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Princess Sofia Trophy marks Paris 2024 countdown

by British Sailing Team 31 Mar 15:41 BST 1-6 April 2024
Micky Beckett © Sailing Energy / Sofia Mallorca

The Princess Sofia Trophy regatta will take place in Palma, Mallorca, from April 1 to 6. The Mallorcan towns of Arenal and C'an Pastilla are joint hosts of the regatta.

More than 1,700 sailors, coaches and support staff from 70 nations will descend on Arenal and C'an Pastilla for the regatta. The British Sailing Team is fielding 51 athletes in 37 boats and boards across the 10 classes. The men's iQFOiL class has the largest representation, with seven British athletes taking to the start line. All our Team GB-selected sailors will be competing bar Hannah Snellgrove, James Peters and Fynn Sterritt, and Ellie Aldridge.

Trofeo Princesa Sofia - or the Princess Sofia Trophy for us Brits - is the traditional season opener for the Olympic classes circuit, and the first regatta where all 10 classes compete. It is also one of only two multi-class events before Paris 2024 this summer. In reality there have already been a number of class world and European championships this year, but with less than four months to go until racing begins in Marseille, Princess Sofia marks a crucial opportunity to benchmark performance against the world's best. The British Sailing Team finished the 2023 regatta with a stellar six-medal haul, including golds for Micky Beckett (pictured above) in the ILCA 7, and Sam Sills and Emma Wilson (below) in the men's and women's iQFOiL classes. Welsh sailor Beckett also won in 2022 - can he make it three on the bounce?

What they said:

John Gimson (Congleton, Cheshire) - Nacra 17
"The Princess Sofia is the first time we really get to see the rest of our competition since the end of the racing season last year. Hopefully we've done a good job but we'll have to wait until the first race to find out. The newer the class, the more chance there is of people finding something new and special. Our boat changed quite a lot this cycle to be full foiling. Last winter, we found a pretty big jump, hopefully no one else has. But you never know. I know we have done all we can, and we can see how that shapes up. We know pretty much where we stand with the Italians but for the rest of the world, we're blind to what everyone has been doing over the winter so it's always a nerve-wracking moment in that first race, seeing who is quick and who is not."

Micky Beckett (Solva, Pembrokeshire) - ILCA 7
"The first World Cup I ever did was this event exactly 10 years ago in 2014. So apart from Covid when the event was cancelled, I've done it every year since. It's an event I've always held in very high regard and it's an exciting place. It's a massive event and it's a tough regatta, with long days on the water a very long way from land. But I guess that's suited me for the last couple of editions. Defending my title this year would show that I'm on track with my goals ahead of this summer."

Sam Sills (Launceston, Cornwall) - iQFOiL
"I wasn't performing how I really wanted to [at the recent World Championships] and it's a culmination of factors of having my eyes on the Olympics and doing the work towards that rather than trying to peak for a worlds. Most of the world were trying to earn their spots as that was the selection time for a lot of the other nations. It was a difficult mindset to be in and since then I've been working doubly hard to get where I wanted to be. I didn't take a huge amount of time off, I've had a couple of days off but since then I've just been on. I'm feeling really good and getting sharper and fitter so I'm really excited about the Princess Sofia. When I set the plan out, you've got to choose where you're going to peak, the last two years have all been about executing and performing the whole way through the year."

Emma Wilson (Christchurch, Dorset) - iQFOiL
"Last year I won this regatta which was pretty cool. This year is a bit different because I'm selected, so I just want to learn as much as I can before the Olympics. It's not a peak event, whereas last year it was part of our selection. I like to try and do as well as I can at every event. I'm looking forward to racing because that is the best bit."

How do I follow the regatta?

The official website featuring results and the full entry list is here. There is live tracking available for those who want to analyse racing closely, plus live race status and daily highlights videos. Please note there is no livestream for this event. If you want to track the progress of the Brits the best place to do so is the British Sailing Team social media channels.

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