PALMA DE MALLORCA, ESP (#1205) – Chris Barnard (USA, Newport Beach, CA), won his first major regatta title in the Laser Class and two other Americans had podium finishes Saturday at the Trofeo Princesa Sofia Iberostar, the important annual Olympic classes regatta that concluded today in Palma. Erika Reineke (USA, Fort Lauderdale, FL) finished third in the Laser Radial, and Pedro Pascual Suitt (USA, West Palm Beach, FL) was third in the RS:X men’s windsurfer.
Barnard made a pass on the final leg of the medal race to finish two points better than Elliot Hanson (GBR), who won the medal race. Two-time world champion Nick Thompson (GBR) finished third overall.
However, Barnard misses out on U.S. selection to the Olympic test event at Enoshima later this year. That spot goes to Charlie Buckingham (USA, Newport Beach), who finished fifth overall and has better aggregated scores over the Miami and Palma Olympic classes regattas. Barnard was still pleased with his effort.
“I'm extremely happy, relieved and emotionally exhausted.” Barnard said. “This is by far the biggest regatta I've won. I've been happy with the way I've sailed all week and today I showed a really good fight. That's probably what I'm most proud of. All week I sailed really consistently to put myself in a strong position going into another race and it definitely didn't start according to plan. Big breeze like today has never been my strongest condition but it's been a work in progress.
“Charlie will go to the test event. For myself, I'm disappointed with Miami. I didn't finish very well. I did everything I needed to do here to have a good result, but Charlie earned that spot, He sailed two really consistent events. So I will work hard to keep on improving and focus on our Olympic Trials.”
Olympic champions won in just two of the 10 classes at the "Sofia," as the regatta is affectionally known in the Spanish, and hence Olympic, sailing communities.
Britain’s gold medal winning helm Hannah Mills and Eilidh McIntyre won Saturday's blustery medal race to secure the 470 women’s title. Brazil’s Olympic champions Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze prevailed in the FX, which didn't have a medal race due to breeze in the mid-20s (knots).
With 15 months to go before the Tokyo 2020 Olympic regatta, the first major Olympic-classes regatta this season in Europe drew a record 869 boats sailed by 1,224 sailors from 67 nations. Great Britain won eight medals, more than twice the three medals tally of the next most successful countries, New Zealand and the United States.
Medal races for the Nacra 17, FX and 49ers were called off due to strong winds and big seas. Although the forecast was for the 20 to 25 knot breeze to ease in the afternoon, it strengthened; nonetheless the Finn, Lasers, 470s and RS:X classes completed spectacular, muscular medal races.
Denmark’s Olympic bronze medalist Anne-Marie Rindom retained the Laser Radial title she won here last year.
New Zealand’s Finn sailor Andy Maloney had to finish within two places of Olympic champion Giles Scott (GBR) if he was to lift the Sofia Iberostar. As Scott sailed to win the medal race, Maloney took third, securing gold with his New Zealand teammate Josh Junior in third.
With no racing for the Nacra 17 or the FX, the titles went to Australia’s Jason Waterhouse and Lisa Darmanin, and Grael and Kunze. 470 winners Anton Dahlberg and Frederik Bergstrom (SWE), and Dylan Fletcher and Stu Bithell (GBR) had already secure their overall wins Friday.
Peter Burling and Blair Tuke (NZL), the Olympic gold (2016) and silver (2012) medal winners and America’s Cup champions (2017, with Emirates Team New Zealand), finished seventh in the 49er as they revived their Olympic campaign. They were sailing in their first international 49er regatta since winning the gold at Rio in 2016. They had a slow start before making it into the medal race.
Chris Barnard (USA, Newport Beach, California), at the prize giving Saturday evening in Mallorca after winning the Laser Class at the Trofeo Princesa Sofia Iberostar.