From March 31 to April 5, 160 Lasers will be competing off the coast of Mallorca, Spain in the fourth of five regattas in the 2014 ISAF Sailing World Cup season. 55 different countries will be represented by 882 sailors in 11 different events, including one Paralympic race, in this year’s regatta.
In last year’s regatta, Australian racer Tom Burton was leading going into the final race, but was unable to hold off the storming Andy Maloney of New Zealand, who snatched the win away from Burton. Maloney has taken time off since the 2013 Laser World Championships in Oman and Burton, the number-two ranked racer in the word and Croatia’s Tonci Stipanovic, the number one in the world, have taken advantage of this by racking up wins at other ISAF Sailing World Cup events held in Qingdao, China, Melbourne and Miami.
Even after taking time off, Maloney sees himself as still one of the top racers in the ISAF Sailing World Cup.
“I am always confident that I can win any event going into it. I feel very prepared after three months training in New Zealand focusing on key areas to improve and am excited to line up against the other top guys again,” Maloney said in an interview with Sail-World.com, adding, 'There are definitely a few sailors who were very consistent last year and set the bar towards the end of the season. It was an interesting year for myself with a lot of different events going on, making it really busy and long. I'm feeling totally refreshed after the summer in New Zealand and feel I can start off 2014 as I did last year.”
Other top racers that will be competing at Mallorca include Women’s Laser Radial racers ISAF Sailing World Cup Qingdao winner Dongshuang Zhang of China, Melbourne champion Tatiana Drozdovskaya of Belarus and American Paige Railey, who won the World Cup race in Miami will be joined by 2013’s Laser Radial World Champion Tina Mihelic of Croatia as well as Great Britain’s Alison Young, who returns to defend her title at Mallorca.
The Men’s 470 race will see the continuation of the battle in Miami between the Australian duo of Mat Belcher and Will Ryan and France’s Sofian Bouvet and Jeremie Mion, currently ranked number three in the world. There will be 80 boats competing in the race and Mion is ready for the wide-open battle.
“There are a lot of boats who can be really good there and we know that everybody will be very close. It's going to be a good fight,” Mion said to Sail-World.com.
In the Women’s 470, 49 boats will be competing in Mallorca, including world number one Sophie Weguelin and Eilidh McIntyre of Great Britain, New Zealand’s Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie, last year’s ISAF Rolex World Sailors of the Year and the number three pair in the world, Anne Haeger and Briana Provancha of the U.S.
The 99-boat Finn race will be headlined by the battle brewing between Aussie racer Oliver Tweddell and Miami winner Giles Scott of Great Britain, who trailed Tweddell going into the last race of the event but pulled off the multi-boat length win off in the end. Also participating in the Finn event is 2013 World Champion Jorge Zarif of Brazil and French racer Jonathan Lobert, who was a bronze medalist at London 2012.
The first day of the regatta is on Monday the 31st and for more info, check out the both the Event website as well as SWC website.