Saturday 16 April 2011

BWR: A Magical Moment for Jean-Pierre Dick and Loick Peyron

Jean-Pierre Dick (left) and Loick Peyron (FRA) cross the finishing line off the W Hotel in Barcelona on Virbac Paprec 3 to win the Barcelona World Race. Image copyright Nico Martinez/Barcelona World Race.

by Barcelona World Race

Breaking the finish line Monday morning, 4th April, at 10hrs 20mins 36 seconds (UTC) Jean-Pierre Dick (45) and Loïck Peyron (51) have won the second edition of the Barcelona World Race on Virbac-Paprec 3, completing the 25,200 miles round the world race in 93 days, 22 hours, 20 minutes and 36 seconds at an average speed of 11.18 knots.

For Jean-Pierre Dick the victory repeats his 2007-08 triumph in the inaugural edition of the round the world race for crews of two, when he won with Irish co-skipper Damian Foxall. Today’s win also adds an elusive round the world victory to Peyron’s two previous podium finishes, each ten years apart – second in 1989-90 in the inaugural Vendée Globe solo round the world race, and second in The Race in 2000, for fully crewed giant multihulls.

On arrival at the dock in Barcelona Jean-Pierre Dick described his feelings on winning a second consecutive Barcelona World Race: “A lot of emotions, quite indescribable, I am so happy to be here. I had my objective and today it has been satisfied. It is magical the way we won it together. Thanks Loïck for doing this race with me and putting up with me, magical to live three months among nature around the world, living our passion, and technologically it’s quite special. Thank-you and thank-you Barcelona for this race, it is ideal. Double handed around the world is fantastic. Thank-you also to my sponsors, I am very proud to have these people with me.”

Image copyright Nico Martinez/Barcelona World Race.

The French duo highlighted their drive and pace when they set a new 24-hour speed record for IMOCA Open 60-footers of 506.33 miles on January 22nd (average speed 21.1kts)

Without doubt the success of their proven partnership amounts to more than the sum of its parts, even given Peyron’s 30 years of ocean racing successes and Dick’s incredible durability, his appetite for short handed and solo racing, his meticulous, scientific approach and delivery, and his remarkable trajectory towards the top of this exacting and demanding sailing discipline.

Their partnership has never been beaten on the oceans, winning the Transat Jacques Vabre together in 2005 when Dick defended the title he won with Nicolas Abiven. Dick, previously a full time business director who only really turned ‘professional’ in 2002, has joined the elite ranks of Michel Desjoyeaux and Bernard Stamm as the only skippers to have won two solo or two-handed round the world races.

Image copyright Nico Martinez/Barcelona World Race.

Their winning course displays all the polished hallmarks of a near perfect execution. Their meteo and navigation strategy in each sea and each ocean, around the classic course, which takes in the three great Capes – Cape of Good Hope, Cape Leeuwin and Cape Horn but which, uniquely for the genre, climbs from the south Pacific through the Cook Strait before descending just as quickly back to the hostile ocean – has been almost faultless.

The raw speed of Dick’s newest generation VPLP/designed IMOCA Open 60, launched in May last year in Auckland and with which he plans to challenge for the 2012 Vendée Globe, is now proven. As is the duo’s skill to sail it at the limit for long periods when pressed, but so too is their ability to sail defensively, maintaining high averages to preserve themselves and the boat in more extreme conditions.

Such attributes are underpinned by both skippers sharing the same bitter experience of retiring from the 2008-09 Vendée Globe with damage, both leading at different stages. Peyron spent more time in the lead than anyone before his mast broke, and Dick led in the Indian Ocean before sustaining rudder damage.

Though they made two technical stops for repairs, amounting to a time-out total of 63 hours in Brazil and Wellington, New Zealand, the Virbac-Paprec 3 pair stayed the course to fulfil their ranking as one of the pre-race favourites. Of the 14 IMOCA Open 60s which started off Barcelona on 31st December, four of which were otherwise considered potential winners or podium contenders, Président, Foncia, Groupe Bel and Mirabuad all retired with mast or keel failures.

Dick and Peyron led the race out through the Straits of Gibraltar on January 3rd and after re-taking the lead on January 23rd were never passed. The thrilling duel with Michel Desjoyeaux and Francois Gabart, which forced the red line higher and higher, came to an end when Foncia broke their topmast early on the morning of 25th January.

But Spain’s double Olympic 49er medallists Iker Martinez and Xabi Fernandez in their first ever IMOCA Open 60 race as a duo had been second since Foncia withdrew. From Virbac-Paprec 3’s largest lead of 781 miles over MAPFRE on February 7, the Spanish pair pressed the leaders relentlessly, getting to within 8.3 miles of Dick and Peyron in the Pacific on 25th February. But, with a beautifully precise 30-mile hitch to the east to set up early in the South Atlantic high pressure system, the winners avoided the very worst of the light winds and made the better passage of the dominant anticyclone.

Though their difficult return through the Doldrums was as long, slow and challenging as either Dick or Peyron could recall over their careers, Virbac-Paprec 3 emerged with an advantage to build on over a final 16-day marathon upwind slog to lead back into Gibraltar.

Image copyright Nico Martinez/Barcelona World Race.

Quotes from the winning skippers:

Jean-Pierre Dick (FRA)

“This round the world race has been a mixture of lots of little things. We already knew each other and it was the joint experience of both of us skippers as individuals which was key to winning.

“We have a really good team, mutual understanding and great respect. We have known each other for a long time and it is for me a huge privilege to have been able to sail around the world with Loïck. A wonderful experience. We both wanted to win of course and our cohesion was focused on this victory.”

Asked if he would consider a third race: “I love Barcelona but I want to celebrate this first and then we will see. The Barcelona World Race is a magical race, it is a wonderful concept: double handed, with sunsets, whales, albatross – to be able to share this natural experience when you are passionate about the sea and can live this passion it is amazing.

Asked what made the difference for them: “A new boat, and in New Zealand the chance to make it more secure, to give us that extra reassurance. It is a very good boat, it performs really well and is latest generation. It was all very well-timed and that is an important part of our success.

“It is a great moment for me after three years of not winning; it was quite frustrating having to abandon the Vendée Globe when ahead, and then there was a year and a half wait whilst the boat was being built. To be successful and have fulfilled my objective iswonderful.

“There are a number of different images that will stay with me from the race. Cape Horn in particular, I have never been that close to it and we could really experience it directly being so close to land. Patagonia is magical – that is my most special moment.”

Image copyright Nico Martinez/Barcelona World Race.

Loïck Peyron (FRA):

“It has been exceptional. My third round the world race. The first time was solo, the second with a team and this third time double-handed. And we have won – we led the race in spite of some tough competition. It was a fantastic experience and it is a fabulous feeling to finish and finish so well.

“Success comes from true cohesion – and we are both complementary. The savoir-faire of the solo sailing world means you really trust the other person. Success is also about having a good machine at your feet. We made a mistake last night – it was probably us relaxing a little before the arrival, but we did a good job.

“My most important memories are of the albatross – they are quite unique in the world and that part of the planet and we were lucky enough to see them.

“It has been a real example of teamwork by the ‘family’. It is a beautiful example of unity and I am delighted to have had the chance to experience it.

“It is magical to be in Barcelona again. The last time was with The Race and it is wonderful to be back again and this time with another beautiful story.”

Victory Unfolds

Image copyright Nico Martinez/Barcelona World Race.

January 4th after taking the southerly option and finding more wind pressure on the Moroccan coast Virbac-Paprec 3 leads out of Gibraltar Straits, 3 days, 7 hours and 55 minutes after the start on 31st December in Barcelona (6 hours faster than 2007-8 edition when Dick and Foxall also led)

January 8th Foncia lead passing Madeira, Virbac-Paprec 3 after five days in front drop to second after small tactical error, with a compact top group including Président, Groupe Bel, and Neutrogena.

January 10th in strong downwind trade conditions speeds peak at 25kts, in a relentless driving pace and on January 11th Jean Le Cam and Bruno Garcia retire after breaking mast north of Cape Verdes.

