AUSTRALIA'S 470 WINNERS BELCHER AND RYAN AWARDED PRINCESS SOFIA TROPHY07 Apr 2018
Australia's world champions Mat Belcher and Will Ryan, outstanding winners of a strong, competitive 470 class, were awarded the Princesa Sofia Trophy, the top overall award at the biggest ever edition, as the 49th Trofeo Princesa Sofia Iberostar concluded in light, hesitant breezes in Mallorca today. The regatta attracted 870 boats from 62 different and more than 1200 sailors.
The 2016 Olympic silver medallists won the tricky medal race today to cap an impressively consistent performance, counting all their results inside the top 10 in a high scoring regatta, to win by 39pts ahead of Turkey's Deniz and Ates Cidar. Japan's winners of the class last year at this Balearic showcase regatta Tetsuya Isozaki and Akira Takayanagi finished third.
For eight times world chammpin Belcher, winning the top overall award at a personal favourite regatta, one he has been coming to since the first time as a 19 year old in 2001,is a particular pleasure. He wins the class for the fourth time, Belcher acknowledged: " It is really special to win the overall, this a special event to me having first come here in 2001 and so it is a great credit to the place, here, and the organisers to have so many boats here. It is fantastic. We focus on what we need to do but it really is special to win the overall trophy and it sets high expectations for the season ahead. We love this event."
While Belcher and Ryan topped the Men's 470 fleer Japan proved once again to be in good shape for the approaching home Olympics taking bronze in the Men's fleet and winning the Women's 470 in the shape of Ai Konda Yoshida and Miho Yoshioka. Britain's Hannah Mills, gold medallist now sailing with Eilidh McIntyre took second.
"The conditions were difficult but we are quite fast. We have improved every day. We are looking to Aarhus and the world championship." said Yoshida who was fifth in the class in Rio.
Great Britain's sailing team collected the biggest haul of medals with five, gold for Scott in the Finn and silvers in the 470 Women, 49er, Laser Radial and Nacra 17. The Netherlands won golds in the FX and RS:X and silver for Nick Heiner in the Finn, New Zealand lifted silvers in the FX and Laser and bronze in the Finn for Andy Maloney. Austrlia won two golds, in the 470 Men and the Laser.