Seven of Britain’s Rio-bound sailors, including Paralympic Champion Helena Lucas and world number one Giles Scott, will be in action next week as the Princess Sofia Trophy kicks off in Palma, Majorca (28 March-2 April).
The six-day regatta is the first stage of four in the 2016 EUROSAF Champions Sailing Cup series, and is also the final opportunity to qualify for Olympic country berths for the remaining European and African nations who haven’t already earned their Rio quota places.
With Great Britain qualifying in all ten Olympic sailing events at the first opportunity in 2014 and having named its Games representatives in the majority of cases, the Palma regatta is an chance for those Rio-bound sailors to fine tune themselves and their equipment four months out from the start of the Games.
The British Sailing Team’s three-time World Champion and defending titleholder Giles Scott is set to compete in his first Finn regatta of the year, having skipped January’s Miami World Cup and the European Championships two weeks ago. He’ll be joined in the 77-strong men’s heavyweight fleet by Ben Cornish, who finished fourth at the Europeans, as well as Podium Potential squad sailors Pete McCoy and Hector Simpson.
London 2012 Paralympic gold medallist Helena Lucas will aim to defend her Princess Sofia crown in the 2.4mR class, with Will Street also contesting the one-person Paralympic event.
Charlotte Dobson and Sophie Ainsworth, who earned their first Olympic Games call-ups earlier this month, will be the sole British representatives in the 49erFX event, while fellow Games debutantes Ben Saxton and Nicola Groves will be in action in the Nacra 17 multihull event, alongside Podium Potential crews Tom Phipps-Nikki Boniface and Rupert White-Kirstie Urwin.
Alison Young will be using the Princess Sofia event as a final warm-up ahead of the Laser Radial World Championships in Mexico in April, while rising British talents Jack Wetherell, Henry Wetherell and Michael Beckett will be looking to make their mark in the men’s single-handed Laser event.
World Championship bronze medallists Dylan Fletcher and Alain Sign are among four British Sailing Team crews set to race in the 49er event, while Luke Patience and Chris Grube will be looking to further their new partnership in the men’s 470 event, with Podium Potential talents Martin Wrigley-James Taylor and Owen Bowerman-Morgan Peach also in the 82-boat line-up.
Sophie Weguelin makes a return to 470 Women’s sailing after a six-month stint campaigning in the 49erFX, and will be joined by Flora Stewart for the Palma regatta, with Amy Seabright-Anna Carpenter, Jess Lavery-Eilidh McIntyre and Sarah Norbury-Katie Dabson also in action for the British Sailing Team next week.
With Britain’s Rio windsurfing representatives Nick Dempsey and Bryony Shaw opting to skip the Palma event, Kieran Martin and Tom Squires will fly the British flag in the men’s RS:X event, with Izzy Hamilton, Emma Wilson and the Sills twins Imogen and Saskia set to race in the women’s RS:X event.
Racing at the Princess Sofia Trophy gets underway in the Olympic classes on Monday 28 March, and in the 2.4mR Paralympic class on Wednesday 30 March. The final medal races are scheduled for Saturday 2 April.
Further information and regatta results will be available at http://www.trofeoprincesasofia.org
British Sailing Team line-up for the 2016 Princess Sofia Trophy:
Giles Scott; Ben Cornish; Peter McCoy; Hector Simpson
Jack Wetherell; Henry Wetherell; Michael Beckett
Alison Young; Georgina Povall
Kieran Martin; Tom Squires
Izzy Hamilton; Emma Wilson; Imogen Sills; Saskia Sills
Luke Patience-Chris Grube
Martin Wrigley-James Taylor
Owen Bowerman-Morgan Peach
Amy Seabright-Anna Carpenter
Sophie Weguelin-Flora Stewart
Jess Lavery-Eilidh McIntyre
Sarah Norbury-Katie Dabson
Dylan Fletcher-Alain Sign
James Peters-Fynn Sterritt
Chris Taylor-Sam Batten
Jack Hawkins-Chris Thomas
Charlotte Dobson-Sophie Ainsworth
Ben Saxton-Nicola Groves
Tom Phipps-Nikki Boniface
Rupert White-Kirstie Urwin
Helena Lucas; Will Street