Giles Scott confirmed the gold medal in Palma as the 49 Trofeo S.A.R. Princesa Sofía Iberostar drew to a close Saturday with a fickle, light wind medal race, which left the top three unchanged.
The Netherlands’ Nicholas Heiner took the silver, while Andy Maloney, from New Zealand, took bronze, in only his second international event. Norway’s Anders Pedersen won the medal race from Spain’s Alejandro Muscat and Brazil’s Jorge Zarif.
With Giles Scott only needing to take part in the race, a fifth place gave him gold by a 27-point margin. He has proven again that he is the one to beat as the first Olympic qualifier looms later this year, and even though he didn’t win a race all week, he was consistent enough in the extremely flummoxing conditions to win the regatta with a race to spare.
On the medal race, “The racing was pretty average, with a horrible, shifty northerly, so a bit of an odd medal race. We’ve had a great week’s sailing, so it’s just a shame that today couldn’t deliver as much as the previous days did, but it’s been a good week and I am happy how I have sailed.”
Two weeks ago, Nicholas Heiner lost the Europeans gold on the medal race Today he did enough to hang onto silver, staying close to Andy Maloney throughout for his second medal of the year.
“Crazy stuff happening all over the course with the wind. But it was good fun battling it out with Andy.”
Andy Maloney, could only be beaten to a medal if two others sailors won the race, and with Facundo Olezza starting early, that threat was gone at the start, even though he didn’t know it.
“I didn’t hear an individual so I didn’t know until after the race. But it was good that I did what I needed to do.”
“It was a pretty shifty light race. I had a pretty good start and the first half of the beat I was controlling Heiner, and looking to be in the top few round the top, but I missed the final left pressure at the top and rounded towards the back. Down the first run it was just really soft and I managed to hang out for sixth which was plenty enough for bronze.”
Spain’s Alejandro Muscat had a great medal race to place second and move from seventh up to fourth.
“It was a really a good week, especially because in Cadiz at the Europeans I was really sick. I had a lot of problems, breaking a mast, and a hiking strap, and I was very sad after that. Then I came here, which is a place I really like, and with good support from Gorgio, I had a great start, and from there I was able to keep all the time in the top ten.”
“The medal race was really good for me, to jump to fourth and I am really happy with that.”
“This winter I have been working really hard, especially because there was a small change of plan in the federation and we had a tough winter in Barcelona. This is a good result to support the work we have been doing, and gives me the energy to keep working towards Aarhus.”
Brazil’s Jorge Zarif crossed the race in third to take fifth overall. He has had a pretty consistent week only once outside the top 20.
Anders Pedersen had an up and down week, but the bullet in the medal race was his third race win of the week, so he was pretty happy how he was going in light wnds. However he had other priorities on his mind today.
“Even though I wasn’t in a good position going into the medal race it was one of the medal races I felt the most pressured about in my whole career because in Norway we are very aware that we need to beat Sweden and Max was only three points behind me, so the job today was just to keep Max behind and I managed to do that. So now I can walk safely in the streets when I go back home to Norway.”
Jonathan Lobert had an outside chance of a medal, but after a good start and an early tack out to the left he rounded mid fleet before dropping to seventh.
“The medal race was a little like most of the week, light and super shifty. And you almost cannot predict anything. On the second upwind the wind died and came fully right again. You don’t really decide anything, you are just there and you catch it. Sailing can be frustrating sometimes.”
One of the stand-out performances this week was from Nils Theuninck. Still an U23 sailor, he was leading after two days and has been in the top ten all week.
“The medal race was quick tricky with the conditions shifting a lot. I think I didn’t make the best of it. I think it was more about keeping your eyes out of the boat and finding the best shifts.”
“I am really happy about the week but still quite disappointed to end up on a bad note. But I was leading after Day 2, so that’s really positive. I was the youngest out there by far today, so have plenty of years ahead to improve, so that’s what I am going to do.”
Facundo Olezza started early so picked up maximum points and dropped from sixth to ninth. But he has had a pretty good week including a race win.
World Champion Max Salminen holds up the top 10. He got off to a good start in the medal race but the fickle Palma wind had it in for him and he droped to eighth, so remained in tenth overall.
So Palma ends for another year, with some sailors staying for training, some now moving on to training elsewhere and some are heading to Hyeres for the next event in two weeks time. There is no let up, yet, on the road to Aarhus and the goal of Tokyo 2020.
Results after medal race: (Medal race in brackets)
1 GBR 41 Giles Scott 57 (5)
2 NED 89 Nicholas Heiner 84 (4)
3 NZL 61 Andy Maloney 95 (6)
4 ESP 7 Alejandro Muscat 110 (2)
5 BRA 109 Jorge Zarif 113 (3)
6 NOR 1 Anders Pedersen 115 (1)
7 FRA 112 Jonathan Lobert 115 (7)
8 SUI 1 Nils Theuninck 119 (9)
9 ARG 48 Facundo Olezza 126 (ocs)
10 SWE 33 Max Salminen 132(8)
Full results at trofeoprincesasofia.org
by Robert Deaves