Overnight 36mm of rain had deluged Perth in just 30 minutes but the low pressure was still hanging around this morning. We woke to total cloud cover and the same wind direction that had delivered solid gold racing on day 1.
Now, the men racing in the RS:X World Windsurfing Championships were scheduled to race on the centre course starting at 1230hrs. The Blue fleet went out first with the start boat close up against the northern breakwater.
Dorian van Rijsselberghe [NED] strode into the lead which had extended to 2 minutes on his second visit to the top mark. The race win was in the bag. He just had to complete the course to post his first bullet of the day. Unfortunately he had not paid enough attention to the course signals on the stern of the start boat… He presented himself at the finish line one lap early and then had to play a desperate game of catch up finally finishing 16th
He made up for it in the second by firing in a bullet but the beneficiary of his dumb mistake in the first was Zac Plavsic who made history and climbed a personal Everest too by pouncing on Dorian’s mistake and taking the gun. A Canadian athlete has never before won a race at an Olympic class windsurfing world championships.
Asked what he thought of the centre course today Zac said “It’s like playing snakes and ladders. In that board game finding a ladder can move you right up. The reverse is true of the snakes. I just managed to find more ladders than snakes today”
Well done Zac for proving the sceptics wrong for the second day. The other guy who is has had the best 2 days sailing in his life is Eliot Carney. He popped in a 3 and a 6 today and now is 6th overall.
On coming ashore he said “I’m tired but really happy… Just trying to keep a lid on my emotions… These have been the best 2 days racing I have ever had” He’s come good just as Nick Dempsey has gone off the boil. He is loathing the conditions in Perth. The weed in the water being a big bug bear. Not to mention the empty spectator stands and the compromises that he is being forced to make to the altar of media friendliness when the official coverage seems almost bereft of windsurfing action.
Equal second are the Polish pair, Piotr Myszka and Przemislaw Miarczynski. This ding dong battle is not going to stop any time soon. Unlike what was billed to be a needle match between the 2008 Olympic bronze medallist, Shahar Zubari and his team mate from Israel, Nimrod Mashiah.
This one finished before it began. Nimrod sits on top of the leaderboard with a mere six points whilst Shahar is buried in 19th place with forty three. He is spoiled for choice when it comes to deciding which race to discard but he favours the 16th place that he scored in race 2 at the moment.
Tom Ashley [NZL] is putting a nice series together. Placing 2nd and 3rd today, he’s back to his imperious self in 4th place overall while JP is paying the price for the wound in his left foot. The one inflicted by that mean little fish the Cobbler. He just could not apply the necessary pressure to do better than a 6th and a 10th today
We’re moving to the business end of the qualification round tomorrow with the points close enough to put 7 sailors in with a chance of making the cut. As for the number of countries going to qualify, on our current calculations the silver fleet will be fighting over the 3 remaining places not already taken by those in the gold fleet.
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!