These are exciting times for fans of Olympic class sailing as the the Trofeo S.A.R. Princesa Sofía regatta (AKA the 2014 ISAF Sailing World Cup Mallorca) kicks off tomorrow in Palma de Mallorca. Here, 1200 sailors from 60 countries have gathered to compete for top podium honors and to speed check against their rivals as the lead up to the ISAF Sailing World Championship in Santander, Spain (September 8-21, 2014), as well as the bigger-picture build-up to the Rio Olympics 2016, gets serious.
According to reports, the weather has been a touch colder than usual with light winds during the practice sessions, but the breeze is expected to fill in later this week for the actual racing. While some of the athletes might feel slightly off the back today thanks to Europe's spring time change, you can bet your last roll of duct tape that these world-class sailors will be in fine form come the start of tomorrow's racing.
‘There is a big spread at every regatta obviously,' reported Matthew Belcher (AUS), World Sailor of the Year 2013 and the Gold Medal-winning skipper in the Men's 470 class at the London Olympics 2012. 'The guys who won in Miami are very strong. They have been doing a lot of work. The Argentinians are very strong. The Croatians are very strong. We had a good battle with them at Sail Melbourne. The Americans also are very strong. They had a very good Miami OCR and have been sailing really well here. You can't count out the British or the other two French teams that are there as well.'
Get the full scoop on the Trofeo S.A.R. Princesa Sofía regatta, which runs through April 5, inside this issue, Sail-World's coverage will be the most detailed there is and stay tuned to the website for the latest news, as it becomes known.
Meanwhile, there's been plenty of wind at the St. Thomas International Regatta, which has kicked off racing last week and is set to wrap up on Sunday afternoon. 'We couldn't be happier with the turn-out and the caliber of boats,' says regatta director, Bill Canfield. 'This event has transformed from Caribbean-driven in its inception to a truly world-class international regatta.'
Tight mark roundings are the rule rather than the exception in the IC-24 Class on Day Two. Credit: Dean Barnes - St. Thomas International Regatta - Day 2 - To Accompany Bob Fisher's Report Dean Barnes
Hometown hero and international match-racing superstar Taylor Canfield has proven to be untouchable in the IC-24 class, which is the largest single class racing in the regatta. 'I've been doing some fleet racing this [winter] but as a main trimmer and calling tactics,' reported the younger Canfield. 'It's different seeing it from the helm.' Apparently the change from trimming to driving hasn't been too taxing, as Canfield's fine racecourse record at this regatta is speaking for itself.
Amongst the big boats, Frank Noel's TP52 'Near Miss' has been collecting bullets, with Pieter Vroon's Ker 46, 'Tonnere de Breskens', holding onto second place, followed by Irvine Laidlaw's 'Highland Fling XII'. Get the full report, inside.
Skipper Alberto Rossi said Enfant Terrible managed "perfect starts" in all 11 races and the Italian entry wound up winning 6 of 11 races during the four-day regatta. - Farr 40 Midwinter Championship 2014 Sara Proctor
And in San Pedro, California, the Cabrillo Beach Yacht Club just finished hosting the Farr 40 Midwinters, with four closely fought days of racing in Southern California's friendly conditions. 'It was a fantastic week,' said Alberto Rossi, the winning skipper of 'Enfant Terrible'. 'We had some troubles in the first race, but we sailed very, very well the rest of the way. We had 11 perfect starts and the boat was quite fast. It was a wonderful performance by the crew as our maneuvers were all good.'
New York skipper Alex Roepers had a brand new team aboard Plenty and it came together quite quickly in placing second at the Farr 40 Midwinter Championship off Cabrillo Beach. - Farr 40 Midwinter Championship 2014 Sara Proctor
Rossi and his 'Enfant Terrible' finished 14 points ahead of Alex Roepers' 'Plenty' and an additional nine points ahead of Kevin McNeill's third-placed 'Nightshift'. 'We are very happy with the result and it's something to build on going forward,' reported Roepers. 'We got better as the regatta went along and had a very good final day. [Tactician] Terry [Hutchinson] set the tone from the outset, telling the crew that we were going to be fairly conservative while we built some trust. That was a wise approach and toward the end we had developed enough confidence to be more aggressive.'
Sad news also hit this weekend that Hobie Alter, the legendary father of modern fiberglass multihulls (and surfboards), passed away at his home. He was 80 years old. Alter's groundbreaking designs include the Hobie 14 and the Hobie 16. More on his life, his vision and his revolutionary multihulls, inside this issue.
Also inside, be sure to get the latest scoop from the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race, the Melges 24 European Sailing Series and the Gazprom International European Dragon Championship.
And finally, for anyone who could use a shot of adrenaline mixed with Vitamin D on this early spring day, be sure to spend some time scrolling through Carlo Borlenghi's eye-popping image gallery from the St. Barths Bucket Regatta.
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