On January 13th 2.5 m of mainsail traveller track rips away requiring technical stop in Recife, Brasil. Foncia also stop after damage to their crash box and an almost surreal F1 style pit-stop ensues. The two IMOCA Open 60s, which have been locked together since traversing the Atlantic from Martinique on the same ship after the Route du Rhum, and refitted in the same shed in Barcelona, now pit-stop in the same Brazilian dock. The rival crews even briefly end up sharing the same apartment! Virbac-Paprec 3’s total time stopped is 15 hours and they resume the course with a deficit of 277 miles.

January 18th they are first to go into ghost mode as both the Recife twins choose long-term investment to the west, down the Brazilian coast which initially sacrifices miles to those on the more direct routing through the St Helena High, but the gains come with high speeds in strong winds. Virbac-Paprec 3 sets a new 24-hour world speed record for 60-footers at 506.33 miles, bettering the 2007-8 record set during the Barcelona World Race by Alex Thomson and Andrew Cape at 501.9 miles on Hugo Boss.

January 23rd Dick and Peyron retake the lead and first round Cape of Good Hope. Early on the morning of 26th January the near-twins are finally parted when Foncia breaks their mast. Virbac-Paprec 3 lead MAPFRE by nearly 580 miles.

February 16th Virbac-Paprec 3 makes the minimum 48-hour stop in Wellington to repair batten cars, returning with their lead shrunk to 128 miles over MAPFRE.

February 25th Virbac-Paprec 3’s lead is just 8.3 miles over MAPFRE.

March 3rd Virbac-Paprec 3’s exciting passage of Cape Horn 140 miles ahead of MAPFRE.

March 4th MAPFRE stop briefly to sort out twisted halyards at entrance to Beagle Channel. Martinez and Fernandez lose about 80 miles.

March 5th-11th the Saint Helena High strategy sees a huge accordion effect but Virbac-Paprec 3 accelerate away to lead of 545 miles over MAPFRE.

March 19th Doldrums: compression to 111 miles as the Doldrums move north with Dick and Peyron but on long beat to Gibraltar, Dick and Peyron lead at the longitude of Tarifa.

April 1st Virbac-Paprec 3 lead by about 30 hours at 0135hrs (UTC)

April 4th Virbac-Paprec 3cross the finish line at 1020hrs (UTC) winning the Barcelona World Race after 93 days, 22 hours, 20 minutes and 36 seconds of racing.

- Course record 2007-08 92 days 9 hours and 49 minutes
- Theoretical course is 520 miles longer in 2010-11

In French:

Lundi 4 avril à 12h 20min 36sec heure française, Virbac-Paprec 3 a franchi en vainqueur la ligne d’arrivée devant Barcelone. Jean-Pierre Dick (45 ans) et Loïck Peyron (51 ans) auront parcouru ce tour du monde en double en 93 jours, 22 heures, 20 min et 36 secondes, sur un parcours de 29 075 milles et à la vitesse moyenne de 12,9 nœuds

Image copyright Nico Martinez/Barcelona World Race.

Jean-Pierre Dick, lauréat de la première édition de la Barcelona World Race avec Damian Foxall signe un formidable doublé en compagnie de Loïck Peyron. Loïck, quant à lui, remporte ici son premier tour du monde après deux podiums, dans le Vendée Globe et The Race.

Les derniers milles auront été marqués par l’absence de vent et c’est une arrivée toute en douceur que Jean-Pierre Dick et Loïck Peyron ont pu savourer entourés par de nombreux bateaux spectateurs, parmi lesquels les familles, sponsors et équipes techniques des skippers. Les deux marins aussitôt la ligne franchie se sont sautés dans les bras à l’avant du bateau très émus d’en finir après plus de 3 mois de mer.

A bord d’un plan VPLP-Verdier de toute dernière génération, construit comme tous les 60 pieds de Jean-Pierre chez Cookson en Nouvelle-Zélande, le tandem a réalisé une course presque parfaite. Fait notoire et presque incroyable, il la remporte après deux escales techniques : la première au Brésil (15 heures, entre le 15 et le 16 janvier), la seconde en Nouvelle Zélande (48 heures entre le 16 et 18 février). Et le tout, en raflant au passage, un record des 24 heures (506, 33 milles soit 21,1 nœuds de moyenne)

Image copyright Nico Martinez/Barcelona World Race.

Mano a mano atlantique

Virbac-Paprec 3 prend la tête de la Barcelona World Race en Mer d’Alboran, le 2 janvier au classement de 15 heures, soit 2 jours après le départ de la capitale catalane. Le lendemain, à 19h55, il sort du détroit de Gibraltar en pôle position, les 13 autres monocoques à sa suite. A ce stade de la course et pendant presque un mois, son principal adversaire s’appelle FONCIA (Michel Desjoyeaux/François Gabart). Dès le début, les deux quasi-sisterships vont se livrer une bagarre terrible et alterner en tête du classement. A huit reprises, ils vont s’échanger la première place, jusqu’au 25 janvier, date du démâtage de FONCIA.

Le duel sera très serré au large du Cap Vert, puis en Atlantique Sud. Ironie du sort, les deux équipages vont se retrouver ensemble en escale forcée à Recife et se croiser dans le même appartement le temps de prendre une douche et de faire un petit somme. Le 15 janvier à 10h00, Virbac-Paprec 3 s’amarre en effet dans le port brésilien pour y réparer un rail de chariot de grand-voile arraché sur 2,50 mètres.

Image copyright Nico Martinez/Barcelona World Race.

L’escale technique va durer 15 heures. Ce sera ensuite une course poursuite après FONCIA (reparti plus tôt) lors d’un grand contournement de l’anticyclone de Sainte Hélène par la face Ouest où les deux rivaux déclencheront le mode furtif. Cette stratégie, loin de la majorité de la flotte qui a plutôt opté pour un flirt dangereux avec l’anticyclone, va permettre à Virbac-Paprec 3 et FONCIA (et dans une moindre mesure MAPFRE) non seulement de rattraper une partie du peloton qui les avait doublés pendant l’escale, mais aussi de le dépasser, puis de le distancer.

S’en suit un concours de vitesse en direction du cap de Bonne Espérance au cours duquel le monocoque bleu décroche, le 22 janvier, le record de distance sur 24 heures, homologué par le WSSRC à 506,33 milles (de 21,1 nœuds de moyenne). A force de pédaler comme des fous, Jean-Pierre et Loïck parviennent à doubler Michel Desjoyeaux et François Gabart et à rependre le contrôle de la course le 23 janvier. Le démâtage de FONCIA le 25 janvier au petit matin les prive bientôt d’adversaire… Mais pas pour longtemps. Bientôt, c’est l’équipage de MAPFRE qui va endosser le rôle du meilleur ennemi.

Wellington relance la donne

Image copyright Nico Martinez/Barcelona World Race.

L’écart avec Iker Martinez et Xabi Fernandez va fluctuer énormément. Dans l’océan Indien, il se montera à 781 milles (le 7 février) pour retomber dans le Pacifique à 8,3 milles (le 25 février) après une deuxième escale technique de 48 heures en Nouvelle-Zélande.

Le 16 février, Jean-Pierre et Loïck font relâche à Wellington pour y changer leurs chariots de lattes de grand-voile défectueux et réparer une bulle de roof, explosée dans une tempête de l’océan Indien. Ils en repartent avec une météo idéale, mais avec l’équipage espagnol à leurs trousses. MAPFRE, qui ne s’est pas arrêté, ne relâche pas la pression. Jean-Pierre et Loïck résistent, passent le 3 mars le cap Horn en tête comme ils avaient franchi Bonne Espérance et Leeuwin et profitent de problèmes de drisse du tandem basque pour prendre à nouveau la poudre d’escampette dans la remontée de l’Atlantique. Une fois de plus, ils négocient parfaitement l’anticyclone de Sainte-Hélène. Ils ne seront plus vraiment inquiétés par la suite, malgré un passage du Pot au Noir chaotique, plus de 15 jours de navigation au près et une traversée épique du détroit de Gibraltar, avec 40 nœuds de vent dans le nez... La boucle est bouclée aussi magistralement qu’en 2008 où Jean-Pierre était sorti puis entré en Méditerranée en première position.

