The day dawned overcast here in Fremantle at the ISAF Sailing World Championships with the wind blowing offshore and building from a quiet start to top out at 15-17knots in the second race of the day in the RS:X Men’s Windsurfing World Championships.
The 2010 RS:X World Champ, Piotr Myszka [POL] came storming off the start line to win race one but had a contratemps with a large fish in race 2 which resulted in him taking an involuntary trip ‘over-the-handlebars’… He recovered to take 2nd place and share the top step of the podium with Nimrod Mashiah [ISR] who mirrored the exact same scoreline.
The ‘Dutch Flyer’, Dorian van Rijsselberghe holds 3rd overall tonight having put in a one and a three and lay the base for his title challenge.
Back on top form after a trying recovery, Tom Ashley [NZL] instantly demonstrated that he has lost none of his flare, coming straight out and taking second in race one. He followed that with a 7th and sits just one point in front of his countryman JP Tobin as I write… BUT and there is a big but in this case, JP lodged a protest within the time limit against Tom over an alleged incident at the bottom gate so, they will both be in the ‘room’ later.
It just goes to show the importance of this event in the great scheme of things. It may be the RS:X World Windsurfing Championships. It may also be account for 75% of the qualification places wanting to race at the 2012 Olympic Regatta but that’s not all. The third and possibly most important issue is that athletes from the same team are competing against each other for that coveted individual selection place on their national Olympic team.
Tom and JP have locked horns already. Expect more fireworks in the Polish team where Piotr Myszka is up against triple Olympian, Przemyslaw Miarczynski and in the Israeli team where Nimrod Mashiah is duelling with Shahar Zubari.
The latter had a less than explosive start to his challenge
Beside these super racers, something very interesting is happening. New names are appearing in the top 10. Elliot Carney [GBR] long thought of as Nick Dempsey’s second string, popped in a 3rd an 8th to take 9th overall. Zac Plavsic [CAN] who has been training with Dorian and JP, smacked in a 4th and a 9th to claim 11th place. Robert Willis, The American Team Rep in the Pan Am Games, put in 2 top ten finishes in a class field. David Hayes [CAN] should not be forgotten either. With a 9th and a 12th on his scorecard tonight, he can be there when the scores are being counted to decide who competes in the medal race
There will be cynics out there who will say that this was just the first day. That this will be a long regatta. That the hot shots who were firing on three cylinders today will come back into it. And they may be right. But that’s not my point.
My point is that North American Windsurfing is showing signs of recovery after along time in the wilderness since the ‘Gebhardt Years’. That despite all the obstacles that they have to face a determined new crew is elbowing its way to the front of the fleet mainly under their own steam. “Good on them” I say “And more power to their elbow”
It’s inspiring to see such passion and determination start to bear fruit. They have worked hard and they deserve their places in the sun even if that sun passes behind a cloud in the next few days.
Today, they have shown they have the potential to mix it with the ‘best-of-them’. In fact, some of the ‘best-of-them’ would pay dearly to acquire the scorelines the new kids on the block have posted to day for they languish far below on the leader board. They may even be going to bed tonight fearful that their championships are already ‘cooked’
Go Canuks ! Go Yanks! Kick Butt!