Olympic Medallists Lead The Line Up For ISAF Sailing World Cup's Spanish Stop

The 41st Trofeo SAR Princesa Sofía MAPFRE will welcome 680 boats and 1,000 sailors from 40 nations to the Bay of Palma for event three of the 2009-10 ISAF Sailing World Cup season.

In this second year of the ISAF Sailing World Cup, the Sofía MAPFRE again opens the sailing season in Europe, following on from events in Melbourne and Miami as the third of seven stops in the 2009-10 ISAF Sailing World Cup season. An impressive entry list is highlighted by around 20 Olympic medallists, but also features numerous world and continental champions. Races start on Sunday.

This edition will be the first time Palma has hosted the Women’s Match Racing event on board the Elliot 6m. This new discipline joins the other Olympic events, all of them present this year in Palma: 470 men and women, RS:X men and women, Laser, Laser Radial, Star, Finn and 49er. The fleet of 2.4mR Paralympics class is also back after their first participation last year as well as the Dragons, as invited class

The ISAF Sailing World Cup arrives in Europe with the 41st Trofeo SAR Princesa Sofía MAPFRE following the SWC events in Melbourne, December and Miami, in January and opening the European sailing season.

In this edition, the RS:X move from CMSAP to Club Nàutic S’Arenal, which will be the venue of six Olympic classes with an impressive 15,000sqm area on the beach next to the Club.

The event’s general manager, Jaume Carbonell, highlights the increase in the number of entries, “The countdown to the London 2012 Olympics starts now for many nations and the Princesa Sofia MAPFRE is a selection event for many national Olympic teams so we are guaranteed a great sailing competition”.

Some of the top world sailors will participate in the 41st Trofeo SAR Princesa Sofia MAPFRE. Among them, around 20 Olympic medallists!

The entry list feature many top names and nationalities, as the Princesa Sofia MAPFRE is a selection event for a lot of national Olympic teams. In the Men’s 470 event, Britain’s Nick Rogers, silver medallist in Athens and Qingdao, and crew Pom Green, will battle with Olympic bronze medal winner Nicolas Charbonnier and his crew Baptiste Meyer from France. Croatian sailors Sime Fantela and Igor Marenic, are the current leaders of the ISAF Rankings will also be present as well as Onan Barreiros and Aaron Sarmiento (ESP), members of the pre-Olympic team of the Real Federación Española de Vela.

The Qingdao medallists will all be at the starting line in Women’s 470: Dutch sailor Lobke Berkhout, Olympic silver medallist, now sailing with Lisa Westerhof, with whom she’s already won the World Championship and Brazilian sailor Fernanda Oliveira, bronze medallist, sailing now with Ana Luiza Barbachan. Spanish young team Tara Pacheco and Berta Betanzos, the current World and European silver medallists will also join the battle in the women’s fleet.

In 49er, last year’s winners Italian brothers Pietro Sibello and Gianfranco Sibello, will be joined by, among others, Miami winners Emmanuel Dyen and Stéphane Christidis (FRA) and by Austrian sailors Nico Delle - Karth and Nikolaus Resch.

US Finn sailor Zach Railey, Olympic silver medallist, will be joined in the Finn class by European Champion Ivan Kljakovic gaspic from Croatia and reigning World Cup Champion Ed Wright from Great Britain. Spanish sailor Rafa Trujillo, silver medallist in Athens 2004 and 2007 World Champion has also confirmed his participation in the regatta.

In the Laser class, British sailor Nick Thompson, reigning World Cup Champion, as well as Spanish competitor Javier Hernandez (ESP), will be amongst the pre-regatta favourites.

Laser Radial World Champion Sari Multala from Finland is one of the favourite competitors to win the 41st Trofeo SAR Princesa Sofia MAPFRE. Evi Van acker from Belgium and Dutch sailor Marit Bouwmeester, second and third respectively on the ISAF World Rankings, will also fight for victory.

A tough battle is expected in Men’s RS:X. Tom Ashley (NZL), gold medallist in Qingdao will face bronze medallist Shahar Zubari (ISR), as well as Brazilian sailor Ricardo Santos and Spanish competitor Ivan Pastor, #2 and #3 respectively on the ISAF World Rankings.

There is also major interest also in the Women’s RS:X fleet in which the two world-class sailors from Spain, Marina Alabau (ESP) and Blanca Manchon (ESP), respectively the reigning World Champion and World Cup winner, will try to beat Italian sailor Alessandra Sensini, silver medallist in Qingdao and British sailor Bryony Shaw, Olympic bronze medallist. Manchón won last year’s absolute trophy, awarded to the top performer across all the Olympic events, so all the eyes are on this young sailor.

This edition of the Trofeo SAR Princesa Sofia Mapfre will see the debut of the Women’s Match racing, on board the Elliott 6m. In fact, some of the top world sailors are now sailing in this class such as Dutch sailor Mandy Mulder, silver medallist in Qingdao and bronze medallist Sofia Bekatorou from Greece. World Ranking leaders Claire Leroy, Elodie Bertrand and Marie Riou (FRA) will also put up a strong fight for victory.

The 41st Trofeo SAR Princesa Sofia MAPFRE will be held in Mallorca from 27 March-2 April, organized by four clubs of the bay of Palma (Club Nàutic S’Arenal, Real Club Náutico de Palma, Club Marítimo San Antonio de la Playa and Escuela Nacional de Vela Calanova), as well as the Real Federación Española de Vela and the Federación Balear de Vela, together with the Govern de les Illes Balears, the Consell de Mallorca and Palma and Llucmajor city councils. The collaborators of the Trofeo SAR Princesa Sofia Mapfre are the Consejo Superior de Deportes, the Federación Española de Deportes de Personas con Discapacidad Física, the Ports Authority, Ports de les Illes Balears, the coastal department of the Ministry of Environment and companies Ultramar Express and Acciona.