Dorian Van Rijsselberge (NED) and Zofia Klepacka (POL) picked
up the first gold medals of the Weymouth and Portland Inter-
national Regatta after a gripping day of sailing on the Nothe
medal race course in winds up to 20 knots.
In the RS:X Men's Windsurfing fleet, Dorian had been duking it out with Nick Dempsey (GBR) all week, swapping places and points right up to race 8. Finally, on day 5, the break came. The deadlock was smashed when Nick put in a 10 in race 10. His existing discard was a 15 pointer so it counted.
The fact that Dorian still had his 'get out of jail' card to play when he finished 8th in the same race was decisive. He discarded the bad result and went into the medal race with a 7 point lead. He knew he just had to stay out of trouble and finish within 4 places of Nick and it would be 'Game Over'
It was not looking good. Nick's plan was to sail Dorian to the back of the fleet and leave him there. Dorian rounded mark #1 in 10th, 51 seconds off the leaders. It looked as though Dempsey may have done enough. But the Byron Kokalanis (GRE), positioned as he was between the Brit and the Dutchman, fell in on a tack. Gifted the opportunity, Dorian seized it to take over 5th just three places behind Dempsey’s second.
The Gold was a his…
Jon-Paul Tobin (NZL) won the Medal Race but the bronze medal went to Przemyslaw Miarczynski (POL) whose fourth place in the Medal Race moved him from fifth to third.
Here's what Nick and Dorian had to say...
“It is very, very difficult to sail someone down the fleet and then sail yourself back up past everyone and that is exactly what happened. I managed to sail him back to last place, so we were effectively ninth and tenth, and then got myself up to second and so that’s all I can ask of myself.”
Van Rijsselberge spoke highly of his British rival “It’s always a healthy competition going on between us, so it’s great. It was a really good race. Before the start Nick didn’t really show anything so I didn’t really know what to expect. At the start he was right there mixing it up trying to make it as hard as he could, and he really did. I was really impressed by his skills.”
“This is the most important event of the year for me because this is event that really most resembles the Olympic Games,” said Dempsey of the significance of this Olympic test regatta. “Really, it’s about winning here, about winning under pressure, in the Olympic format so it has been great experience. The organisers have thrown us a few swerveballs this week and I think we’ve dealt with them quite well.”
Over in the RS:X Women's windsurfing fleet, Zofia won the medal race by more than a minute. A supreme performance on which to close out an impressive race card which included only one finish outside the top 3 in the preliminary 10 races series.
Marina Alabau (ESP) who won here at the Skandia Sail for Gold Regatta just six weeks ago just could not match her consistency even though she scored 5 race wins. She takes the silver medal with bronze going to Great Britain's Bryony Shaw.
“This is my target regatta for the year, so to medal here I am really, really happy,” Shaw explained. “There’s a year to go and all the preparation is about board speed, and just making sure again that I am minimising mistakes, getting the experience and reeling in the Spanish and Polish girls.”
“I feel like I am so much better than I was in Qingdao. This is about being an all-rounder in Weymouth, so I feel like I am on track. “There has been a real buzz, Skandia Team GBR is really tight, building towards next year and so we always try to emulate this [event] as a full dress rehearsal. It is all about preparing for next year.”
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