Near-perfect score is icing on cake for birthday boy Fletcher

From the 30th of March to the 7th of April the bay of Palma in Mallorca (Spain) hosts the 49th Trofeo Princesa Sofia Iberostar, one of the most important Olympic sailing regatta in the world. Around 1,200 sailors from 64 nations take part in the event this year, in the largest edition in history. Image free of rights for editorial use. © Tomás Moyá / Trofeo Princesa Sofía Iberostar

Dylan Fletcher celebrated turning 30 in style on Tuesday as he and fellow 49er world champion Stuart Bithell picked up a near-perfect score on the second day of the Princess Sofia Trophy.

Fletcher and Bithell dominated racing in Palma, Mallorca, to finish the day with two wins and a second – and a new place at the top of the overall rankings.

The duo, who teamed up in early 2017 for a tilt at Tokyo 2020, made the most of the better 10-15 knot wind in Palma Bay as they guaranteed Fletcher a birthday to remember.

“We had a really good day,” said Fletcher. “I’ve certainly had worse birthdays! This has got to be one of the best. Thirty years old and a 1, 1, 2 – I’ll take that.

“We thought it was going to be a bit windier than it was but it turned out to be a lot lighter and trickier, so we’re really pleased to come away with a good day.

“We knew we’d done well today but didn’t realise we’d gone top until we got in. It puts us in a good position going into the rest of the week.

“Hopefully we can continue this good form and see where we get to in a few days’ time.”

After two days of action the ten fleets will now be split into gold, silver and, in some cases bronze fleets. Only the top ten sailors in the gold fleet will qualify for the medal races, scheduled for Saturday.

New mum Bryony Shaw continued her winning streak in the RS:X class, taking her race victory tally to two in four races.

“After only five regatta days back since Rio and having a baby, I am really happy to be sailing at the front,” Shaw said. “The last two days have been a great measure for me.”

Emma Wilson and Saskia Sills will join Shaw in the RS:X gold fleet when racing resumes on Wednesday.

Ben Saxton and Nicola Boniface also occupy the top spot in the Nacra 17 after they echoed Fletcher and Bithell’s 1, 1, 2.

“We’re learning on the job but we’re quick and we got off the line well in two races,” Saxton said. “We kept it simple and now we’re on top, which that’s pretty cool.”

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