Palma, Princess Sofia Regatta, and sailors from all the Olympic classes crowd the beach. The first European stop over on the ISAF World Cup tour, Olympic classes regatta in the Olympic year and no one is giving any quarter. This is the first time all the Olympic hopefuls will be head to head again after a long hard winter of training, everyone is anxious to see who will turn out on top as a new pecking order is about to be established.
Seb and Ben have been camped in Palma since early February training with some top international teams: the Germans, Danes and Swedes. As the bitter February winds have now been transformed into long sun filled spring days, so has the 49er fleet, camped out on the beach, grown from a mere handful to almost a hundred boats.
Sunday morning on April’s fool day and the team are having a coffee down by the beach, watching the hum drum of activity, feeling the anxiousness of other sailors as they frantically rush last minute preparations. This is the dress rehearsal for the Worlds and Olympic qualifiers in Croatia next month. Here in Palma the Malta49er team will be competing against almost 100 other 49ers but their goal is much more specific. The team have come to fight against: Italy, Brazil, Canada, Greece, Bermuda, Russia, Japan, Belgium, Chile, Mexico, Holland and Estonia. These are the countries they will have to compete against in Croatia when fighting for Malta’s spot at the London Games. Palma Regatta will be a good indication of where Malta stands against her rival countries in the 49er class. Racing starts tomorrow and can be followed on: