MAT BELCHER/WILL RYAN WIN GOLD IN PALMA. MEDAL RACE WILL DECIDE THE WINNER FOR WOMEN'S 470 TITLE06 Apr 2018
Overall victories in five of the ten Olympic classes at the 49th Trofeo Princesa Sofia Iberostar have been decided before Saturday's double points medal race is sailed. The strength and depth of competition at the biggest ever edition of Mallorca's showcase regatta and the variety of testing, different breezes have conspired to deliver a high scoring regatta in most classes.
The Men's 470, 49er FX, Finn, Laser Radial and the Nacra 17 were all settled during the last day of Finals racing. The offshore and cross-offshore breeze may have reached 17 or 18kts at times but it was peppered by big shifts and changes in pressure which made it all too easy to make a 20-plus point bogey race score which terminated title hopes in several classes.
Mat Belcher and Will Ryan had a long day on the water, their second 470 Men's race seeming to take an age to be set off because the winds refused to cooperate and finally it was abandoned. But the Australians' tally of 29 pts leaves them 35pts clear ahead of Turkey's second placed Deniz and Atez Cinar. Belcher has been coming to the Trofeo Princesa Sofia for 16 years. This is the first major event he won, triumphing here with Malcolm Page in 2003.
"To win here again 15 years after winning our first big regatta is pretty special." Belcher acknowledged.
This is his fifth 470class win at the Princesa Sofia after 03, 2012, 2013 and last time in 2016. Key to their win, Belcher says, is being fresh and relaxed after their break from sailing. Although he has been coming to Mallorca for more than 15 years he reveals that for the first time he will now take two or three days to explore and relax in the north of the island before heading to Hyeres.
"It is a nice feeling to have it won already." Mat Belcher smiled, "We just wanted to see where we are at and so we felt we raced pretty consistently this week. We had good speed but the break has helped and we are really relaxed here. We had no expectation and no pressure. We just tried to enjoy the racing. We have so much experience in these boats and I have been here so much you know the conditions. That all helps a lot."
In Women's 470 fleet tomorrow's medal race will decide the winners. Japanese duo Ai KONDO YOSHIDA/Miho YOSHIOKA have 4 points lead with British Hannah MILLS/Eilidh MCINTYRE being at the second place and French Camille LECOINTRE/Aloise RETORNAZ at the third .
The Medal races start from 1100hrs local time Saturday.