The Princess Sofia World Cup event in Palma saw a host of new faces and new classes, but it was two familiar names, 2012 Laser Radial sailor Alison Young and Ben Ainslie's arch-rival in the Finn class, Giles Scott, that topped the podium, but the medal-haul didn't stop there...
The scratch pairing of Sophie Weguelin and Eilidh McIntyre claimed silver in the 470 women’s event, while Dave Evans and Ed Powys recorded their first World Cup podium finish, with a bronze in the 49er event. 2.4mR Paralympic sailor Megan Pascoe took silver.
Bryony Shaw added World Cup silver in the RS:X women’s event to her World Championship silver last month. Luke Patience and Joe Glanfield captured bronze at their first event since teaming up in the 470 class in their bid to turn separate Olympic silvers into gold in Rio.
Under the new scoring format being trialled at this regatta, there were two double-points medal races for the majority of the Olympic classes.
British sailors also experienced their first taste of competitive action this week in the two new Olympic classes for Rio, with a promising start in both events. In the women’s 49erFX, Charlotte Dobson and Sophie Ainsworth finished fifth overall, while Lucy Macgregor and Tom Phipps were also fifth in the Nacra 17 mutlihull event with a third and a second from their medal races. Pippa Wilson and John Gimson were eighth overall.
“It’s been a good start to our competition season,” said RYA Olympic Manager Stephen Park. “As well as some fantastic performances by proven performers such as Ali Young and Giles Scott, there have been two really good things to have come out of this regatta. The first is the potential of so many of our new, young teams such as Sophie Weguelin and Eilidh McIntyre and our teams in the new 49erFX and Nacra classes.
“The second is that the team has had a cracking week together, has had good fun, and everyone is really looking forward to the next event and excited about racing again in Hyeres in two weeks' time.”
While Park is feeling positive about the performance of his charges, he remains unconvinced about the racing format which has been trialled in Palma this week.
“The scoring format has been challenging for sailors, race teams and event organisers alike. It’s not necessarily been clear what the desired outcome was, or has been, other than increasing the element of luck in the process. There’s a whole heap of sailing before you even get to the medal stage that doesn’t seem to count for much.
“On the positive side though, we do know that these are trials, and that ISAF is open to feedback which they will take forward to discuss with its various stakeholders to test at future World Cup events before deciding on what is best for the future of the sport.” For more comment on the new formats used at Palma see Sailing at the Rio Olympics: New Race Formats Confusing? For more information on the team and full results see British Sailing Team.