Alison Young

Perfect Palma conditions as Brits chase podium spots

Written by RYA | 02 April 2015

Brits hold pole position in four classes with two days left to go in Palma

British sailors are fighting it out at the front of the fleets with two days of the Princess Sofia Trophy still to run in Palma, Majorca (30 March-4 April).  

Defending Finn champion Giles Scott, the 470 pairing of Luke Patience-Elliot Willis, Laser Radial sailor Alison Young and Megan Pascoe in the Paralympic 2.4mR class all top their respective leaderboards after day four of the regatta (day two for the 2.4mR), with two more boats poised in podium positions in the Nacra 17 and 470 Women’s events.  

It’s not unusual for the in-form Finn star Scott to claim regatta wins with a day to spare – including his most recent gold at January’s ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami.  But the 27-year-old has not had an easy time of things this week, suffering serious boat damage following a collision on Tuesday’s second day of racing.

The British Sailing Team’s World and European Champion was awarded redress points for the incident, but was left having to use a boat borrowed from teammate Pete McCoy in order to continue in the event, with McCoy having withdrawn from the regatta through injury.

“It’s been a difficult week – early on the conditions were particularly difficult and I think the scoreboard shows that with a lot of people being very up and down with the results,” Scott explained.

“A lot of guys have had a bit of bad luck and I suppose I’m included in that.  I managed to damage my boat quite badly, which now needs to go back to Poland.”

“The boats are all the same to the rule, but there are a lot of differences between them,” said Scott on the challenges of racing with someone else’s equipment.

“The easiest way of comparing it is to a car – cars all do the same thing, but they feel different, and that’s what it’s like stepping into a different boat.  It’s not quite the same.  It’s taken a little bit of getting used to, but I’m almost there with it and it’s going reasonably well.”

With a win and a fourth from Wednesday’s two races, Scott has a narrow 1.2 point lead over New Zealand’s Josh Junior, who is pushing him hard.

“I’ve managed to cling on to Josh somehow over the last few days, which is pretty good, and finishing today off well is quite nice because my average points [redress] ended today so I now know exactly what I’m going into tomorrow with.

“I’ll get out tomorrow, try to race well and see what Saturday brings.  It’s quite nice to still be in contention of the lead and I’ll just go out tomorrow and try and attack it.”

Megan Pascoe revelled in Wednesday’s conditions to pick up two race wins and take the lead in the 2.4mR Paralympic class.  Helena Lucas is poised in third, with Podium Potential sailor Will Street currently fourth after four races.

“It was a good day out – I seem to be going well on speed, so that’s always nice to know,” Pascoe enthused.  

“Yesterday was a bit tough in the shifts, but today it was much more drag racing, and big-ish breeze, Palma is always wavy so that makes it even bigger breeze.  Palma’s got quite a lot on the Southern Ocean when you’re sailing a 2.4mR!”

Pascoe’s perfect scoreline for the day was matched by Sophie Weguelin and Eilidh McIntyre in the 470 Women’s event, with the pair moving up to second overall as a result.

“It was a really good day on the water.  Eilidh and I were pretty quick today, and that made our racing quite a lot easier,” Lymington’s Weguelin explained.  “It was fun conditions out there with some nice waves and a good breeze.  

“It’s a great event here,” Weguelin continued.  “We’ve been here training through February.  It’s the perfect venue for it, and then to race here is great.  We missed the event last year, so it’s nice to be back racing on the Bay.

“We’re mostly checking in with the fleet.  We’ve worked on some specific stuff through February in terms of our technique and how we’re sailing the boat together, and today proved that it’s paying off, so we’re quite happy going forwards.”

The points are close in the 470 Women’s fleet, with Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark just four points behind their teammates in fifth overall, while in the men’s 470 fleet Luke Patience and Elliot Willis remain in pole position, with 9,3 on the race course today.

Alison Young also retains her overall first place in the Laser Radial event, leading Belgium’s Evi Van Acker by one point. 

“Palma is a great opportunity to test my progress, but also the fleet since last year,” said Young of the European season-opening regatta.

“All the top girls are here. There is strong competition. It has been good racing and I have been consistent this week in all conditions, so we will see what the rest of the week brings.”

Elsewhere across the fleets, new Nacra 17 pairing John Gimson and Hannah Diamond, competing in just their second major competition together, are honing in on a qualification spot for the ISAF Sailing World Cup Hyeres, and are placed second overall.  

Charlotte Dobson and Sophie Ainsworth are poised in fourth in the 49erFX event, with Dave Evans and Ed Powys the top British boat in the 49er, currently in fifth.  

Izzy Hamilton and Tom Squires are eighth and ninth in their respective RS:X Women’s and Men’s windsurfing fleets, while Podium Potential sailor Alex Mills Barton is 18th overall in the Laser event.

Racing continues at the Princess Sofia Trophy on Friday 3 April, with the medal deciders on Saturday 4 April.

Full event results can be found at 

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