The Flying Dutchman Wins By Two Points

Dorian van Rijsselberghe NED went in to the medal race under pressure. His 8th in the 10th race yesterday had gifted the lead to Pole Piotr Myszka. One point separated them at the start. With medal race points counting double, whoever won this duel would be the 2011 RS:X Word Windsurfing Champion.

The Start boat was moved away from its ‘traditional’ spot close to the Northern breakwater in Bathers bay so that the second slalom end gybe mark could be placed right in front of the grandstand.

With the preliminaries dealt with the fleet split in half with the New Zealanders leading the group going right in to the building pressure being delivered by the ‘Doctor’. At the top mark for the first time, it was Byron Kokalanis GRE who lead with Ivan Pastor ESP 50 metres back in  2nd and Julien Bontemps FRA 3rd.

These guys were not ‘players’ in the struggle for supremacy. The battle was further back

It was the Flying Dutchman who rounded 4th with a clear lead over the two Polish sailors. Przemyslaw Miarczinski was closest. Piotr was effectively out of touch with Dorian and now had to focus on protecting the silver medal position from Pont which he did.

JP Tobin NZL had gone into the medal race trailing Tom Ashley his compatriot and was determined to make it an three. He has beaten Tom in a straight fight twice already this year. Their duel will go on but JP is out to load the deck in his favor by the biggest margin possible.

Tom won the gold medal at the Beijing Olympics in 2008. To displace an established medal winner in the national selection for 2012 will be tough which is why JP has to do more than ever to establish that he is the ‘man to pick.

On the other hand spectators are wondering how Przemsylaw can be picked to go to the Games when Piotr beat him to become the 2010 RS:X World Champion and beat him again to take the silver medal at the 2011 RS:X Worlds too.

So Dorian is the 2011 RS:X World Windsurfing Champion, Piotr is  second and Nimrod Mashiah ISR take the bronze.

The RS:X Race Committee are to be congratulated for delivering the best possible racing they could. Sometimes in difficult circumstances. A big thank you to them for their hard work and dedication.

The Perth 2011 organisers are also to congratulated in taking the ISAF Sailing World Championships and moving it forward from 2007 in a big way. There is still more work to be done to bring Olympic sailing into the 21st century in terms of media and technology and perhaps even more fundamentally in defining a clear vision and strategy that will accommodate the sailors desire for great racing, the public’s growing appetite for online coverage and the sponsor’s desire for TV coverage.

We are moving in the right direction but there’s still a long way to go before the sport moves fully into the modern era…





RS:X Worlds: Fast, Faster And Fastest

There was fast wind and equally fast windsurfing in the Men’s RS:X Gold fleet racing Saturday, with Piotr Myszka (POL), Dorian van Rijsselberghe (NED) and Przemyslaw Miarczynski (POL) filling the top three places overall.

Just one point separates world number one Myszka (24) and van Rijsselberghe (25) ahead of Sunday’s Medal race.

Race 9 and 10 on Saturday produced mixed results and slightly shuffled the top 10.

The first race of the day was marked by two things; a constant divide of athletes and a consistent top three that lead for much of the race.

Andreas Cariolou (GRE) took a third of the sailors to the left, while Tom Ashley (NZL) led the remaining two thirds right.

Fifteen minutes into the race and a strong top three emerged with New Zealand’s Ashley blazing the trail, followed by Piotr Myszka (POL) and Ricardo Winicki Santos (BRA).

After another split Elliot Carney (GBR) sped ahead, warding off teammate Nick Dempsey while Greece’s Byron Kokkalanis was tailed by Miarczynski.

Dorian van Risselberghe appeared to be lost in the crowd for much of the race but in a dramatic turn of events began to overtake his rivals, first Cariolou, then Santos. But despite his efforts, van Risselberghe couldn’t gain enough pace to outdo Ashley (NZL) and Myszka (POL).

Ashley spent most of the race well out in front, but Myszka caught up to cross just one second later. That win saw Ashley move from 9th to 5th overall.

In race 10, no-one could come between the two Polish sailors Myszka and Miarczynski.

Van Risselberghe once again started poorly, but in the second race of the day he didn’t recover.

Similarly, Nimrod Mashich (ISR) fell short of his recent winning streak, placing 8th and 9th on Saturday.

