Words: Will Carson (RYA)
Pics: Jesus Renedo, Sailing Energy, Trofeo Princesa Sofia Iberostar
British Sailing Team windsurfers Emma Wilson and Kieran Martin scored top ten performances at one of the world’s most prestigious Olympic class regattas.
Wilson, 19, and Martin, 23, were part of a nine-strong British Sailing Team contingent that hit the water in Palma, Mallorca, for the 49th Princess Sofia Trophy regatta.
The event is one of the highlights of the international calendar, and this year attracted a record entry of more than 1,200 sailors from over 60 nations across the ten Olympic classes.
The combined RS:X fleet was the second largest of the regatta, with 118 men competing and 67 women.
British Sailing Team stalwart and Beijing bronze medallist Bryony Shaw led the way on the opening day of the week-long regatta, winning two of the first three races.
It was the dream start for Shaw, 34 (she turns 35 on 28 April), on what was only her fourth day back on the Olympic circuit having given birth in June last year.
After two days of qualifying, Shaw, Wilson and Saskia Sills made the top-30 cut for the gold fleet while in the men’s class Martin and teammate Andy Brown made the grade.
In trademark style Shaw pushed hard for the top spot in every race that followed but paid the price when a handful of early starts saw her disqualified from two races, ending hopes of making the top ten and the medal race.
Wilson, a three-time RS:X youth world champion, came to the fore on the third day of competition when the breeze built to more than 25 knots, ending the day with a first and a second.
She only finished outside the top ten on four occasions and came home fifth in the double points-scoring medal race to seal an impressive seventh place overall.
Martin’s fourth place in the men’s medal race secured eighth overall, a good result against the world’s best for the promising young windsurfer.
Brown and Sills both finished 29th in their respective fleets.
“The Princess Sofia Trophy was really good event for me, I learnt loads and had some really nice moments,” Wilson said.
“Definitely my highlights of the week were when I got a 1,2 on the races on Wednesday. I really enjoyed that day, it was so fun and great to be racing at the top of the fleet.
“I am quite happy with seventh overall but I know I could have done better so I’m looking forward to get back to training and keep improving.”
Martin added: “I have to say the week was sweet. It’s great to see the RS:X windsurfing fleet continue to grow with over 118 in the men’s fleet alone.
“I managed to finish up in eighth place so a nice solid result to start the season off, especially with a whole heap of wind conditions from working our butts off in six knots, holding on for life in 25 knots and offshore wind conditions providing tactical racing.
“Big thanks to coach Dom (Tidey) as always and I’m looking forward to the summer competitions.”
The British Sailing Team will be back in action in Hyeres, France, from April 22 to 29.