The first day of the finals with the fleets now fixed in RS:X gold and
silver groups brought winds in the 15 knot range. The top 3 in the
men's fleet have now shaken out a 10 point margin so will continue
to fight their own private battle for supremacy.
Taehoon Lee (KOR) has bombed out of the top 10 having posted a 31st and a 26th. All is not completely lost but he only has Friday to make amends and there are some formidable competitors around him also doing their best to squeeze into Saturday's medal race ... Ivan Pastor (ESP), Julien Bontemps (FRA), Joao Rodrigues (POR) and Tom Ashley (NZL) are all close to the break point and have to put in some low scores today
The fight for the gold medal in the RS:X men's fleet will go all the way. Dorian is getting a taste for winning Sailing World Cup Regattas. JP has been training with him and has a lot to prove... Beaten by the 2008 Olympic Gold medallist, Tom Ashley last time round and beaten the time before that... This is pay back. It will give him immense pleasure not to say belief that he can go all the way if he wins here and then there is Nick Dempsey sailing on his home waters with a burning desire to take gold in 2012, this is his moment to prove that he is not just a one time winner... A fascinating sprint to the line is in prospect
In the RS:X Women, it is Spain’s Marina Alabau who mastered the tricky conditions, posting a third and a first to slide past Lee Korzits of Israel and into the lead. Alabau now has a four point lead going into the final day ahead of the medal race split. Zofia Klepacka (POL) remains in third nine points behind Korzits.
She will have to keep a careful eye on Maja Dziarnowska (POL) who has climbed steadily during the week and is now only 2 points adrift. This is a fight for national qualification to take the Olympic slot so there is a lot riding on the last 2 days of this pressure cooker regatta.
The surprise arrival in the top 5 is Nikola Girke (CAN) who has had a good time in the big breeze that has been served up this week. Her challenge is beginning to pick up speed with a 4 and a 5 yesterday she is only 7 points off a podium finish. It'll come down to focus and belief that she can still compete with the best when and if the wind goes light
Blanca Manchon's (ESP) challenge has faded along with that of Charline Picon (FRA). Alessandra Sensini (ITA) who one would normally have expected to crush it in a breeze has 'pulled the plug' after a disasterous 61 pointer on Wednesday. She DNS's yesterday. One can only assume that she has decided to conserve her energy. Finally Bryony Shaw (GBR) was called over early on the last race of the day so her hopes of medalling died then.
It is Marina Alabau (ESP) who has the pyschological advantage. 4 points clear of Lee Korsitz (ISR) and knowing that there is another battle for dominance between Sofia and Marja going one behind her, she has just to keep doing what she does best to win. Back in 5th, Nikola has all to play for and nothing to lose.... GO, GO, GO
To finish, let's here it from two guys in the Silver Fleet. Bob Willis (USA) looks to have crushed Ben Barger to take the Olympic place and to prove it he won both RS:X Silver Fleet races yesterday...
"“It felt really good in 15-20 and I’ve been training in these types of conditions. I’ve been training with really fast guys and I was really disappointed when I didn’t make Gold fleet, the best way to justify that is to make a statement in the silver fleet.”
'And then there's Leonard Ong (SIN) who is on a steep learning curve and focused on Rio 2016
"It is really windy here, but the sailing is great – not too choppy and the waves aren’t too big so great for sailing. This is my second time in Weymouth and I always enjoy it. For a lot of the sailors here they are looking towards 2012, I am not at that standard but I am definitely looking at 2016 and I know a lot of the other guys here will be too. I am just taking this opportunity to prepare as much as possible and it is great to compete against this standard of sailors. I really admire the Korean sailor (Taehoon Lee), and the sailors like Nick Dempsey (GBR) and Tom Ashley (NZL). Those guys have been doing this for a long time and they are great to watch and learn from."
Skandia Sail For Gold RS:X Windsurfing Results
RS:X Men - Sailed: 8
1. J. P. Tobin, NZL, 17
2. Dorian Vaan Rijsselberge, NED, 20
3. Nick Dempsey, GBR, 20
RS:X Women - Sailed: 8
1. Marina Albau, ESP, 16
2. Lee Korzits, ISR, 20
3. Zofia Klepacka, POL, 29