Image copyright Nico Martinez/Barcelona World Race.

Cette association de gentlemen navigateurs, entre deux marins mûrs et expérimentés avait déjà porté ses fruits puisqu’ils avaient remporté ensemble la Transat Jacques Vabre 2005. « Le secret de notre alchimie est le respect et l’écoute mutuelle » déclarait Jean Pierre, la veille de passer la ligne d’arrivée. « Une bonne communication ça génère de belles trajectoires, une meilleure vitesse du bateau ».

Barcelona World Race

BWR: HUGO BOSS between the Rock and a Hard Place

HUGO BOSS working hard upwind to get home. Image copyright Alex Thomson Racing.

by Barcelona World Race media

HUGO BOSS are too far ahead of the gradual evolution and movement of the cut off low pressure which is centred to their WSW to gain from the pressure fields it generates while to the south of it Forum Maritim Catala are coming in on a direct course towards Gibraltar in SW'lies and SE'lies, so essentially downwind and reaching in good pressure. Gerard Marin and Ludovic Aglaor are making nearly 14 knots this Saturday morning directly towards the cut, the Straits, while the Hugo Boss duo have been making less than that overnight.

The low is what is known as a cut off low - such as we have seen quite regularly in this corner - it becomes cut off from the jet stream, its energy source and end up aimlessly meandering around until it eventually dissipates or moves off. In this case over the next 48 hours it tracks south, east and then north. And only really by tomorrow does the flow on the eastern side of it starts to organise into a more regular flow which is when Hugo Boss's Meiklejohn and Verbraak will start to see some more constant breeze. Otherwise today they have a trough developing which leaves them with headwinds to the north of the latitude of Gibraltar and to their south and east light SW'lies, SE'lies.

And the more that they track to the SE just now then the more they end up in the worst of the light, variable breezes - especially tonight. So it is looking quite complicated still, and doubtless very, very frustrating for the duo who really just want to be finished. "Light winds this morning. lots of focussed helming to keep her moving east. new wind tomorrow." reported Wouter from the boat.

North Atlantic Ocean sea/skyscape from HUGO BOSS. Image copyright Alex Thomson Racing.

They are certainly going to see their margin to FMC reduce considerably, but have no reason to panic, but they will certainly have to keep working hard all the way into the Mediterranean. With 440 miles to go to Gibraltar they should be there by Monday, but by then it is possible FMC will be just over a day behind them.

Meantime for We Are Water they are still in the SE'ly trades making 10 to 11 knots and are four days from the Doldrums.

Barcelona World Race

Video Highlights of the Racing in the Trofeo S.A.R. Princesa Sofia MAPFRE Sailing World Cup Regatta 2011

Video highlights of the Medal Ceremony:

Video highlights from racing on Day 6 (final day):

Video highlights from racing on Day 5:

Video highlights from racing on Day 4:

Video highlights from racing on Day 3:

Video highlights from racing on Day 2:

Video highlights from racing on Day 1:

Trofeo S.A.R. Princesa Sofia MAPFRE

Team Tunnicliffe Wins Bronze in the Women's Match Racing in Palma

Team Tunnicliffe after winning Bronze in Palma. Image copyright US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics.

by Anna Tunnicliffe

We won the bronze medal today at 42 Trofeo S.A.R Princesa Sofia Mapfre, with a 2-0 win over France's Claire Leroy in the petit-finals. Our USSTAG teammates won the gold, with Team Finland in silver.

We headed out to the race course around 11am as the light sea breeze started to fill. We had another beautiful day on the water with 7-8kts and a slight chop. The petit-finals were the first start and it was a first-to-two point series. We won both of the starts and managed to extend our lead up the first beat to make the races not nearly as eventful as yesterday's. However, we are very happy with how we sailed the races today and are excited to come away from this week with a bronze. You can check out the final regatta results at the event website.

We have a week off now before we start training again. Our next camp is in Weymouth with our other two USSTAG teammates. Molly and Deb are heading home for the week, and I am heading to France with Brad for the week as he continues his training.

We would like to thank our gold level sponsor 11th Hour Racing, and our bronze level sponsors Carmeuse, Trinity Yachts, and Chicago Match Race Center for their continued support of our campaign for the 2012 Olympic Games. We would also like to thank US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics (USSTAG) and its sponsors for their continued support. Also, thank you to our private donors. Please remember that any and all donations/contributions to our campaign should be made payable directly to either The Sailing Foundation of New York (tax deductible) memo'd Anna Tunnicliffe, or to Anna Tunnicliffe.

Team Tunnicliffe
Trofeo Princesa Sofia MAPFRE

Tom Slingsby wins Silver medal at Sailing World Cup in Spain

Tom Slingsby (AUS) on his way to a silver medal in the Laser class in Palma. Image copyright Neus Jordi/Princesa Sofia/MAPFRE.

by Craig Heydon

Australian sailor Tom Slingsby has won a Silver medal in the Laser class on the final day of the ISAF Sailing World Cup in Spain.

Slingsby headed into the final race with a slender lead over the Great British pair of Paul Goodison and Nick Thompson with the shortened medal race a winner takes all affair on the waters of Palma bay.

Ultimately it was Goodison, the reigning Olympic champion, who brought home the Gold medal, with his third place finish enough to get him over the line while Slingby’s fifth gave him Silver overall and Thompson’s seventh left him with Bronze.

“It wasn’t the best day on the water,” said Slingsby. “The medal race was in a light sea breeze and I didn’t get away to a great start and then never found a passing lane.

“Second is a good start to the European season and now I’m looking forward to going racing at the next World Cup round in Hyeres in France in a few weeks time.”

The three time World Champion and reigning ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year was happy to be back racing in the Laser class for the first time since December last year and keen to build on his strong start to the year.

“I felt that I was sailing well enough all week to win here,” said Slingsby. “I’ve been racing in the Laser class for a long time now so I seem to be able to have long breaks and come back well.

“Next event I will do one better,” he said.

The Australian Sailing Team’s 470 men’s crew of Mathew Belcher and Malcolm Page were also in action on the final day in Palma and headed into the medal race sixth overall.

The 2010 World Champions crossed the line seventh in the 10 boat medal race fleet, leaving them seventh overall for the week.

“I think the race started quite well for us and we actually got the start of the week and were the best out of the fleet,” said Page. “We managed to go the way we wanted but the wind shifted opposite to what we expected and we were mid fleet. Again at the critical moment we didn‚t have the boat speed to keep our position and rounded the first mark last.

“From there we fought very hard and managed to get back to seventh place at the last top mark and held this position until the finish,” he said.

The Australian pair went into the medal race in a close battle for fifth, sixth and seventh with the two teams closest to them on points, Japan and Great Britain.

“The Japanese got the first shift perfectly and had a large lead at the first mark but we found ourselves in the mix with the Great Britain team,” said Page. “But again they could get through us on the upwinds which left us in the position of trying to make a miracle on the last downwind. But today we couldn’t pull the rabbit out of the hat.”

Belcher and Page next head to France for the 470 Spring Cup, followed by round four of the ISAF Sailing World Cup, also in France, where they get the opportunity to test themselves against the best 470 crews in the world again.

“We came out of this week with a bit of a speed issue and need to stabilise a few things and work out if it‚s equipment of us,” said Page. “We’re looking forward to having another go at our competition at the next World Cup round where I would like to think we will be in better form.

“We’re never happy unless we’re winning,” he said. “But saying that it is always good to meet your problems with enough time before your major peak regatta, so hopefully these lessons will make us stronger and a better team.”

