Dorian van Rijsselberge (NED) and Charline Picon (FRA) took the Men’s and Women’s RS:X honours at Aquece Rio-International Sailing Regatta 2014 as the Medal Races on Pão de Açucar brought the windsurfing proceedings to an end.
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil was plagued with light winds across the five race areas making life difficult for the Race Committees and the sailors.
Dorian van Rijsselberge (NED) wrapped up gold in the Men’s RS:X by taking a fourth in the Medal Race.
The Dutchman ended up ten points clear of Pierre Le Coq (FRA) who took second in the Medal Race to clinch silver whilst Piotr Myszka (POL) picked up bronze.
“It was a nice Medal Race,” said van Rijsselberge. “It was the first race where we weren’t planing this week so that was interesting and a little bit different. We coped well and there was enough to play for. It was pretty shifty still but it was fun.”
On taking a good win on Olympic waters the Dutchman added, “It’s good for my self esteem. We’ve taken in knowledge this whole week, from the wind, the waves, the current and all the little things you need to recognise next time you come back.”
Van Rijsselberge had a narrow three point lead over Byron Kokkalanis (GRE) heading into the Medal Race with plenty to play for on the race course, “I had to keep an eye on Byron so he wasn’t going to be two places in front of me. I also had to keep an eye on Ponce [Przemyslaw Miarczynski] because if he won, it wouldn’t have gone well for me either. It was funny to keep an eye on everybody but in the end it played out well.”
Kokkalanis finished at the back of the pack and dropped out of the medals to fourth. France’s Le Coq capitalised on this as he explained, “The last race was really intense. I didn’t have a good start but I took a little shift from the right and I managed to come back a little bit. After that I knew that the Polish guy had to be behind me so I concentrating on them and trying to keep them behind me. And that’s what I did.
“I passed second at the first upwind and I was fighting with the Chinese guy for first place and finally I managed to keep the Polish behind, that was my first objective and I finished second. I didn’t know the Greek guy was so far behind so it was a little bit of a surprise for me to finish second. It was a great surprise.”
Plenty was discovered and picked by the fleet throughout the week and Le Coq concluded, “It was a really interesting week. We had a lot of different conditions. Mainly planing conditions but today was nice to finish in light winds. I worked a lot in light winds because I heard that in Rio we would get light winds and that’s not been true.”
Charline Picon (FRA) took a 16 point lead into the final day and stylishly sealed gold with a Medal Race bullet.
The French racer mastered Rio’s conditions and finished within the top five in every race but despite her dominance she ventured into the Medal Race unsure what to expect, “I was not so confident this morning because light winds aren’t my favourite conditions. I know I had to finish in the top eight but I had a very good start and fought for the win. I pushed very hard with a lot of pumping and put everything into it.
“I am very happy to win in light winds. At the Europeans I won the Medal Race in 30 knots and here I won the Medal Race in light winds so I am very happy and confident for Santander.”
Picon started exceptionally well and was able to capitalise on her start and push forward. Sailing clean air Picon pushed forward, asserting her dominance to finish well ahead of Lilian de Geus (NED), who finished second to seal silver. De Geus knocked Flavia Tartaglini (ITA) down to bronze medal position whilst Marina Alabau (ESP) was pushed down to fifth
Much has been learnt by the RS:X racers as Picon explained, “Yesterday [6 August] was very nice because we had the upwind mark just 20 metres away from Sugarloaf and it was planing conditions. It was so nice.
“It’s an incredible bay because everybody said it’s a no wind place and there’s no wind, no wind, no wind and we did six races in planing so I think we have to be very good in all winds and I’m happy with that.”
RS:X attentions now turn to the Santander 2014 ISAF Sailing World Championship where 50% of the Rio 2016 Olympic Sailing Competition spots will be decided.
Media coverage and results from the Aquece Rio will be delivered by the Rio 2016 team and ISAF through
http://www.aquecerio.com/en/competitions/international-sailing-regatta-2014 and http://www.sailing.org/2014-test-event.php
Text & Photos by ISAF