The first major Olympic International event since Tokyo 2020 kicks off this week in Palma, Mallorca. The 51st Trofeo Princess Sofia Mallorca is the start of the Hempel World Cup Series 2022. With the Paris 2024 Games less than two and a half years away, there is a sense of urgency and enthusiasm among competitors to be sailing in world-class competition once again. Following a two-year hiatus caused by the global pandemic, there is a renewed sense of optimism in the spring air of Palma, as many sailors get to see, and race against, each other once again.
iQFOiL - WINDSURFING ON FOILS
iQFOiL is a foiling windsurfing class selected by World Sailing to replace the traditional planing board used for the past four Olympic cycles, the RS:X. For many of the RS:X sailors from the Tokyo cycle, the switch to the iQFOiL couldn’t come soon enough. Now they have a piece of equipment capable of generating 30 knots of speed. Not only that, but many of the Tokyo athletes have gone from limiting their food intake to keep the weight down, to piling on the pounds as much as possible to cope with the power in the iQFOiL rig. The men use a 9.0 m2 sail, and the women an 8.0 m2 sail.
There’s a huge local entry of 26 Spanish competitors, with Angel Granda Roque among the best of the home-grown talent. A big squad from the Netherlands too with inter alia: Huig Jan Tak - silver at the last iQFOiL Europeans, Amado Vrieswijk - World Champion Freestyle, Luuc van Opzeeland - bronze at the last iQFOiL Worlds, and not least the RS:X Olympic Champion from Tokyo 2020: Kiran Badloe.
Badloe has bulked up by more than 15kg since the Tokyo Games. Other high-performers from the RS:X era now competing on the foiling board include Mattia Camboni (ITA), Louis Giard (FRA), and Tom Squires (GBR). Other big names to watch for are Matthew Barton (GBR) - silver at the last iQFOiL Worlds and Sebastian Koerdel (GER). In addition, it's good to see that the Kiwis and Aussies also came over to Europe for this season-opening.
As with the men, there’s been a switch from the RS:X board to the iQFOiL in the women’s windsurfing division. Bronze medallist from Tokyo, Emma Wilson heads up the British squad, while Pilar Lamadrid is one to watch in the Spanish squad, currently ranked 2nd in the World Ranking. Triple World Champion Lilian de Geus (NED) also continues for another Olympic cycle and will make her appearance. Brazil’s Giovanna Prada follows in the Olympic footsteps of her father Bruno who took silver and bronze in the Star keelboat at the Beijing and London Games alongside helmsman Robert Scheidt.
The Hempel World Cup Series at the 51 Trofeo Princesa Sofía Mallorca is organised jointly by Club Nàutic S’Arenal, Club Marítimo San Antonio de la Playa and Real Club Náutico de Palma, the Trofeo Princesa Sofía has long been the regatta to mark the start of the European racing season for the Olympic fleets. Results and full competitors list: https://www.trofeoprincesasofia.org/en/default/races/race-inscriptions
All pictures: Sailing Energy