In the Women’s Match Racing competition the Australian crew of Nicky Souter, Nina Curtis and Olivia Price finished the week in 10th, while fellow Australians Katie Spithill, Jessica Eastwell and Lucinda Whitty were 14th.

Brendan Casey was 20th in the Finn class and in the Laser fleet Australian Sailing Squad member Ashley Brunning was 15th and Australian Sailing Team athlete Tom Burton was 28th.

In the 470 class Sam Kivell and Will Ryan ended their regatta in 16th while Krystal Weir was 22nd in the Laser Radial fleet.

Full results from Palma can be found at

For more information on the Australian Sailing Team visit or follow the team on Twitter at

Ainslie Again and Again in the Finns in Palma

Ainslie wins the Finns. Image copyright Jesus Renedo/Princesa Sofia/MAPFRE.

by Robert Deaves

The Finn medal race of the 42 Trofeo SAR Princesa Sofia in Palma followed a familiar pattern with Ben Ainslie (GBR)taking his seventh race win of the week and also taking the overall prize for the best performance across all classes. Below him not much changedwith Giles Scott (GBR) taking the silver and Thomas Le Breton (FRA) taking the bronze.

On another day of light winds and small choppy waves, Ainslie led from the top mark all the way. Rafa Trujillo (ESP)rounded in second as Ainslie sailed away from the fleet. His only threat, Giles Scott (GBR) was back in seventh. Ainslie increased his lead again onthe second upwind while the rest of fleet had a tough fight at the first downwind mark. Ainslie comfortably maintained his lead and won by more than150 metres (about 40 seconds), while Zach Railey (USA) had a great final downwind to move from fifth to second. The rest of the fleet came to finishin a close group and the final result for the rest was fixed during last few meters.

On his return to the class Ainslie said “At Miami, I learnt a huge amount and despite some issues in the regattafinished one point off the lead. Since then we have been working hard on the kit development and fitness and I'm happy that we made some good gains.I'm really pleased with the progress made but certainly have more improvements to make.”

On Palma, “It's a tricky venue here in Palma but I seem to be getting back the fleet racing tactical calls andhad good speed throughout a range of conditions.”

Does he feel if it had been a windy regatta it would have been a different story? “Who knows, it's not reality.The first day we had 25 knots plus and that was great fun and tough physically. We've had a good range of conditions at this event. It has been hardwork to come back because with the 10 knot rule you need to be really fit. I am working on my fitness and I need to get used to the boatagain.”

Scott, who finished fourth in the race but maintained his second overall, said, “I had the first beat wrong andit wasn't my best conditions. And Ben was very fast.”

Rafa Trujillo (ESP) closed his week with a third place in the medal race. He summed up his week, “I was sickbefore the regatta and spent three days in bed. I didn't read the weather and the field well this week. I have been coming too often here and got usedto the shifts going left so I didn't look and expected the wind to do the same. And of course it didn't. This week was my conditions with ten knotsand choppy but I was not feeling good. Also I had a flat sail and was slow. I will fix that. Now we are resting then some training with Ed and otherguys in Valencia and then to Hyères. There I expect the mistral!”

Last place in the medal race and 10th overall went to Johan Tillander (SWE), who is back in Finn after twoand half years sailing Stars with Fredrik Loof. “My objective was top ten so I am really happy. I was so happy with top ten that I was notreally concentrating today."

Start of the Finn medal race. Image copyright Jesus Renedo/Princesa Sofia/MAPFRE.

Dan Slater had a chance to snatch the bronze from Le Breton but it didn't quite work out. “I rounded the firstmark in fifth, one place behind Le Breton. Down the first run not much changed then on the second beat I lost a little and then gained it back but Iwas still behind on the final run to the finish. Down that run I tried to work to the left of the three boats in front to try and beat them to thegybe and in doing so lost two more boats to the finish so it really was not a great race.”

“But overall I still finished fourth and am happy with the way the regatta went. I still have lots of things towork on that will improve my performance. The class is seeing some changes in rigs, sails and even boats and the guys who are doing development inthese areas have already moved forward. This regatta saw some new rig concepts that showed they were faster and higher than the standardrigs.”

Slater continued, “Ben and Giles have sailed well this week again. Their strength is downwind where they aremaking the gains. Ben has sailed well upwind as well, rounding the top mark in the first few most races.” Does Ainslie have a weakness?“To say he has a weakness in a class that he has been at the front of now for eight years is a big ask. but I'm sure if we had a windy regattamaybe it would be a bit different for us older boys.

Zach Railey was also happy with his week. “It was a very puffy race. Ben and I got off to a good start at thepin. He got some good pressure he rounded first at the top mark. I was fourth in a pack with Rafa, Ed and Thomas. It all stayed very close until thefinish with Dan and Ed in the mix. I had a great last downwind to finish second and secure fifth overall. I feel really good as a top five was ourgoal, but we also identified some stuff to correct so all in all a good week.”

Ainslie also increases his lead at the top of the ISAF Sailing World Cup rankings from Scott and Railey. The fleet havejust two weeks to rest and get ready for the next leg in Hyeres, starting April 22. We'll be back then with more Finn action.

Final Results (medal race in brackets)

1 GBR 3 Ben AINSLIE 22 (1)
2 GBR 41 Giles SCOTT 42 (4)
3 FRA 29 Thomas Le BRETON 54 (5)
4 NZL 1 Dan SLATER 70 (8)
5 USA 4 Zach RAILEY 77 (2)
6 ESP 100 Rafael TRUJILLO 88 (3)
7 GBR 11 Ed WRIGHT 88 (7)
8 SLO 573 Vasilij ZBOGAR 92 (6)
9 SLO 5 Gasper VINCEC 92 (9)
10 SWE 736 Johan TILLANDER 94 (10)

Finn Class
Trofeo Princesa Sofia MAPFRE

Ben Ainslie Ultimate Winner of the Trofeo Princesa Sofia MAPFRE

Ben Ainslie (GBR) - overall winner of the Trofeo S.A.R. Princesa Sofia MAPFRE 2011. Image copyright Nico Martinez/Proncesa Sofia/MAPFRE.

Winners in Palma, including Sara Winther (NZL, Laser Radial), and Jo Aleh and Bianca Barbarich-Bacher (NZL, Women's 470). Image copyright Nico Martinez/Princesa Sofia/MAPFRE.

by Corinne Rolland-McKenzie

The medal races and Women Match racing finals have crowned today the champions in the 42 Trofeo Princesa Sofia MAPFRE in Palma.

The Women Match racing finals were a hard fought battle with Silja Lehtinen, Silja Kanerva, Mikaela Wulff (FIN) taking the first match bya small margin, then Sally Barkow, Elizabeth Kratzig-Burnham, Alana O’Reilly (USA) winning the next three close matches to win the Goldmedal.

“It feels really good to win a Sailing World Cup event. We came into this event thinking it was going to be a kind of warm upleading up to the first phase of the U.S. Trials in May. We really showed a lot of progress through the event and that was really important. We stillhave a lot to work on and we’re off to Weymouth next week to train with the rest of the U.S. Team then on to Hyères.” commented Sally Barkow (USA) after the win.

Sally Barkow (USA) wins the Women's Match Racing. Image copyright Jesus Renedo/Princesa Sofia/MAPFRE.

The Finals and Petit-Finals were sailed in perfect conditions after the sea breeze filled in around midday to a steady 7-10 knots. ThePetit-Finals saw Anna Tunnicliffe, Molly Vandemoer, and Deb Capozzi (USA) defeat Claire Leroy, Marie Riou, and Claire Pruvot (FRA) in two straightmatches to win the Bronze medal.

In many classes, yesterday leaders kept their early position after the double pointers medal race to win the title.

Ben Ainslie (GBR) winner of thr Finn Class and overall trophy for the lowest pointscore. Image copyright Jesus Renedo/Princesa Sofia/MAPFRE.

For Ben Ainslie (GBR), who was playing for Gold or Silver, winning the medal race from start to finish settled the questions. Giles Scott (GBR)kept Silver and Thomas Lebreton (FRA), the bronze.

