeo Princesa Sofía Mallorca. The first three finishers in each of the ten Olympic classes also received their prizes.
As part of the ceremony, the organisers of the Trofeo Princesa Sofía Mallorca also paid tribute to the Ukrainian people in this challenging time, presenting a plaque to the three sailors from Ukraine participating in this event as a symbol of solidarity.
The countries with the most medals in this edition were France and Great Britain (6), followed by Italy (4) and Spain (2). The French sailors won three gold medals, and the British scored two.
The regatta is organised by the Club Nàutic S’Arenal, the Club Marítimo San Antonio de la Playa, the Real Club Náutico de Palma and the Balearic and Spanish sailing federations, with the collaboration of the international sailing federation. It has the backing of the Balearic Government, the Mallorca Turisme Mallorca Foundation, AETIB, Mallorca Illes Balears, Palma City Council, Llucmajor City Council and Ports de Balears, as well as collaborators such as Iberostar, Transmed and Ok Mobility.
Without further ado, the winners of the 51st edition of the Trofeo Princesa Sofía:
470 Mixed – Jordi Xammar (Club Nautic Garraf) / Nora Brugman (Club Vela Blanes), ESP
49er – Erwan Fischer (CNBPP) /Clement Pequin (La Rochelle Nautique), FRA
After wearing the yellow jerseys all week, Erwan Fischer and Clément Pequin (FRA) won gold in the 49er Men’s skiff. However, the French were pushed hard in the Medal Race by Ian Barrows and Hans Henken (USA) who finished in silver just three points off the gold. Mikołaj Staniul and Jakub Sztorch (POL) took the bronze. Fischer said: “We made a bit of a mess of our start on port tack, and we had to work hard to come back from that. We’re really happy with how we sailed in the Medal Race and all week.” Pequin added: “This is our first big regatta sailing together as a team and we’re so happy. Winning this Hempel World Cup regatta is the biggest win of our career so far.”
49erFX – Odile Van Aanholt /Annette Duetz, NED Odile van Aanholt and Annette Duetz (NED) had already done enough to secure 49erFX gold with a day in hand. The Medal Race was a battle for silver and bronze, with reigning Olympic Champions Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze (BRA) battling to keep the chasing pack at bay. The points were close behind the Brazilians, with Belgium, Italy, Sweden and Denmark all in with a realistic shot at the podium. Grael and Kunze won the Medal Race to secure silver. Isaura Maenhaut and Anouk Geurts (BEL) looked good for the bronze early on, but Jana Germani and Giorgia Bertuzzi recovered from a poor first leg to move up to second by the finish, giving bronze to the Italians by just two points.
Van Aanholt commented: “Annette and I are super happy with our regatta this week. We’re a new team and we haven’t sailed together much but we’re going in the right direction.” Duetz added: “This has been an amazing week of sailing, actually pretty windy. Palma has really delivered some great conditions.”
Formula Kite Men – Theo De Ramecourt, FRA
Theo de Ramecourt (FRA), winner of Formula Kite Men:
“I am really happy to win at this first Olympic event for the Kitefoils. All the training I have done paid off. My overall speed was really, really good compared to the others. I had some good tactics which meant when I made mistakes I could come back. I think my speed was the main thing. I was really so fast and I really love the sketchy conditions here where you are really always having to think where to go and to be able to adapt. Even when I did not make good choices I could compensate with my speed. And I think it is good here because it is the Mediterranean and so a little similar to what we might see in Marseille (at the Olympics). And it is good to see the whole French team really killed it here – we are really all pushing it all the time to the next level which is really nice.”
Formula Kite Women – Daniela Moroz, USA
Daniela Moroz (USA), winner of Formula Kite Women:
“That was one of the most intense Finals of my life, for sure. It was so hectic. I definitely had my work cut out on the last one because I had a bad start. I just had a good attitude to keep fighting to the end, as in these conditions anything can happen. It is never over. I kept going and took advantage of every shift and came away with a bullet. It means everything to win here, everyone is super excited to be in amongst all the other Olympic sailing classes and to be in this environment. I started off with a pretty rough start and so it is awesome to come back and win. I think we are into the Olympic journey and now and it is all soaking in and starting to really hit us all now. I think I need more practise in this Formula Kite format – we don’t have too many events like this with the qualifying series and then the final, so definitely I need to practice in this format more but generally I need to just keep grinding away at it.”
ILCA 6 – Sarah Douglas, CAN
Sarah Douglas (CAN) sailed a victory lap in the ILCA 6 single-hander Medal Race, the Canadian having already secured the gold medal with a day to spare. Hannah Snellgrove (GBR) and Vasileia Karachaliou (GRE) were already assured of medals; it was just a matter of who would beat whom. The British sailor managed to get ahead of the Greek, and Snellgrove’s tight cover on her rival meant she won silver, Karachaliou taking the bronze.
Sarah Douglas said: “I am so happy with the week and the way I sailed. I can’t believe it. It is my first podium and my first World Cup win. I am stoked. I was kind of the queen of sixth place over the last quad and I told myself I wanted to stand on the podium on this journey to Paris 2024, and so I am so happy to start off like this.”
ILCA 7 – Michael Beckett, GBR
Michael Beckett (GBR) won gold in the ILCA 7 single-hander to beat some of the heroes of his youth, not least reigning Olympic Champion from Tokyo, Matt Wearn (AUS). Wearn has been on the comeback trail all week after a shocking opening day during which he languished in 32nd place, and silver was an incredible recovery for the Australian. Germany’s 2020 world champion Philipp Buhl (GER) took the bronze.
Michael Beckett commented: “At one point it looked like I would be last, which would not have been good at all. Matt was winning, and so would have won the event. It was unbelievably stressful until I crossed the line. I have grown up racing against these Olympic medallists and so I do know exactly how hard it is to beat them because I have never done it before. It feels good.”
iQFOiL Men – Andrew Brown, GBR
Andy Brown (GBR), winner of iQFOiL Men:
“I had a consistent week and that made the difference. The French and Dutch guys were really gunning for me, and I think that I was able to respond. I like to think I respond well to pressure and I did when I messed up. I got a bit of redemption there. So next time I will start well and put myself under less pressure. It was shifty and tricky today and so we were not sure if we would race in eight knots or 30 knots. It was all over the place and so you just had to get ahead and stay between the other guys and the upwind mark. This is a great confidence boost. I want to go to the Olympics and win, and so I needed to start winning some time and now it feels good I have.”
iQFOiL Women – Hélène Noesmoen, FRA
Hélène Noesmon (FRA), winner of iQFOiL Women:
“It is such a nice feeling to come here and win. Today was very intense as the wind was up and down in the one race I had to win. And we had to wait for a long time on the water and that does not make it easy and keep the nerves under control. And this is another good step for me on the journey to Marseille and the Olympic Games.”
Nacra 17 – Ruggero Tita/Caterina Banti, ITA
The reigning Nacra Olympic Champions from Italy, Ruggero Tita and Caterina Banti (ITA), started their new campaign in the most dominant form. Winning by 36 points, they have set a new standard for fast upwind performance in the foiling Nacra 17 catamaran, but say they have only just begun. “We won here in Palma in 2018,” said Tita after coming ashore from winning the Medal Race. “It feels good to win four years later, at the same point in the Olympic cycle. Also, it is great to win overall in the whole regatta.” Taking the silver medal were Sinem Kurtbay and Akseli Keskinen (FIN), with John Gimson and Anna Burnet (GBR) in bronze.
Ruggero Tita/Caterina Banti, ITA