Last of the Mohicans first in Kerteminde
Dutch sailor Dorian van Rijsselberge has launched himself into the lead today at the RS:X World Championship, with the final two qualification series races held off Kerteminde, in the centre of Denmark.
With six races now sailed and the discard coming into play, van Rijsselberge, 22, dropped his black flag disqualification from race one and with an impressive three firsts is now on just 10 points, five ahead of Poland’s Piotr Myszka and Beijing Gold medallist Tom Ashley.
Van Rijsselberge said of his performance today: “I was confident and it was nice racing. I was a bit unlucky in the first upwind leg of the second race. I went around 19th but I came back to fifth. There were a lot of opportunities. The second race was really shifty. It went both ways. We have so many different modes on the board, that it was very interesting.”
This year the young Dutch sailor has only been off the podium once in the five races he has competed in. He attributes his success to “a lot of hard work, a lot of fun and training with the right people,” although he has recently shed his curly locks in favour of a Mohican. “Actually forget about the hardwork and the right people: it is just the haircut!”
His training partners include New Zealand’s Jon-Paul Tobin, now holding fourth and France’s leading sailor at this regatta, Alexandre Guyader, who shot up the leaderboard from 16th to eighth today.
While Poland’s Piotr Myszka had the best score of today with a 1-4, Guyader was not far behind with a 3-6. “The first day I was a bit frustrated because twice I was in the top ten but the wind was a bit crazy [he ended up with a 12 and a 25] and it was difficult to read the wind. Since yesterday it has been better,” said Guyader.
British hopes are on the rise with Nick Dempsey winning the second race today, as did Beijing bronze medallist Bryony Shaw. Dempsey, the defending World Champion, is now tenth overall. “I seem to be making it quite difficult for myself,” he admitted. “I made a mistake in the first race and went from 3rd to seventh. Normally I don’t tend to go backwards much.” Less congestion lured him into taking what turned out to be the wrong leeward gate mark.
In race two Dempsey was buried on the start line but recovered to seventh by the first weather mark rounding and managed to pull into the lead on the second beat, just by doing a better job reading the giant shifts. “In a venue like this everyone can count some big scores. It is all to play for although I think I have left myself too much to do. This venue is very shifty, very difficult and now we are in gold fleet it will be even harder.”
The Polish team will be pleased. They have second and seventh placed sailors in the Men’s fleet and after two races held in the Women’s today (bringing them up to five in total – one short of the Men), they now hold first and sixth there, with Maja Dziarnowska into first place. Her lead is small, just one point in front of France’s Charline Picon.
Picon, who recently won Skandia Sail for Gold, today scored a 4-1. “The wind was very shifty and it is hard when you are in front to stay there, because there are gusts and downwind the girls close in on you.”
Based out of La Rochelle on France’s Atlantic coast, Picon came to Kerteminde in June for training with the French team, but on that occasion they didn’t have the same conditions. “An offshore wind - it is hard, but it is very interesting,” she says of this week’s conditions.
While four time Olympic windsurfing medallist Alessandra Sensini finished the qualification stage in fifth place, another ‘grande dame’ of the RS:X Women’s class was also firing on all cylinders today. Australian Jessica Crisp has been windsurfing competively for more than 20 years now. She has been to the last three Olympic Games where she has always finished tantalisingly close to the podium, but never on it. “I was good when we didn’t have to pump and now we have to pump Alessandra is much better - she is stronger,” Crisp admits.
Today Crisp posted a 3-2, hoisting her up the leaderboard to 19, level with Sensini and Poland’s Zofia Klepacka. Discarding a DSQ from race one also helped. “I was in a pile up yesterday - I caused a girl to fall in which wasn’t great, which is why I got thrown out,” she confides.
Crisp says she enjoyed today’s first race, held in lighter more shifty conditions, similar to those she is used to on Sydney Harbour. “The trick for today was go to the wind, and use what you have and reposition. I was lucky - in the last downwind I stayed in a gust and went from 8th to third, so that pretty good. I couldn’t complain about that.”
She was training up in Norway immediately before coming to Kerteminde, which she says is relatively similar. “It is a really pretty town and the sailing conditions are great here, because it is different all the time. Every day it comes from a different direction. And it is warmer than Norway!”
With the qualification series complete, tomorrow is a lay day at the RS:X World Championship and competitors will be using the break to take in Kirteminde and the other treasures to be found on the island of Fyn. Racing resumes on Thursday and Friday with the fleet divided into gold and silver fleets prior to the top 10 show down in Saturday’s medal races.
Women - top 10
1 - POL 7, Maja Dziarnowska 1-(12)-2-2-10 15
2 - FRA 4, Picon Charline 7-4-(10)-4-1 16
3 - CHN 8, Sun Sasa 2-1-4-(20)-11 18
4 - CHN 7, Li Ling 1-3-2-(22)-12 18
5 - ITA 25, Alessandra Sensini 9-2-1-7-(11) 19
6 - POL 8, Zofia Klepacka 8-(34 OCS)-1-4-6 19
7 - AUS 1, Jessica Crisp (34 DSQ)-6-8-2-3 19
8 - ISR 25, Lee-el Korzits 3-5-3-(16)-10 21
9 - GBR 94, Bryony Shaw 4-10-(12)-8-1 23
10 - ESP 1, Blanca Manchon (12)-9-5-5-4 23
Men - top 10
1 - NED 8, Dorian van Rijsselberge (57 BFD)-2-1-1-1-5 10
2 - POL 82, Piotr Myszka 2-1-(7)-7-1-4 15
3 - NZL 181,Tom Ashley 1-5-3-4-(18)-2 15
4 - NZL 151,Jon-Paul Tobin 6-6-1-2-2-(17) 17
5 - GRE 8, Byron Kokalanis 1-7-4-3-(22)-3 18
6 - ISR 21,Nimrod Mashiah 7-(12)-2-1-6-3 19
7 - POL 126, Przemyslaw Miarczynski 6-3-2-3-(11)-8 22
8 - FRA 7, Alexandre Guyader 12-(25)-4-2-3-6 27
9 - CYP 1, Andreas Cariolou 3-(16)-5-9-9-6 32
10- GBR 1, Nick Dempsey 16-(18)-3-5-7-1 32
Full results here