Ben Ainslie, coming back to the Finn after a break sailing in the Match racing circuit, is successful with a win in Sail Melbourne a second inMiami and a second SWC win in Palma. The Olympic champion is also taking the Ultimate Trophy which crowns the best sailor across all classes in theevent.

“The come back to the Finn has been hard work. I need to work more on my fitness. It is good to see the other British do well, it ismotivating and is good for sailing in England.” Ainslie's next stop will be Hyères and Sail for Gold for the start of the British Olympicselections.

The Gold medallist is slightly increasing his lead on the SWC standings over Giles Scott, but the two British are sailing away from Zach Railey(USA) in third place.

Dorian van Rijsselberge (NED) won the Men's RS:X. Image copyright Jesus Renedo/Princesa Sofia/MAPFRE.

Dorian van Rijsselberge (NED), Tom Ashley (NZL) and Nick Dempsey (GBR) kept a strong hold on their early lead to take the podium in the RS:Xclass. Dempsey takes second place behind the Dutch in the Sailing World Cup standings.

“I feel really happy with my results.” says Dorian van Rijsselberge. “It was a wonderful regatta, with sunshine and plenty ofwind! My goal here was to finish in the top three and winning is always very nice.”

Marina Alabau (ESP) who has been leading the event since the second day, wins the Trofeo Princesa Sofia MAPFRE for the first time. Charline Picon (FRA) remains in second to take silver. Coming into the medal race in third, Laura Linares (ITA) suffered from an early startdisqualification in the Medal race. The last place on the podium goes to her rival and first day leader Alessandra Sensini (ITA) who placed third inthe Medal race. Marina Alabau (ESP) takes also the lead in the Sailing World Cup.

Alessandra Sensini (ITA) won bronze in the Women's RS:X. Image copyright Jesus Renedo/Princesa Sofia/MAPFRE.

With victory going to Percy and Simpson (GBR) on the penultimate racing day, the battle on the Star medal race was for Silver and Bronze. Robert Stanjeck and Frithjof Kleen (GER) got to their best placing in the event to win second overall on equal points with Torben Grael /MarceloFeirrera (BRA) and Diego Negri /Enrico Voltolini (ITA).

Manu Dyen and Stéphane Christidis (FRA) successfully defend their title in Palma. This is the tenth time the French duo compete in theSpanish event. Today they transformed their early lead into Gold after a Medal race where the Italians nearly succeeded in taking thechampionship.

“We had a god start with the Italians just behind us. On the first beat we fell in an area with less wind. The Sibello passed us and hada good gap on us at the mark, enough to take the regatta.” A good gybe set at the bottom gate reduced the distance and gave the French theadvantage and the title.

Pietro and Gianfranco Sibello (ITA) conserves the Silver. The bronze was up for grab by the next six teams. The Danish team of AllanNorregaard and Peter Lang (DEN), favourites for the Bronze, missed their chance after finishing 9th in the Medal Race. It is the AustriansDelle-Karth/Reisch who take the bronze.

New teams sail to success in 470

In the 470 as well, the top two kept their early position after the medal race to secure a place on the podium and points towards the SailingWorld Cup Standings. French Nicolas Charbonnier and Jérémie Mion (FRA), sailing together since last February have found their mark andtransformed the last two training months into success. “There are still many points to adjust but this week was a good test for us as newteam.”

When asked about their objectives and the French selection coming soon in Hyères, the Olympic bronze medallist answers that“winning the next Olympics is the main goal” and that they will not be distracted by anything else. Pierre Leboucher and Vincent Garoskeep the second place overall but lose the title won last year.

Luke Patience and Stuart Bithell (GBR) climb on the podium to grab third place after a 4th in the Medal race.

In the 470 women, one week training together, seemed to be enough for Jo Aleh and Bianca Barbarich-Barber (NZL), who claimed victory in their first event together. Ai Kondo and Wakako Tabata (JAP) conserve second position and the Israeli team of Gil Cohen and Bouskila Vered, thethird.

Penny Clark and Katrina Hughes (GBR) fourth in Palma places them ahead of the Sailing World Cup standings.

There is a new champion in the Laser class with Olympic Gold medallist, Paul Goodison winning the event on the last day. The results were tightamong the top three and the medal race decisive. A two places gap was enough for Goodison to take Gold from World Champion, Tom Slingsby (AUS) who hasto settle for Silver. Sail Melbourne winner, Nick Thompson (GBR) keeps the Bronze and extends his lead on the Sailing World Cupstandings.

Sarah Winther (NZL) takes Gold in the Radial with Evi van Acker (BEL) keeping second place. Gintare Scheidt (LTU) wins the medal race and thethird place on the podium.

“I am very happy with my week.” says Winther, “I didn't come here to win, I used this event to work on some key things.Racing in Palma was awesome this year, surely the best.”

Sailors will be heading to the next Sailing World Cup event starting in two weeks in Hyères.

Trofeo Princesa Sofia MAPFRE

Two Gold and One Silver for NZL at ISAF World Cup Regatta, Spain

Nine Kiwi Boats Finish in Top Ten Placings at the Trofeo Princesa Sofia MAPFRE regatta 2011

Sara Winther (NZL), Laser Radial gold medallist, with coach Marko Orams. Image copyright Jesus Renedo/Princesa Sofia/MAPFRE.

Jo Aleh and Bianca Barbarich-Bacher on their way to Gold in the Women's 470. Image copyright Jesus Renedo/Princesa Sofia/MAPFRE.

Tom Ashley (NZL): silver in Men's RS:X. Image copyright Nico Martinez/Princesa Sofia/MAPFRE.

by Jodie Bakewell-White

Two gold medals and one silver spell success for the NZL Sailing Team at the first major Olympic class European Regatta of 2011 – the ISAF Sailing World Cup Regatta in Spain.

Both holding the lead going into last night’s medal race, it was the Women’s 470 pair of Jo Aleh and Bianca Barbarich-Bacher, and Laser Radial campaigner Sara Winther who secured two gold medals for New Zealand. Tom Ashley has come away with silver in the Men’s RS:X event.

With a five point buffer Sara Winther of the Takapuna Boating Club, needed a solid medal race to keep her rivals at bay.

“The medal race started in about seven knots with small pressure shifts. I had a solid start and played the shifts up the middle. I lead at the top mark, and rounded the bottom gate cleanly then fought it out with Gintare Sheidt from LTU,” explains Winther, delighted with this career topping result.

“Evi [Van Acker] fought back hard and was just on my tail at the top mark, and actually crossed the finish line before me, but I knew I had done enough to secure the regatta.”

“It’s now time for few days break in France before I do it all over again.”

Sara Winther (NZL) and Evi van Acker (BEL) at the start of the Laser Radial medal race. Image copyright Jesus Renedo/Princesa Sofia/MAPFRE.

Jo Aleh and Bianca Barbarich-Bacher had an even better lead going into the medal race with an eight point margin at the top of the Women’s 470 fleet. The kiwis crossed the line in fourth last night putting gold in the bag with a convincing ten point gap to second place.

Aleh and Barbarich-Bacher paired for this regatta with usual crew Polly Powrie recovering from an injury, and expected back in the boat in a few weeks.

Jo Aleh and Bianca Barbarich-Bacher win Gold in Palma in the 470W. Image copyright Jesus Renedo/Princesa Sofia/MAPFRE.

Despite a shocker day one at the regatta for Tom Ashley, he vowed to come back, and was true to his word standing on the podium for the silver medal five days later.

“I finished the medal race third and ended up second in the final standings,” says Ashley. “My strategy going into the race was to keep a bit of an eye on the guys behind me and to have as good a race as possible. As it happened, the British sailor who was in second going into today had a terrible race, finishing last and gifting me the silver medal.”

“Overall I'm really happy to have come away from this event with such a good result,” says Ashley for whom this event was a return to top level international competition. “From here our little team travels back to Spain for a week of training and equipment testing in Murcia, then to Hyeres in France for the second World Cup event.”

