Final day of racing canned
Top British windsurfer Nick Dempsey was denied the chance to upgrade his second place on the leaderboard into a gold medal finish when strong winds put paid to racing on the final day of the RS:X Windsurfing World Championships in Cadiz, Spain, today.
Dempsey, the 2009 RS:X World Champion, was gearing up for a final showdown with Frenchman Julien Bontemps with the two effectively tied for the lead heading into the double-pointing scoring medal race.
But with winds around the 35 knot mark on Wednesday, organisers were unable to get racing underway so the Skandia Team GBR sailor had to settle for silver behind Bontemps after an otherwise positive week.
“It’s been really full-on with the conditions here, but it’s great to be racing at the front of the fleet again,” said Dempsey of his performance in the 120-man fleet.
“It’s just a bit frustrating that I didn’t have the chance to race today and turn silver into gold. You don’t get the chance to be a World Champion that many times so it’s pretty frustrating not to get the opportunity to better my position.
“I was expecting some tough competition – my training over the winter has gone really well, but you’re never really sure how it will pay off until you get out there and line up against the top guys again.”
Buoyed by his result in Cadiz, Dempsey – the 2004 Athens bronze medallist – will now turn his attentions towards home and preparations in Weymouth and Portland for the Skandia Sail for Gold Regatta in June, and the Olympic Games where he will aim to put the bitter disappointment of his fourth place finish behind him.
“Weymouth is definitely the main focus for me this year, but it was still really important for me to do well at the Worlds,” said the 31-year-old. “I’ve trained hard over the winter so it was important for me to get back to winning again and to know that I’m going into Weymouth now with everything on track and going to plan.
“I look back on the week and I do feel that I was unlucky on a number of occasions – you can always look back at a few points that you lost during the week and few things that didn’t quite go to plan but I’m actually really happy with how I sailed, and I feel my form has been the best I’ve seen in a long time.”
In spite of a lingering chest infection having hampered her World Championships preparations, Beijing bronze medallist Bryony Shaw still managed to equal her previous best finish at an RS:X World Championship, finishing fourth overall.
“I’m really happy with how the week turned out,” said the 28-year-old. “Two days before the event I was literally about to book a flight and go home but I seemed to turn a corner, found my energy coming back so decided to race to try and just try and take what I could out of it.
“It was really worthwhile, and we can take a lot away from the event especially in terms of our equipment settings in those really windy conditions and also learning which of the girls is fighting hard and who your main rivals are for when those windy days come in Weymouth which I’m sure they will!”
Shaw’s training partner Izzy Hamilton was the second-highest U21 sailor in the women’s event, in 17th overall, while Connor Bainbridge was the fourth U21 sailor in the men’s fleet, in 30th overall.