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Large numbers ready for Trofeo Princesa Sofía

The 2013 World Champions from nine of the ten Olympic events will compete at the ISAF Sailing World Cup Mallorca

A total of 1,130 sailors from 55 nations have registered at Trofeo Princesa Sofia - ISAF Sailing World Mallorca with racing set to commence at 11:00 on Monday 31 March through to Saturday 5 April. Olympic medallists, World Champions, Rio aspirants and new contenders are among the entrants with high intensity racing the name of the game across one Paralympic and ten Olympic events.

Sailors battles started at Qingdao, China in October 2013, progressed through to Melbourne, Australia in December 2013, and heated up in Miami, USA. In Mallorca, Spain, with these record numbers, the battles will intensify and renew.

ISAF Sailing World Cup Manager Antonio González de la Madrid said, “The 2013-2014 Sailing World Cup Series has seen some excellent racing across three world class venues. ISAF Sailing World Cup Mallorca – Trofeo S.A.R. Princesa Sofia is the fourth of five regattas and I expect to see the same high standards of competition and race management that have been present beforehand.

“Throughout the history of the event in Mallorca we have seen excellent racing on Palma Bay. This year the forecast looks set to offer a mixture of conditions that will put all of the sailors’ skills to the test.”

Trofeo Princesa Sofía – ISAF Sailing World Cup Mallorca Manager Ferran Muniesa explained: “We are very satisfied with the number and quality of entries received this year at the Trofeo Princesa Sofia. The number of participants gives us the energy to continue working to deliver one of the best editions ever and confirms we are the favourite event for all sailors”.

The 2013 World Champions from nine of the ten Olympic events will compete in Mallorca. Mixed in with nine of the current World #1 sailors and a wealth of unrivalled sailing experience amongst all fleets, the week is set to offer a strong insight into who the leading contenders for honours at the Santander 2014 ISAF Sailing World Championships will be.

For 2013 49erFX World Champions Alex Maloney and Molly Meech (NZL) Mallorca represents a return to action since they took the inaugural 49erFX World Championship title, “It’s been September since we last raced so we’re really excited to line up against all of the other 49erFX fleet again,” commented Maloney.

Maloney and Meech have been a strong force in the 49erFX and have finished on the podium in all six of the regattas they’ve sailed in. With time back in New Zealand they come into Mallorca prepared and up for the challenges ahead, “We had a really good summer at home. We had a few international teams come down for different lengths of time. The Dutch were down all summer and the Brazilians were there so it was a good Kiwi summer.

“We’ve had some really good practice races with most of the fleet; there have been 30+ boats on the line. They’ve been fun and everyone’s getting more and more competitive so it’s going to be a good week.”

The Kiwis took silver at the 2013 edition losing out to Denmark’s Ida Marie Baad Nielsen and Marie Thusgaard Olsen who picked up gold and were the absolute winner of the Trofeo Princesa Sofía. The Danes return to defend their title with further notable entrants in the 50-boat fleet including ISAF Sailing World Cup Melbourne victors Olivia Price and Eliza Solly (AUS), Miami gold medallists Sarah Steyaert and Julie Bossard (FRA) and World #1 Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze (BRA).

Maloney and Meech’s compatriots and fellow 2013 World Champions Peter Burling and Blair Tuke (NZL) are also using ISAF Sailing World Cup Mallorca – Trofeo Princesa Sofia as their return to the Olympic circuit following the 2013 Worlds. The 79-boat 49er fleet will be spearheaded by the Kiwis as well as Denmark’s Jonas Warrer and Peter Lang and 2013 champions Erik Heil and Thomas Ploessel (GER).

The Women’s 470 will be missing World #1 Sophie Weguelin and Eilidh McIntyre (GBR) as well as World #2 Lara Vadlau and Jolanta Ogar (AUT) through injuries. However, the fleet will welcome back former World #1 and defending champions Fernanda Oliveira and Ana Luiza Barbachan (BRA).

Oliveira took time out of the 470 for the birth of her daughter after the 2013 470 Worlds and is savouring the combination of sailing and motherhood, “I’ve been in the 470 for the last 16 years so it’s very good to be here again. It’s a new moment that was very special to me and I’m very happy. I’m enjoying it a lot.”

Balancing an Olympic campaign and parenthood is a tough ask but it’s been a straightforward transition for the Brazilian, “It’s the same as usual”, explained Oliveira. “We are with the same team and Ana helps me a lot. We’ve been going through our routine as normal. Our coaches are the same and they help me more, it’s been okay.”

The 47-boat Women’s 470 fleet also features 2013 ISAF Rolex World Sailors of the Year Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie (NZL), London 2012 silver medallists Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark (GBR) and World #3 Anne Haeger and Briana Provancha (USA).

Mat Belcher and Will Ryan (AUS) will be looking to get back into winning ways in the 78-boat Men’s 470 fleet after their win streak ended at ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami. Miami winners Sofian Bouvet and Jeremie Mion (FRA) enter Mallorca buoyed by halting the Australians winning form but with strength in depth present within the fleet the competition is wide open.

Racing in the 56-boat Women's RS:X fleet will be highly charged with 17 of the world's top 20 racers set to compete in Mallorca. World #1 Bryony Shaw (GBR) will undoubtedly be the favourite having taken eight podium spots from ten outings since January 2013 and comes into Mallorca off of victory at ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami.

