The RS:X women's windsurfing fleet has completed 6 races at the
Weymouth and Portland international Regatta -otherwise known
as the Olympic Test Event - with Marina Alabau (ESP) absolutely
has some business to do to make the silver medal hers.
Still very much in touch are Charline Picon (FRA) and the 2008 Beijing bronze medallist, Bryony Shaw (GBR). Just 5 points seperate 2nd place from 4th but this is where the intense battle for supremacy will be fought in the final three days.
Marina has won almost every regatta that she has entered this year so the smart money is not on whether she will win but by how much... That is to say that if normal service is maintained the chasiing trio will have to find something pretty special to get on terms with the hard charging Marina.
Even Olympic windsurfing legend, Alessandra Sensini (ITA) has dropped off the pace after what for her must be considered to be 2 bad results in race 5 and 6. 13th and 14th just will not cut it in this company. Alessandra is now a spent force 14 off Bryony and with serious concerns about how to fend off Olga Maslivets (UKR) just one pointed behind and having a consistent campaign despite picking up a discretionary penalty in race 5.
Over in the RS:X men's windsurfing fleet, it's kind of personal. Or if it isn't now it is fast becoming so. Nick Dempsey (GBR) and Dorian van Rijsselberge (NED) are pushing each other hard at the front of the fleet. Tied as they are on points, even after 6 races, this is a battle royal between the local hero and the new kid on the block otherwise known as the 'Flying Dutchman'
These two are 13 points clear of Byron Kokalanis (GRE) who is comfortable for now. He has 10 points on Joao Rodrigues (POR) who aside from the small matter of an open ocean crossing from Madeira - his home - to the Selvagen Islands 163 miles away, has spent the summer training in Weymouth. The question that no-one is asking therefore is ... Does he have the stamina and the will to take the fight to Byron?
The answer is a no-brainer... Yes and Yes...
Just 4 points back is a knot of experience and talent. Ricardo Santos (BRA) is tied on points with Julien Bontemps (FRA) the 2008 Olympic Silver medallist and Przemslaw Miarcyznski (POL) with Jon Paul Tobin (NZL) 3 points away and itching to make up lost ground after recovering from a bout of flu.
Going into the last 3 days, it's youth against experience. Dorian has been there or there abouts for the last few years but has never been able to hold it together and bring it home when the pressure was on. This time it may be different but Nick has never been beaten on his home waters when it counted. He won the RS:X World Windsurfing Championships here in 2009. He won the 2011 Skandia Sail For Gold Regatta here just 6 weeks ago.
It's going to be tight whichever way it goes and it's going all the way...
RS:X Men’s Windsurfing results: http://www.sailing.org/uploads/WPIR2011/RSXM_Results.pdf
RS:X Women’s Windsurfing results: http://www.sailing.org/uploads/WPIR2011/RSXW_Results.pdf