Medal Race competitors (subject to protest): 1. Piotr Myszka (POL); 2. Dorian van Rijsselberghe (NED); 3. Przemyslaw Miarczynski (POL); 4. Nimrod Mashich (ISR); 5. Tom Ashley (NZL); 6. Jon Paul Tobin (NZL); 7. Byron Kokkalanis (GRE); 8. Joao Rodrigues  (POR); 9. Ivan Pastor (ESP); 10. Julien Bontemps (FRA).

The men’s RS:X Medal Race is scheduled to begin on Centre course at 1510 local time on Sunday.

RS:X Worlds: Crushing It On The Centre Course

Piotr Myszka [POL] the 2010 RS:X World Windsurfing Champion is in no mood to pass his crown on to someone else. He went out on to the centre course determined to put himself in a position to attack Dorian van Rijsselberghe [NED] in the medal race tomorrow.

The way it played out has probably exceeded his wildest dreams. He posted two second places but Dorian faltered. Normal service was delivered in the first race of the day – 3rd – but in the second he dropped to 8th.

The problem is that he just cannot discard it. Remember that 16th he scored in race 3. He must be kicking himself tonight for not reading the course board on the back of the start boat correctly. Talk about putting yourself under unnecessary pressure.

With one point between them a major head-to-head is in prospect.

Back in 3rd Przemyslaw Miarczyinski [POL] is 13 points off the pace so probably not able to overhaul his countryman. But he will be fully occupied by Nimrod Mashiah [ISR] who started this regatta in a blaze of 1s and 2s and then took his foot off the gas pedal to slip steadily down the order. He’s 2 points back.

There will be a three way standoff for the bronze medal. Tom Ashley came into the mix today. He blew the fleet away in the 15 knot sea breeze in the 9th race in the series by the simple expedient of reading the pressure spot on.

Straight off the start, he put in a long tack out to the right hand side of the course, tacked one and crossed the whole fleet as the smoked up the starboard layline to the windward mark. Rounding with a decisive lead, Piotr could find no way back and nor could Dorian who was scrambling to make up places from behind.

5th in race 10 did not quite do it for him. He is now 8 points adrift of the bronze medal which translates into 5 medal race places between him and Pont. It’s a tall order.

Elliot Carney [GBR] went into the day just one point off a place in the medal race. He was down in the pits area in plenty of time to check his equipment and make some precautionary replacements. He clearly was going out to secure that coveted first medal race spot.

Sadly it wasn’t to be . In race 9 he went left towards the grandstand where the strong sea breeze was forced to rise over the sea wall reducing the pressure significantly. He repeated the mistake in race 10 to post a 14 and a 19 and drop back to 14th overall just behind Nick Demspey [GBR] who has had a less than sparkling regatta to put it mildly.

The reverse is true for Elliot who is now on the verge of a big breakthrough just like Zac Plavsic [CAN] whose time training with Dorian and JP has paid off handsomely.  He was back on form today posting a 9 and a 6 to finish 12th overall which is possibly the highest placed finisher by any North American athlete in a decade.

And the country that did not make the cut to qualify his nation for London 2012 ?

Well, The Russian athlete Dmitrii Polishchuk finished his championship off in style to climb well out of the danger zone. That means that the last country through the door is Australia with Tim Gourlay and Luke Baillie just doing enough to make their shot at qualification stick

And the unlucky one… was Grillo Santiago from Colombia. The one saving grace that he can take home with him is that he finished on top of the pile of also-rans. Now 16 countries will go to Cadiz, Spain for the 2012 RS:X World Windsurfing Championships to fight over the last 9 national qualifying places. Grillo knows that one of those places has his name on it.

Here are the nations qualified: NED, POL, ISR, NZL, GRE, POR, ESP, FRA, BRA, CAN, GER, CYP, SUI, UKR, ARG, CHN, KOR, JPN, HUN, HKG, CRO, NOR, ITA, LTU, USA, RUS, MEX, AUS

Qualified by right: GBR

Those to qualify in 2012: COL, BUL, THA, EST, CZE, SVK, TPE, SIN, VEN, DEN, PHI, PAK, LAT, PER, EGY, SLO,



RS:X Worlds: Snakes And Ladders on The Centre Course

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.