With Trofeo Princesa Sofia, also known as Sailing World Cup Mallorca or “Palma”, being in the middle of the school year, we weren’t sure whether we were going to go or not. Long story short, we are glad we did! The regatta was exactly the kick start to our campaign that we needed, after my injury at Worlds last September and a disappointing lack of races and wind at Sailing World Cup Miami.
The Palma regatta conveniently fell the week after our spring break, which meant that we could spend our spring break time traveling to Palma and getting over jetlag, setting up our new boat, and getting a feel for the venue’s conditions. Our practice days before the event were extremely windy, two were so windy that we didn’t sail. But the others were perfect for pushing our limits and getting used to the big waves.
Race day 1: A solid start. We scored 6-11-4 in the light sea breeze, putting us in 13th overall (out of 51). We had great starts, speed, and light air tactics.
Palma Day 2: secured our spot in Gold fleet! After two races, scoring 10th (by passing 10 boats on the last run!) and 13th (despite going backwards at the start due to another boat hitting us), we were in 17th overall.
Palma Day 3: The breeze kicked in! Whoo! Our starts were not our strong suit today but at least our boatspeed was on. Gold fleet and shifty wind made for challenging racing. We finished 11th and 18th in our races, keeping us tied for 17th overall.
Palma Day 4: Full-on conditions! So fast & so fun!!! We had three more races in the Gold fleet finals series. We were 15th, 16th, and then unable to complete the third race due to an equipment breakage (the line that pulls the spinnaker pole out snapped due to high load when the kite was sucked under the boat during a hoist). Because of that we dropped one place to 19th.
Palma Day 5: We had our best race in Gold fleet, scoring a 10th in the first race of the day! But in the next two races we were on the wrong side of a couple of shifts and were deep. Still, we were happy to be duking it out with the best.
Thank you to Sperry Top-Sider, title sponsor of the US Sailing Team. It was a cold week here in Palma, but the Sperry jackets sure are warm! Thank you to our coach Luther Carpenter for helping us adjust to the challenging conditions all week. Thanks to Simon Hiscocks for the hands on help in fixing our boat (a manufacturing error) to get us through the regatta. We also loved sharing an apartment with our Aussie friends Tess & Caitlyn (FX), Ryan (Laser) and Oli (Finn). It’s fun to hear how racing in the other fleets goes!