After three months out of the boat it was business as usual for Ben Ainslie (GBR) on the second day at the Trofeo SAR Princesa Sofia MAPFRE regatta. A first and a second place in Tuesday’s two races puts him on top of the 57 boat Finn fleet. Daniel Birgmark (SWE) remains in second while Jonas Høgh Christensen (DEN) drops to third.
It was another light wind day in Palma on the second day at the Trofeo SAR Princesa Sofia MAPFRE regatta with the southerly wind maxing out at 10 knots, and again it was very shifty across the course area. But there were some different faces at the front of the fleet with two new race winners.
In the first race of the day, the Olympic champion Ben Ainslie (GBR) took the win from Jonathan Lobert (FRA) right on the finish line, with the 2008 Olympic silver medalist Zach Railey (USA) crossing in third. Piotr Kula (POL) continued an excellent series with another fourth place and sits in fifth overnight.
Ainslie said, “The day was good but the conditions were tricky, not the typical Palma conditions. Lots of differences of pressure.”
In the second race French Olympic choice Lobert didn’t fare so well, crossing the line in second again but picking up an OCS to add to his black flag from Monday. The race was won by Dan Slater (NZL) with Ainslie benefiting from Lobert’s premature start to move up to second. In third place was the runner up at the recent Europeans, Vasiliy Zbogar (SLO).
Slater said, "It was 6-9 knots today and a very shifty and patchy breeze. I felt lucky to get clear today it would have been easy to score two races in the mid 20s. In the second race I had an average start and was rolled by Ben and forced to tack then the gaps started to appear and I was able to sail my own race. I led at every mark and the lead got quite close for a while at the top of the second beat when the breeze went a bit funky but I extended down the final run to win by about 15 seconds."
On his preparation he said, "My training over last week has been a bit of a lemon with a few things not working out so I am happy to be on the start line and being able to race." And on the all important Olympic selection, "YNZ can select whenever they like. I have met the selection criteria so it's really up to them. But they have been supportive in helping me with some funding and some coaching till the Gold Cup."
Railey posted a seventh in race four and moves up to fourth overall. “It was a solid but very difficult day. The conditions were very tricky again today with lots of shifts and pressure differences. In the second race I was stuck trying to get from the left and the right just kept coming with pressure. I made the choice to cut my losses early and that allowed me to stay in the race and catch up to a seventh which I was very happy about. Good decisions and speed saved what could have been a 20th.”
The opening series continues until Friday with the medal race for the top 10 on Saturday. The racing can be followed live through the event website at www.trofeoprincesasofia.org and on the Twitter feed @sofiamapfre_en
2 SWE 11 Daniel Birgmark 17
3 DEN 2 Jonas Høgh-Christensen 23
4 USA 4 Zach Railey 28
5 POL 17 Piotr Kula 37
6 GBR 85 Andrew Mills 40
7 CAN 41 Christopher Cook 40
8 SLO 573 Vasilij Zzbogar 42
9 ESP 669 Pablo Guitian Sarria 54
10 FIN 218 Tapio Nirkko 57
Photos: Thom Touw