Whilst Shaw comes in with good form, one to watch will be Israel's Maayan Davidovich. The Israeli was consistent throughout 2013 and picked up a bronze at ISAF Sailing World Cup Qingdao. After a winter break she's back in action, ready to pick up where she left off, "I've just finished my university course so I was a bit busy over the last few months. I had a three week training camp in Spain with my training partner Moana Delle (GER) and our coach.

"This year the season is really long and I am just at the beginning of it and looking forward to the upcoming month. I really look forward to racing in Palma as it's one of my favourite places and this year it's my first international race.”

As sailors begin to knuckle down and focus on the Santander 2014 ISAF Sailing World Championships Davidovich recognises the depth of the Women's RS:X fleet, "The fleet this year is very strong and it will be interesting to see and race against the other girls. I think that there are many girls in the fleet that could surprise everyone and race well. The level is really high and there is more than a few who can get on the podium.”

One of those eyeing on a podium spot will be Charline Picon (FRA). Picon raced at ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami, finishing sixth, but it wasn't all about the result for the French sailor, "I went to Miami for physical training, but not technical,” commented Picon. "It was a bit difficult but interesting to see what I need to work on this year. After Miami I had some great training in Rio and Buzios and then some physical training in the French Alps. I feel good for Palma.”

Men's RS:X World #1 Ricardo Santos (BRA) and World #2 Ivan Pastor (ESP) will meet for the first time since 2013 ISAF Sailing World Cup Hyeres in Mallorca. The pair have jostled for the World #1 spot throughout 2013 and the spot will up for grabs once again.

Santos and Pastor will be part of an 72-boat Men's RS:X fleet that includes 2014 ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami gold medallist Byron Kokkalanis (GRE), World #3 Ho Tsun Leung (HKG) and British Olympic silver medallist Nick Dempsey.

The Nacra 17 continues to throw out different winners at every regatta and with 73-boats entered the race for podium spots will be wide open. Top entrants include ISAF Sailing World Cup Melbourne victors Darren Bundock and Nina Curtis (AUS), Miami winners Vittorio Bissaro and Silvia Sicouri (ITA) as well as World #1 Ben Saxton and Hannah Diamond (GBR).

144 Lasers have registered to sail in Mallorca, making it the biggest fleet. The top ten sailors in the Laser ISAF World Sailing Rankings will be joined by a number of strong and well developed racers who will all be aiming for the podium places.

In the 2013 edition New Zealand's Andy Maloney came from behind on the final day to claim gold ahead of Tom Burton (AUS). Following a break after the 2013 Laser World Championship in Musannah, Oman the defending champion is looking forward to taking to the water in Mallorca. "I am always buzzing to get back over to Europe this time of the year, and get back into racing against all of the best,” commented Maloney.

"The thing that makes the Laser Class so appealing to me is the tight racing, this is what excites me about the class and I can't wait to get back into that competitive racing.”

Maloney has seen his competitors, World #1 Tonci Stipanovic (CRO) and World #2 Tom Burton (AUS), take top honours at ISAF Sailing World Qingdao, Melbourne and Miami but as a consistent performer throughout 2013 he comes in ready and poised to strike, "I am always confident that I can win any event going into it. I feel very prepared after three months training in NZ focussing on key areas to improve and am excited to line up against the other top guys again.

"There are definitely a few sailors who were very consistent last year and set the bar towards the end of the season. It was an interesting year for myself with a lot of different events going on, making it really busy and long. I'm feeling totally refreshed after the summer in New Zealand and feel I can start off 2014 as I did last year.”

The Kiwi racer will be joined by a whole host of newcomers and seasoned professionals which will make for high calibre racing come the first warning signal.

A fleet of 96 Laser Radials have signed up to race in Mallorca with all three Laser Radial gold medallists from the 2013-2014 Sailing World Cup registered. ISAF Sailing World Cup Qingdao victor Dongshuang Zhang (CHN), Melbourne gold medallist Tatiana Drozdovskaya (BLR) and Miami winner Paige Railey (USA) will all compete in Palma Bay.

They will be joined by 2013 Laser Radial World Champion Tina Mihelic (CRO) and London 2012 medallists Marit Bouwmeester (NED) and Evi Van Acker (BEL). Alison Young (GBR) returns to defend her title.

World #1 Finn sailor Oliver Tweddell and ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami Finn gold medallist Giles Scott (GBR) will go head to head again in the 92-boat Finn fleet in Mallorca. Scott trailed Tweddell ahead of the Miami Medal Race and managed to put enough boats in between him and the Australian to pick up gold. For Tweddell it was his second consecutive World Cup silver after he fell a point short of Bjorn Allansson (SWE) in Melbourne. Allansson will join the fleet in Mallorca as will Miami bronze medallist and 2013 World Champion Jorge Zarif (BRA) and London 2012 bronze medallist Jonathan Lobert (FRA).

ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami gold medallist Megan Pascoe (GBR) will be aiming to make it a second consecutive 2.4mR gold medal in Mallorca. Pascoe features in a 16-boat fleet but will have her work cut out with London 2012 gold medallist Helena Lucas (GBR) and 2013 Mallorca champion Bjornar Erikstad (NOR) in the fleet.

Racing across one Paralympic and ten Olympic events commences at 11:00 local time on 31 March 2014. Paralympic racing concludes on 4 April whilst Saturday 5 April will the medals decided across all the Olympic events in the Medal Races.

“In Mallorca, with these record numbers, the battles will intensify and renew”
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