SHANDON sailor Anna Burnet has got off to a positive start in the first regatta of the year as her preparations for the Olympics this summer gather pace.

Burnet and her long-time Nacra 17 crewmate John Gimson are among several Brits competing in the Princess Sofia Trophy in Palma, Mallorca – the traditional season opener for the Olympic classes circuit, and the first regatta where all 10 classes compete.

At the close of the first day’s action on Tuesday, Burnet and Gimson lay second in the overall Nacra 17 standings, behind the German duo of Paul Kohlhoff and Alicia Stuhlemmer, with the British pair accruing a net total of 10 points over the first four races, two adrift of the Germans and six clear of Italy’s Gianluigi Ugolini and Maria Giubilei.

The Brits are aiming to go one better than the silver medal they brought home from the last Olympics in Tokyo, a feat they matched at the World Championships in the Netherlands last summer.

On both occasions the gold medal was won by another Italian pair, Ruggero Tita and Caterina Banti, who are also competing in Mallorca but who finished the first day’s racing in 10th place overall.

Speaking ahead of the opening day’s action, Gimson said: “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.”

The Princess Sofia Trophy continues until this Saturday, April 6.

The Olympic sailing competitions take place not in Paris but in Marseille, between July 28 and August 8.