Beyond the medals the NZL Sailing Team comes away from this ISAF Sailing World Cup event with two fourth places as well – for Dan Slater in the Finn, and Sam Meech in the Laser.

Seasoned campaigner Slater has this to report: “Overall I finished 4th and am happy with the way the regatta went. I still have lots of things to work on that will improve my performance.”

For young Sam Meech, who was a Youth Worlds Gold medallist just two years ago, this result will count as a career highlight to date. This is his first top five at a major European event competing at senior level in the hotly contested Laser event.

There were three more starters in the Laser medal race wearing the fern including Andrew Murdoch, who finished sixth, Andy Maloney just behind in seventh and Mike Bullot wrapping up the regatta in ninth position.

The NZL Sailing Team sailors all gave credit and thanks to their supporting coaches who included Mark Howard, Mark Orams, Nathan Handley, Hamish Wilcox and Dave Robertson who have been in Palma de Mallorca, Spain with the team.

The next major event on the Olympic class calendar is the fourth of seven regattas which make up the ISAF Sailing World Cup series, known as Semaine Olympique Francaise. An even larger contingent of kiwis is expected to be at this next regatta which runs from 21-29 April in Hyeres, France.

Images of the New Zealand’s medallists in action are available on the regatta website with TV quality footage available on FTP through the event press team. ( or

New Zealand’s Final Results

Men’s RS:X (66 entries)
2nd Tom Ashley
20th Antonio Cozzolino

Laser Radial (78 entries)
1st Sara Winther

Women’s 470 (49 entries)
1st Jo Aleh and Bianca Barbarich-Bacher

Men’s 470 (84 entries)
18th Paul Snow-Hansen and Jason Saunders

Finn (83 entries)
4th Dan Slater
35th Matt Coutts

Women’s RS:X (33 entries)
31st Stephanie Williams

Laser (127 entries)
4th Sam Meech
6th Andrew Murdoch
7th Andy Maloney
9th Mike Bullot
55th Josh Junior

Women’s Match Racing
5th Koru Match: Stephanie Hazard, Jenna Hansen and Susannah Pyatt

Yachting New Zealand
Trofeo Princesa Sofia MAPFRE

Closely Raced Semis; Petite Finals Tomorrow for Team Tunncliffe

Barkow (USA) v Tunnicliffe (USA). Image copyright Nico Martinez/Princesa Sofia/MAPFRE.

by Anna Tunnicliffe

It was a difficult end to a great day of racing today at 42 Trofeo S.A.R Princesa Sofia Mapfre as we lost the semi finals by a couple feet in the fifth and final match of the series. We will be fighting for the bronze medal tomorrow against France's Claire Leroy in the petit-finals while the finals will take place between our USSTAG teammates Sally Barkow and team and Finland's Silja Lehtinen and team.

The day started with the end of the quarterfinals against New Zealand's Stephanie Hazard. We dropped the first match of the day after losing the start to them, but rallied back to take the series 3-1 and advance to the semi's against Sally.

Most of the matches in the semi's were very close. The first race went to us after we got a penalty in the pre-start, countered it at the second windward mark and after an intense luffing and gybing match on the downwind leg, they got a penalty on the finish line which gave us the first race of the series. Race two wasn't quite as exciting as our mainsheet broke and limited us with how much it would go out, but we made a big push at the end of the race and got to within a length or two as we crossed the line. Race three again was uneventful. We took the lead off the line and extended it on the downwind leg, to take the race by a couple of lengths.

But races four and five were when it got very interesting. In the pre-start of race four, we ended up with a penalty. Around the first lap, Sally had the lead, but we had a better leeward mark rounding and took the lead from her up the second beat. Towards the top of the beat as we were setting up to spin our first penalty, there was an incident that resulted in us getting a second penalty, meaning that we had to spin it immediately. We spun it, came out to leeward of her but still overlapped, and pinned her upwind passed the windward mark. When we were in position, we spun our remaining penalty and came out with half a length lead going down to the finish. She was to leeward of our line on starboard tack and we were not making the finish line. We caught a wave and I thought we could gybe through her and get to the other side, but just as we tried to, she caught a wave and surfed right up to us. As I gybed back, it was a little too late and we got another penalty giving her the race.

In race five, we had a clean start. She was a length ahead at the top mark, but we closed the distance on the downwind leg and again had a better rounding and took the lead. At one point up the beat we tried to leebow her, but hit some bad waves that allowed her to roll us and put us back behind her. But we stayed close and at the top mark we were one and a half lengths behind. Downwind we worked very hard to catch up and closed right up to her in the last quarter of the leg. We were able to sit on her breeze and just as we got to the finish line, it was a matter of who would catch the next wave and surf it into the line. As it turned out, her wave was a little ahead of ours and she crossed the line to take the series 3-2 and advance to the finals, leaving us in the petit-finals.

We are quite sad with the result. We feel we have sailed exceptionally well all week long, and still sailed well today, but unfortunately it wasn't meant to be this time. We learned some good lessons today and we are glad that we have. We are looking forward to sailing Claire tomorrow as we always have great races with her. You can follow the results online at the regatta website.

We would like to thank our gold level sponsor 11th Hour Racing, and our bronze level sponsors Carmeuse, Trinity Yachts, and Chicago Match Race Center for their continued support of our campaign for the 2012 Olympic Games. We would also like to thank US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics (USSTAG) and its sponsors for their continued support. Also, thank you to our private donors. Please remember that any and all donations/contributions to our campaign should be made payable directly to either The Sailing Foundation of New York (tax deductible) memo'd Anna Tunnicliffe, or to Anna Tunnicliffe.

Team Tunnicliffe
Trofeo Princesa Sofia MAPFRE

Two Aussie crews set for shot at medals at Sailing World Cup in Spain

Slingsby (AUS) and Goodison (GBR) in Spain. Image copyright Jesus Renedo/Princesa Sofia/MAPFRE.

by Craig Heydon

Australian sailors will compete for medals in two classes on the final day of the ISAF Sailing World Cup in Palma, Spain, with Tom Slingsby holding a slender lead in the Laser class while Mathew Belcher and Malcolm Page have a fight on their hands in the 470 class.

Slingsby went into the penultimate day of racing with a two point lead over Great Britain’s Paul Goodison and Nick Thompson. From Friday’s two races all three sailors had a strong race result and one they could have done without in the light, shifty conditions.

Friday’s results have set up an exciting final medal race with Slingsby just one point ahead of Goodison with Thompson one further adrift in third. The equation is simple for the trio, whoever wins the race will win the event.

“I had an up and down day today with a first and an 18th,” said Slingsby. “The first race went really well with the right hand side working well for me and I rounded the top mark in third and slowly chipped away for the race win.”

“In race two I wanted to stay near my rivals but I made the mistake of starting a bit away from them in order to get off the line cleanly,” he said. “My rivals went right and each time I tried my lane was taken. I ended up going left to try and get some clean air but the right side won by a long way.”

“I rounded way back in 30th and just tried to pick off as many as I could before the finish,” said Slingsby. “Tomorrow will be interesting with just two points separating the top three, whoever wins out of us wins the regatta.”

In the 470 class Mathew Belcher and Malcolm Page head into the final medal race in sixth position, and while they are just 12 points off a medal Page said that the race offers another opportunity to gain experience in medal race conditions against the top 10.

“We’ve just got to go out there tomorrow and sail our best,” said Page. “Points wise we’ve got one boat ahead and one behind that are very close so we’ll be looking to get the best possible start and then assess the situation and see if we have the opportunity to influence them.”

The reigning World Champions had a better day than they did on Thursday, finishing the fleet races with an 11th and a 12th but still found themselves a little off the pace.

“Today was fractionally better but still not the best,” said Page. “We’re a little down on speed at the moment, it feels like we’re sailing a 460, if they existed, while the others are just ahead.”

