On the first day of racing at the 51 Trofeo Sofia Mallorca strong, gusty offshore breezes pumped up to well over 25kts at times. The conditions provided a stiff test for the iQFOiL men and women foiling windsurfing classes on the Bay of Palma.
Sam Sills - Picture: Sailing Energy / Princesa Sofia
Britain’s powerfully built Sam Sills revelled in his preferred windy conditions in the Men’s iQFOiL fleet. A past double world champion as a youth windsurfer and an accomplished former RS:X racer who has been competing at the Sofia for ten years, Sills banged in two opening wins in his 50 strong fleet before jumping the start gun to land a UFD disqualification which he immediately atoned for with his third winning gun. With Finn Hawkins in second and Andrew Brown third Sills leads a GBR monopoly of the top three places proving the benefit of the squad’s extended training period in Lanzarote and two good weeks of practice on the Mallorcan regatta waters. “There is a long, long way to go to the finish line but that is a good way to start. You never quite know what to expect at the start of a season. But days like these when it is so windy and so gusty you just try to hang on and sail my best.” Smiled Cornishman Sills who quipped it was cold enough for him to have two wetsuits on. “But that is as good as I have started a regatta for a long, long time. And it is great to be here in the Olympic arena with the iQFOiL. The RS:X was fun but it was very hard, this is hard but it is more fun. The competition is tight and everyone is pushing, the standard goes up at every event. It makes it very interesting with the slalom starts as the guys from the PWA (Professional Windsurfing Association) Tour are probably better starters. But I have practiced the starts a lot. The one that was over was a learning point and at this stage of this event it is good to be trying different starting techniques and so I won’t be trying that one again.” Sills added.
Reigning Olympic champion Kiran Badloe scored four times a DNC - Did Not Compete - due to some issues with his foil stance today. Badloe was on the water to measure his speed with the rest of the fleet and was in a good position when he decided to withdraw.
In the Women’s iQFOiL France’s double European champion Hélène Noesmoen made the best start, conditions today being more reminiscent of her native Les Sables d’Olonne on the French Atlantic coast than the Mediterranean.
Men results after day 1
Sam Sills - GBR
Finn Hawkins - GBR
Andrew Brown - GBR
Women results after day 1
Helene Noesmoen - FRA
Pilar La Madrid - ESP
Shachar Resef - ISR