The Australian Sailing Team (AST) and Australian Sailing Squad (ASS) line-up for the Princess Sofia Trophy in Palma, have assembled and are training to compete in Mallorca from 1-9 April – where competitors from around the globe will meet for the first all-classes international Olympic regatta to be held since 2019.
The 51st edition of the Spanish regatta marks the international unveiling of three new classes and the return to Olympic classes sailing for Olympians with their sights set on the 2024 Paris Games.
NSW Institute of Sport supported athlete Finn Alexander joins Tokyo Olympic gold medallist Matt Wearn OAM, Luke Elliot, Ethan McAulley and Zac Littlewood in the ILCA 7 (formerly laser) competition.
Rio Games Nacra 17 silver medallists and fellow Team NSWIS members, Jason Waterhouse and Lisa Darmanin will form one of the teams to beat in the class, having won at Palma in 2019.
NSWIS powerhouses Jim Colley and Shaun Connor return to the 49er fleet alongside the team of Tom Needham and Joel Turner. New to the ASS are the NSWIS and Sydney-based team of Jack Fergusen and Max Paul. Tokyo Games representatives in the class are not currently campaigning, so these teams will see this as a chance to stake their first claim for Paris selection.
Fellow NSWIS teammate and Tokyo Games campaigner Annie Wilmot is back in the 49erFX with new sailing partner Laura Harding, while London 2012 match racing silver medallist Olivia Price returns from a two-Olympic hiatus to context the class with Evie Haseldine (NSWIS).
Three new classes for the Paris Games make their international debut in Palma: 470 Mixed, Formula Kite and iQFOiL. Australia is represented in all three.
iQFOiL sailors Grae Morris and Caelin Winchcombe also make their Olympic classes regatta debut in Palma. The duo are being coached by Arthur Brett who mentored Laser legends Michael Blackburn and Tom Slingsby at the Athens and Beijing Olympics respectively.
Grae, a NSWIS scholar, has come up through RS:X and Techno 293 sailboards and placed third in the latter at the 2019 Worlds. Teammate Winchcombe has travelled a different route through the ILCA 7 and won the 2017 Australian Youth Championship, making an excellent transition to iQFOiL.
Australian Sailing Team High Performance Director, Iain Brambell OLY, said from Palma: “The Australian Sailing Team is keenly optimistic and excited to be returning to big fleet international racing. There is an immense vibe of positive energy within the boat park, with many athletes returning to international competition for the first time since the Covid-19 closer.
“Those who raced in Tokyo are looking to advance on their experiences and performances from Enoshima,” he said.
“We have a strong contingent of Australian sailors in Palma, all focused on getting their individual and collective team campaigns off on the right footing to Marseille and the 2024 Paris Games.”
Racing is due to get underway in the men’s, women’s and mixed dinghy classes, along with the men’s and women’s windsurfing classes on Monday 4 April local time. The remaining classes begin their competition on 5 April.
To follow the regatta at: https://www.trofeoprincesasofia.org/en/
Australian Sailing Team and Australian Sailing Squad entries:
Chris Charlwood and Amelia Catt (ASS)
Nia Jerwood and Conor Nicholas (ASS)
Jim Colley and Shaun O’Connor (ASS)
Jack Ferguson and Max Paul (ASS)
Tom Needham and Joel Turner (ASS)
Laura Harding and Annie Wilmot (ASS)
Olivia Price and Evie Haseldine (ASS)
Breiana Whitehead (ASS)
Scott Whitehead (ASS)
Matt Wearn OAM (AST)
Luke Elliott (AST)
Zac Littlewood (AST)
Finn Alexander (ASS)
Ethan McAullay (ASS)
Mara Stransky (AST)
Elyse Ainsworth (ASS)
Casey Imenio (ASS)
Zoe Thomson (ASS)
Grae Morris (ASS)
Caelin Winchcombe (ASS)
Jason Waterhouse and Lisa Darmanin (AST)
Jack Liddell and Lucy Copeland (ASS)
Article courtesy Australian Sailing