“We’re still finding ourselves in a good position but then bleed a spot here and there and suddenly you’re a long way back,” he said. “Once we finish up here we head to France for the 470 Spring Cup and we’ll take the chance to do a bit of cross referencing of our equipment as we haven’t seen a lot of what we’ve been using here for months while it was being shipped from Australia.”

While Slingsby, Belcher and Page will race for medals on Saturday the regatta has finished for Australia’s other competitors.

In the Finn fleet Brendan Casey finished the week in 20th position following a 20th and a 34th in the final two fleet races.

Casey had some promising results in his first European regatta for the year with a race win and a number of top 10 finishes.

The regatta finished a couple of days earlier than planned for the two Australian Women’s Match Racing Team crews. Nicky Souter, Nina Curtis and Olivia Price finished the event 10th, while Katie Spithill, Jessica Eastwell and Lucinda Whitty were 14th.

The Australian Sailing Squad crew of Sam Kivell and Will Ryan finished the week 16th in the 470 class. The pair picked up a 22nd and a 14th on the final day of racing in Palma.

In the Laser class Squad member Ashley Brunning was 15th following a 24th and a 21st on Friday while Australian Sailing Team member Tom Burton worked his way up to 28th with a 26th and a 14th from the final two races.

Krystal Weir was 22nd in the Laser Radial fleet with some good results throughout the week including two thirds and four other races in the top 10.

Full results from Palma can be found at with the next round of the ISAF Sailing World Cup being held in Hyeres, France, at the end of April.

For more information on the Australian Sailing Team visit or follow the team on twitter at

Ainslie Extends Lead into Medal Race in Finns in Palma

Ben Ainslie (GBR) has a 14 point lead going in to the medal race. Image copright Jesus Renedo/Princesa Sofia/MAPFRE.

by Robert Deaves

Olympic champion Ben Ainslie (GBR) dominated proceedings again on the final day of the gold and silver fleet races atthe Trofeo SAR Princesa Sofia in Palma with a 1, 5 score to go into Saturday's medal race with a 14 point lead over Giles Scott (GBR). Third placedThomas Le Breton (FRA), who won race 10, can now only challenge for silver from Scott, while fourth placed Dan Slater (NZL) is the only other sailorin with a chance of the bronze medal.

The final day for the gold and silver fleets started with another, albeit shorter, postponement to allow time for thesea breeze to kick in. When it arrived the fleet got away just after 12.30 in an 8-10 knot southerly, which increased during the day.

Ben Ainslie (GBR) added to his string of race wins with yet another bullet in race nine, his sixth of the series, thistime from Dan Slater (NZL) and Jonathan Lobert (FRA), who has been struggling so far in this regatta. The third place gave Lobert a welcome boost upthe results, but he had left it too late to make the medal race. The fleet was so tight that most of it crossed the finish line in one big group. Agroup of about 30 boats, were within 50 metres of each other at the finish, incredibly close after an hour of tough racing.

Race ten race started under Oscar flag for free pumping downwind in around 12 knots, with the waves getting slightlybigger. Third placed Piotr Kula (POL) tells his story. “After a good start I went to the right side of a fleet and it was looking good so Istayed there on the first upwind. After rounding the windward mark in eighth I was working at full strength on the downwind. With the free pumpingeveryone was making an enormous effort to speed up. After the downwind I was third. Giles Scott was pushing right behind for the next lap.”

Thomas Le Breton maintained his lead at the second top mark from Johan Tillander (SWE), Kula and Scott. “Weworked really hard downwind and after a while we gained so much, that it became clear that we were fighting only against each other for third place.Giles is a really fast sailor so it was a hard battle but fortunately I managed to keep my spot and crossed the line in third.”

“I am very happy with the race as well as the whole regatta. I finished 19th overall which is really satisfyingespecially that after my knee surgery in October last year, I was not able to sail for five months. Despite all my ambition I did not think I wouldmanage to do this well without training all winter.”

Fourth overall, Slater commented, “Over the last two days I have managed to improve my position in the top five.I have had good top mark roundings in all races and on a few occasions even gained downwind which has been a bit of a new development, however thereis still some work to do on this so that I am able to keep up with the British sailors. Going into the medal race I can't lose my fourth place. Ihave a chance at a bronze but really we will have to have all the stars fall into place and all I can do is sail a good clear race.”

Lobert, who finished 15th overall this week mused on his regatta. “Today was a better day for me. Thisweek I was trying some new gear and I have figured out that it is good in some conditions and not so good in others. Today I went back to my classicstuff just to get the confidence back for Hyeres. The speed was good and I really enjoyed the downwind today on the last race with the free pumpingand nice waves. Now it's time to rest and be ready for Hyères.”

The final two silver fleet races brought a number of boats scoring OCS, including the first across the line in racenine Tomas Vika (CZE). Race nine was won by Julian Massler (GER) followed by Marko Kolic (ITA) and Egor Terpigorev (RUS). After more boats picked upan OCS in race 10, first across the line was Terpigorev, having a great day, followed by Alejandro Aranzueque (ESP) and Efe Kuyumcu (TUR). This leavesMassler as the winner of the silver fleet followed by Ali Kemal (TUR) and Andre Budzien (GER).

Finns on the starting line. Image copyright Jesus Renedo/Princesa Sofia/MAPFRE.

So, the medal race line up looks like this

Ben Ainslie – Has a 14 point lead which only Scott can catch. With more titles than the rest of the fleet put together, no one is betting any money that he will lose this one.

Giles Scott – The winner in Miami has a 10 point lead over Le Breton, so will be interesting tosee whether he protects that or goes for Ainslie.

Thomas Le Breton - Can grab the silver but also lose the bronze so could be attacking Scott whiletrying to defend against Slater

Dan Slater – Has nothing to lose. Cannot place worse than fourth so will almost certainly beattacking Le Breton from the start to get a medal.

Zach Railey - Opened the series well but picked up some high scores in past few days. Only nine pointsbetween sixth and last so there will be real battle in the bottom half of the fleet.

Gasper Vincec – One point behind Railey and again too far off to get a medal, but can also dropto the bottom with a bad race.

Ed Wright – The world champion and winner of the ISAF sailing world cup in 2009 and 2010 hasleft too much to do in the medal race. Won here last year, but now too far adrift to even take a medal.

Johan Tillander – Returning to the Finn after sailing Stars for a few years, he has alreadybecome a serious threat to the established Swedish sailors and improving all the time.

Vasilij Zbogar - Double Olympic Laser gold medalist who joined the Finns last year. So far can be abit inconsistent but gradually getting there.

Rafael Trujillo – 2004 Olympic champion and 2007 world champion. Had some good results thisweek, but not enough of them to be challenging for a medal. Can still get up to fifth if he has a good race.

Ainslie won in Melbourne. Scott won in Miami. Ainslie and Scott are fighting for the win in Palma. Who will win thethird leg of the 2011 ISAF Sailing Wiorld Cup? The medal races are scheduled to start from 11 am.

Results after 10 races:

1 GBR 3 Ben AINSLIE 20
2 GBR 41 Giles SCOTT 34
3 FRA 29 Le BRETON 44
4 NZL 1 Dan SLATER 54
5 USA 4 ZachRAILEY 73
6 SLO 5 Gasper VINCEC 74
7 GBR 11 Ed WRIGHT 74
8 SWE 736 Johan TILLANDER 74
9 SLO 573 Vasilij ZBOGAR 80
10 ESP 100Rafael TRUJILLO 82

Finn Class
Trofeo Princesa Sofia MAPFRE

2011 Trofeo Princesa Sofia MAPFRE title for Iain Percy and Andrew Simpson in the Star. Medal races to decide champions in Palma on Saturday

Iain Percy and Andrew (Bart) Simpson win the Stars in Palma. Image copyright Jesus Renedo/Princesa Sofia/MAPFRE.

by Corinne Rolland-McKenzie

Two final races completed on Friday in the 2011 Trofeo Princesa Sofia MAPFRE have decided the top ten sailors in each Olympic class who will compete in the medal race Saturday. With the same conditions encountered since Tuesday, there was not many surprises as the top three in most classes remain unchanged.

