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ISAF Sailing World Cup regattas in Mallorca Day 1
Light breeze on the opening day of racing at the fourth of five 2013-2014 ISAF Sailing World Cup regattas in Mallorca, Spain meant conservative racing for the 1,130 sailors from 55 nations.
Sailors in one Paralympic and ten Olympic events competing at ISAF Sailing World Cup Mallorca – Trofeo Princesa Sofia ensured that their mistakes were kept to a minimum with fleets split in eight Olympic events.
A light sea breeze came in around 11:00 local time and remained between 5-6 knots with gusts of 7 knots on the seven race courses being used in Palma Bay.
Racing in opening day of the qualification series commenced shortly after 12:00 with many international and national battles that have been evident throughout the 2013-2014 series continuing.
The Women's 470 fleet were the first off the water and it was Camille Lecointre and Hélène Defrance (FRA) who came ashore with the brightest start.
Lecointre and Defrance picked up a race win and a fifth from two races and having set the early pace Lecointre was content with her day, "The conditions were not easy. The wind was unpredictable so we just tried to go as fast as we could and guess the shifts so it was okay in the end.”
With 47-boats on the start line the racing has been tough, Lecointre added, "It has been a long time since we raced in a big fleet. It's not easy when you have a bad start and the level has increased once again.
"With the conditions set to change at the end of the week there's a long way to go.”
With the discard coming in after two races the French pair share the lead with Ukraine's Anna Kyselova and Anastasiya Krasko who took the second race win. However the Ukrainians finished down in 18th in the opening race.
World #1 Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze (BRA) showed their worth in the 49erFX fleet taking two seconds and a race win.
The Brazilians have been the most active 49erFX racers on the international circuit and continue to produce when it matters. After the opening day they have three points and share the lead with Ann Kristin Wedemeyer and Pia Sophie Wedemeyer (GER) and Sarah Steyaert and Julie Bossard (FRA).
"It's a great start to the first day of the World Cup,” said Grael ashore after racing. "We wanted to start the World Cup quite conservatively by not doing an OCS or by getting any letters on our score. That was the key point for the start.
"Tomorrow is also another day of qualification so we will try to have another low risk day.”
Having taken in ten regattas in just 16 months Grael has seen first-hand the progression of some of the girls and continues to push forward herself, "The class is now more than one year old and you can see a big difference between this year and last year. You can see all the teams have been training and working really hard.”
Marit Bouwmeester (NED) picked up two race wins and leads the Laser Radial fleet. Racing in the yellow fleet the Dutch sailor took two close victories over Chloe Martin (GBR) in Race 1 and Tina Mihelic (CRO) in Race 2. Bouwmeester finished second in the third race of the day to solidify her leading position. Martin got the better of Bouwmeester in the final race and sits second.
In the blue fleet, race victories went to ISAF Sailing World Cup Qingdao gold medallist Dongshuang Zhang (CHN), China's Min Gu and Sweden's Josefin Olsson. The Swedish sailor sits on three points tied with Martin and Zhang.
China's Peina Chen opened up her week with two race wins and an eighth in the 56-boat Women's RS:X fleet. Chen took gold at ISAF Sailing World Cup Qingdao and bronze at ISAF Sailing World Cup Melbourne and continues her good form in Mallorca.
Chen leads on two points followed by Charline Picon (FRA) on five. Blancaa Manchon (ESP) is third on seven points.
Natalia Kosinska (NZL) took the days other race win but with two results out of the top ten she is down in eighth.
London 2012 Olympic gold medallist Marina Alabau (ESP) makes a return to the Women's RS:X fleet having become a mother in September. She sits fifth.
Franck Cammas (FRA) showed why he is one of the finest sailors in the world at the moment by taking two bullets and a fifth to lead the Nacra 17 with crew Sophie de Turckheim.
The 73 registered Nacra 17's are split up into two and racing in the blue fleet Cammas and de Turckheim were dominant in the light breeze. Federica Salva and Francesco Bianchi (ITA) remained consistent alongside the French pair in the blue fleet and sit second, a point behind.
World #1 Ben Saxton and Hannah Diamond (GBR) are in third followed by 2013 Nacra 17 World Champions Billy Besson and Marie Riou (FRA).
Helena Lucas (GBR) opened her regatta up with double bullets in the 16-boat 24mR flee. Compatriot and ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami gold medallist Megan Pascoe trailed Lucas in both of the opening day's races to pick up two seconds.