New Zealand and China dominate at the RS:X Worlds
In stark contrast to yesterday’s marginal winds, so conditions came alive on the Bay of Kerteminde, Denmark, for day two of the RS:X World Championships with 20 knot winds, brilliant sunshine and a lumpy enough sea to get the windsurfers airborne from time to time.
Unable to compete yesterday due to the light winds, the Women’s class got two races in to start with in 18 knot northeasterly winds, gusting to over 20 knots. After two races, Chinese sailors held three places in the top five, with Sasa Sun tied in first place with Ukraine’s Olga Maslivets, both on three points.
“I like the strong wind - I felt very comfortable in this, I really enjoyed it,” said Sasa Sun, who normally sails out of Fujian province in the south of China, where the winds are rarely as strong as were experienced off Kerteminde today.
With eight sailors in the Women’s class alone, China is fielding the biggest team at the World Championships, but numbers are only part of why China is doing so well, says Sun, who is enjoying the natural beauty of the Danish venue. “I think it is because all the athletes train hard and also the coaches are very good.”
Two races were then held for the men, with the wind by this stage up to 23 knots. The Netherland’s Dorian van Rijsselberge, posted a2-1 although this otherwise fine scoreline has the blemish from a black flag disqualification in yesterday’s first race.
“It was a really nice day, very sunny - it was cool, we had a lot of fun,” said van Rijsselberge, who was first to the top mark in both today’s races. “You see a lot of smiley faces on the water and you can do some jumps between the races to get your stoked.” In his class France’s Alexandre Guyader was also doing well. Van Rijsselberge will be looking in good shape once the discard comes in after race five.
While China dominates the Women’s RS:X, New Zealand holds the top two spots in the Men’s class, with Beijing gold medallist Tom Ashley on 14, just a point ahead of team mate Jon-Paul Tobin, tied for second with Greece’s Byron Kokalanis and Poland’s Przemyslaw Miarczynski.
“It was really good racing,” said J-P Tobin who posted a 1-2 today. “This is what I think the sport is about. It provides opportunities for everyone so the little guys can have a chance.” Tobin led for both races today, but in the second he picked up some weed and was overtaken by Israel’s Nimrod Mashiah.
As to Kerteminde, Tobin likes the town and on the bay says that in his two weeks training here they have experienced the whole range of conditions. “It is good that we had a variety. We have had a day that is windy and a day that has been really light. You couldn’t ask more from a World championship.”
Yesterday’s leader from Poland, Piotr Myszka, had a below average day adding two sevenths to yesterday's 2-1, leaving him fifth overall. “I like these conditions, but I made many mistakes today, I wasn’t starting so well. Twice I was 15th at the top mark and I really had to fight to get back to the guys in front,” says Myszka, so sails normally out of Gdansk. With 12 sailors, Poland is fielding the biggest team in the men’s fleet. “We have a very big team, the Polish Sailing Team, with guys who are good in the light and good in the strong wind. So we fight all the time and we bring the level up. Denmark is not so far from Poland so it is easy to get here.”
The day concluded with a final race for both women’s fleets. These were won by Italian Olympic legend Alessandra Sensini and Poland’s Zofia Klepacka. This has left Chinese sailors leading the women’s fleet with Li Ling on 6 followed by Sasa Sun on 7, ahead of Israel’s Lee-el Korzits.
Racing at their second RS:X World Championship are the Bosch twins from France, who turned 19 yesterday. Sybille Bosch, in 33rd place, leads Leonare in 40th after today’s three races. “It has been really nice, with organisation, the tents and today the wind was really good and the races were fast,” said Leonare, who admits she is still getting used to racing in big conditions. “For me it is harder when it is windy but today I was more confident and I was more fun.”
Britain's Nick Dempsey lies 13th with a 3-5 today after a disappointing opener yesterday. Bryony Shaw has had better individual scores but lies 14th in what is turning out to be the more competitive women's fleet.
Overnight tonight the wind is forecast to back into the northwest and will drop to around 10 knots for tomorrow’s racing. With the final qualifications scheduled, Tuesday is scheduled to start at 1100 local time with two races for the men, followed by two or possibly three for the women.