For Iain Percy and Andrew Simpson, the Medal race will be a formality! The Gold medallists have sailed to consistent results in a talented fleet and have acquired such a lead that they are assured of Gold in the event. However, the fight will remain for the five following teams all eligible for a podium tomorrow. Diego Negri and Torben Grael 's team have remained in second and third.
It wasn't a dream day for Marazzi and de Maria (SUI) who took a penalty on the start of the day's first race and broke their mast in the second.

“We’ve had a good week” says Percy, “and things have gone well but it was kind of one of those times where things worked out and some of our rivals didn’t have good weeks. The result shows us to be a little bit further ahead than maybe we are, but still we’re really happy. It’s nice to win an event after such a long time away.”

The top three remain the same in the RS:X classes with Marina Alabau (ESP) starting in the medal race with a good lead over her opponents. She has already secured her a Gold or Silver. Charline Picon (FRA) is also insured to finish on the podium opened to the top five.

“I don't usually perform in the conditions we had these last few days but I feel really well this week. Tomorrow will be a three way battle between Marina, Laura and me. I have a chance for Gold if Marina makes a mistake but my main objective will be to secure the Silver.”

Laura Linares (ITA) and Alessandra Sensini who are competing in Palma in their first Olympic selection event are two places apart.

“My objective is to do as best as I can and will give my best tomorrow. I will not look out for Alessandra and will concentrate to gain places on the podium.” explains Linares (ITA).

In the RS:X women and men divisions, the podium is opened to the top five. Dorian van Rijsselberge (NED) is conserving the lead and can not stepped down from the podium. Byron Kokalanis's good races today (1-3) have sent him to 5th overall and within reach of a medal.

For Dyen/Christidis (FRA) and the Sibello (ITA) brothers, the medal race will be deciding who takes Gold and Silver. It will be an interesting race within the Medal race! Allan Norregaard and Peter Lang (DEN) are the favourite for Bronze with a seven points lead over their closest rival. However, the Bronze will also be the direct objective for sailors placed up to eighth overall!

The Finn battle for Gold will follow the same scenario as the 49ers with only Ben Ainslie and Giles Scott (GBR) standing a chance for Gold. The two British are continuing to race to top places with Ben Ainslie wining the first Sailing World Cup event Sail Melbourne, and Giles Scott, the second in Miami. With top two places secured in Palma they are sure to increase their lead in the SWC standings.

“We’ll see how I get on tomorrow. The medal races are always tight, it’s obviously double points so I’ve got to go out and sail another good race and hopefully I can do that and make it all count.” explains Ainslie.

With only two points separating the top three Lasers, tomorrow's medal race will be intense between World Champion Tom Slingsby (AUS), Gold medallist Paul Goodison (GBR), and Nick Thomson who is leading the Sailing World Cup standings after winning Sail Melbourne. New-Zealanders Sam Meech and Andrew Murdoch following 18 points behind on equal points have a small chance for bronze.

The top three haven't changed in the 470 men going into tomorrow's medal race. While seven teams have a chance for a medal, only the top four can pretend for Gold. Nicolas Charbonnier and Jérémie Mion (FRA) have slightly extended their lead on team mate Pierre Leboucher and Vincent Garos (FRA) who will try to keep their Trofeo Princesa Sofia title.

“Today was good for us,” admits Charbonnier, “we have increased the points with the seconds.” For the newly formed team, the Princesa Sofia MAPFRE was also the occasion to tune their act together. “We have learned a lot here, especially the areas where we have to work to better our sailing. So it is a very positive week.”

The top three remain the same in the 470 women fleet but the teams have exchanged places. Jo Aleh and Bianca Babarich-Barber (NZL) are back in the lead in front of Japanese Ai Kondo and Wakako Tabata (JAP) and in third early leaders Cohen/Vered from Israel. Penny Clark and Katrina Hughes (GBR) in fourth place can technically get to any medal.

The medal race in the Laser radial will start with a new leader. Sara Winther (NZL) takes the lead from Evi van Acker (BEL) after placing 11th in the first race and winning the next. The score is tight between the top 10 and the podium opened to all medal racers! Today best results went to Gintare Scheidt (LTU) who climbs to fourth overall after a first and a second in today's races and is in contention for Gold.

2010 World Champion, Thierry Schmitter (NED) has successfully defended his title in the 2.4 competition after winning six out of ten races. The Dutch especially enjoyed the strong breeze on the first day: "It was great fun, We should have racing like that more often." Second overall was Heiko Kroger from Germany and Megan Pascoe (GBR) third.

“It’s always nice to come away with a World Cup medal – it would have been nice to have a different colour but that’s life and I did my best with what I had on the last day.” says Pascoe.

Another beautiful day on Palma Bay for the Women’s Match Racing fleet at the 42nd Trofeo S.A.R. Princesa Sofia MAPFRE. The conditions were fantastic for some great battles in the Quarter-Finals and Semi-Finals.

Silja Lehtinen (FIN) won her Quarter-Final over Silke Hahlbrock (GER) 3-0 and awaited her opponent. Anna Tunnicliffe (USA) saw her unbeaten streak ended by Stephanie Hazard (NZL), but rebounded to win her Quarter-Final 3-1. Claire Leroy (FRA) defeated her countrywoman Anne-Claire Le Berre (FRA) 3-1 to reach the Semi-Finals. The battle between Sally Barkow (USA) and Lucy Macgregor (GBR) came down to the 5th and final match with Barkow victorious and winning the knock-out series 3-2 to advance.

This set up an American battle in Semi-Final One between Tunnicliffe and Barkow and a Finnish-French match between Lehtinen and Leroy in Semi-Final Two.

Lehtinen won the first match, then Leroy tied it up. Lehtinen won the next two to secure her spot in tomorrow’s Final.

“We had reached the Quarter Finals twice before, but we had never advanced. So, this was a big thing for us. Our goal for the event was to get to the Quarter Finals, so everything from here on is a bonus. There are a lot of great teams here and just getting to the top eight is very difficult. We have been training a lot Tomorrow we will just keep doing what we have been doing, nothing special. We made some big gains in our training before Miami as well and we’ll just keep doing what we’ve been doing.” explained Silja Lehtinen.

In the other Semi-Final, the two American teams – Sally Barkow and Anna Tunnicliffe – fought down to the wire in an exciting 5 match series which came down to a near phot finish with Barkow’s team victorious.

“The key for today was that we really tried to be patient and not make any aggressive mistakes. Every time we were getting all fired up, we just tried to calm down and keep it simple. And I thought we had really good boatspeed and good boathandling and used it to our advantage. Just a really tough battle with Anna (Tunnicliffe) - it was back and forth more times than I can remember and so we were just pleased to win by inches in the end. We’ll just stick to the same game plan – we’re going well through the water, so we’ll just try to win the starts and go from there.” commented Sally Barkow after her Semi-Final win.

The Finals will see Lehtinen and Barkow. And Leroy will meet Tunnicliffe in the Petit-Finals.

Sally Barkow (USA) defeats Anna Tunnicliffe (USA) 3-2
Silja Lehtinen (FIN) defeats Claire Leroy (FRA) 3-1

5. Stephanie Hazard (NZL)
6. Anne-Claire Le Berre (FRA)
7. Lucy Macgregor (GBR)
8. Silke Hahlbrock (GER)

Anna Tunnicliffe (USA) defeats Stephanie Hazard (NZL) 3-1
Claire Leroy (FRA) defeats Anne-Claire Le Berre (FRA) 3-1
Silja Lehtinen (FIN) defeats Silke Hahlbrock (GER) 3-0
Sally Barkow (USA) defeats Lucy Macgregor (GBR) 3-2
Women's Match-Racing information courtesy Liz Bayliz / WIMRA

The medal races are sheduled from 11AM on Saturday 9th of April. They will be sailed on three courses set close to the shore. The Women Match Racing finals will take place in front of the Palma Cathedral.

Trofeo Princesa Sofia MAPFRE