Day 3 of the Princesa Sofia MAPFRE was not the easiest one.
Opposing winds and unsettled conditions made life difficult
for sailors and race committees. The day ended with a jury
room busy with requests for redress. But with six races
completed for both RS:X Men and Women, the discard could
Dorian van Rissjelberge (DEN) showed a clean pair of heels to the whole of the RS:X men's fleet winning both races to retake the top slot. He is now just 3 points clear of Nick Dempsey (GBR) who put in a steady 3-5 scorecard to keep the pressure on the Dutchman.
The new face in the top 5 is 2008 Olympic gold medallist, Tom Ashley (NZL) who has now dropped his 35th place in the first race of the series to come storming up the order and join the fight for the third step on the podium. He's 4 points adrift of the Byron Kokkalanis (GRE) and one point up on Shahar Zubari (ISR) with Ricardo Santos (BRA) a further 7 points back.
With the medal race counting double points there is all to play for in this group. But let's not get ahead of ourselves here. There a lot of racing still to come. Nick and Dorian look safe for the moment but it only needs to go light again and the order is likely to tighten considerably.
Over in the RS:X women's fleet, Marina Alabau (ESP) is supreme. Putting in a first and second today has given her a 7 point lead over Charline Picon (FRA) who dropped her DNC in the first. Alessandra Sensini (ITA) now stand in 3rd in close company with Laura Linares (ITA). These two have their own private battle going on to win the first stage of their national Q series for the one Olympic slot in Weymouth.
So those, one might say are the usual suspects. What of those MIA - missing in action - ?
Bryony Shaw (GBR) is back in 13th and and struggling to win a place in the medal race top 10
Toni Wilhelm (GER) who had a great first day in the breeze -3/6 - has sunk without trace and now resides in 16th position
Andreas Cariolou (CYP) who one would normally expect to be a solid top 10 finisher - hist first day results 5th and 8th demonstrate that - has put in some poor results since and now sits at 22nd.
These are all big time performers so may be they are not so motivated here in Palma. It will be a long season ending in Perth, Australia in December at the ISAF sailing World Championships so there is a lot of racing to do before the final selections for London 2012 are made.
Make no mistake, 2011 is a big year with little margin for error.