The top World sailors have confirmed their participation in the Trofeo SAR Princesa Sofía Iberostar 50th anniversary. The Olympic classes Mallorca regatta, to be held from the 1st to 6th April in the bay of Palma, will gather together over 850 boats and 1200 sailors from 68 nations in the first major event of the European circuit. The ORC and one design event will have a participation of around 50 to 70 boats. With the official entry deadline in a few days, it is expected to be a landmark edition.
As usual, the Laser Standard and Radial classes have registered the highest entry. In fact, entries closed some weeks ago but the Organising Committee is considering the possibility of extending the entry quota so that all sailors can take part in the Sofía Iberostar.
Out of the 190 Laser Standard that will race in Mallorca, we can highlight the participation of Cyprus sailor Pavlos Kontides, 2017 and 2018 World champion and Olympic silver medallist at the London 2012 Olympics. In the Laser Radial, with 120 entries, the favourite are Dutch sailor Marit Bouwmeester, Olympic gold medallist the 2016 Rio Games and Belgian sailor Emma Plasschaert, the current class World champion.
A similar case is found in the 49er fleet. The Organisation has decided to accept up to 106 entries, a record number for the class. “We will probably have the largest 49er fleet ever seen at an International event”, assures Ferran Muniesa, the event manager. All eyes will be set on Sime and Mihovil Fantela. After winning the gold medal in 470 men in the 2016 Rio Games with Igor Marenic, Sime Fantela decided to move to the 49er and sail with his brother Mihovil. In only two seasons they have been able to dominate the boat and claimed the World title last summer.
In the 49er FX, Annemiek Bekkering and Annete Duetz from the Netherlands will defend their title as Sofía Iberostar champions. The Dutch team are also the current class World champions.
Ruggero Tita and Caterina Banti will try to keep their hegemony in the Nacra 17 class in Mallorca. The Italian team have shown a clear dominance over the rest of the fleet in the past two seasons. In 2018, the claimed victory at the Sofía Iberostar as well as at the European and World championships and it looks like this year they will keep at the top of the fleet on the foiling multihull.
In 470 men, a close battle is expected to be seen with French team Kevin Peponnet and Mion Peremie as rivals to be beaten as current class World champions. Teams such as Mat Belcher and Will Ryan from Australia – the current Sofia Iberostar absolute winners – or Spanish sailors Jordi Xammar and Nicolás Rodríguez, bronze medallists at the Aarhus 2018 World Sailing Championships, are also firm candidates to claim victory in the class.
The three teams on the podium at the last 470 women World championship will race at the Sofía Iberostar. Ai Kondo and Miho Yoshikoa from Japan, Silvia Mas and Patricia Cantero from Spain and British team Hannah Mills and Eilidh McIntyre will attract all attention in their battle for the title in Mallorca.
The Finn fleet will also have three medallists from the Olympic Classes World Championship held last summer in Aarhus. Hungarian sailor Zsombor Berecz claimed gold with only four point difference over Swedish competitor Max Salminen, who won silver only two points ahead of bronze medallist, Dutch sailor Pieter-Jan Postma. Furthermore, they will also be joined by Giles Scott from Great Britain, a sailor with a great knowledge of the bay of Palma and the current Sofia Iberostar champion.
The RS:X men and women fleets face the Mallorca regatta as a test event for the Class Europeans to be held in Club Nàutic S’Arenal from 8th to 13th April. The current women World champion, Dutch sailor Liliana De Geus, who was also the winner of the 2018 Sofía Iberostar, will be the main rival together with Japanese sailor Peina Chen and Spanish competitor Blanca Manchón.
In the RS:X men, the Spanish fleet, with sailors Ángel Granda and Sergi Escandell, is expected to be one of the strong nations in the Mallorca regatta.
The Sofía Iberostar, organised by Club Nàutic S’Arenal, Club Marítimo San Antonio de la Playa, Real Club Náutico de Palma and the Balearic and Spanish Sailing federations, is the first main event of the European Olympic season. Racing will start on 29th March for ORC and one design classes while racing for Olympic classes will kick off on 1st April in the bay of Palma. Racing is scheduled until Saturday 6th April, the final day in which the top sailors in each class will sail the medal races to decide the winners in each category as well as the 50 Trofeo S.A.R. Princesa Sofía Iberostar absolute winner.