ISAF RSX WORLDS
Watch the video from the final press conference and an exclusive interview with event winner, Ricardo Santos.
Background: Every windsurfer on the RS:X is hoping to go to the Olympics. Without this dream, no one would continue the physical and mental hardship that is inherent to this kind of windsurfing. This World Championship was the last chance for windsurfer’s to qualify for their countries. Of the 45 countries and 200 competitors that competed, only 25 places would be awarded. Many countries also use this event to select their one female and male participant for the Games – by selecting this far in advance all their financial support can be focused on that single athlete. Inter-team rivalries can flare up as the stakes are high for this major championship.
Conditions: Wind: The wind in this area of Portugal is reliably windy at this time of year. This year local beach reports of force 5-7 were reported daily. But in the harbour mouth, where the racing was held, the wind was very confused. It blew off the city of Cascais from both the east and west sides often leaving areas of no wind where the two currents collided. Tide: Cascais is at the mouth of the river Tagus, which flows strongly past the city. A westerly wind would blow against the current creating steep waves. The results of Alessandra Sensini (ITA), 2006 World Champion, reflected this. Sensini has spent most of her life and much of this year training on the flat waters of Lake Garda.
Men: Miarczynski Przemyslaw (POL) took an early lead with his team mate Piotr Myszka (POL). At the end of the qualifying rounds Miarczynski took a precarious lead. He had won four races but also finished 12th in one. Each sailor can only discard one race in the entire regatta, and this would be Miarczynski’s worst race. The fleet was split into three ranked fleets: Gold, Silver and Bronze in which the remainder of the regatta would be fought. Putting all the best windsurfers together in the Gold fleet made starting more difficult and the more experienced windsurfers started to bank away consistent results. Local racer, Joao Rodrigues (POR), sailed his season\'s best. In one race Rodrigues finished 2nd despite breaking his daggerboard in two while pumping towards the windward mark. Nick Dempsey (GBR) moved slowly but steadily up the rankings from 8th to within grasp of the Silver medal. Ricardo Santos (BRA) continued to improve and had a substantial lead as he entered into the final race. The last race of the regatta is always very special. Judges on the water watch for any infringements of the rules and hand out penalties where necessary. The race counts for double and finishes with a slalom course. It was on this very slalom that the final positions for this World Championships were decided for the men. A gust propelled Santos back into Gold medal position while Dempsey and Miarczynski battled for the silver medal on the final reach.
MEN RESULTS: 1. Ricardo Santos, 2. Miarczynski Przemyslaw, 3. Nick Dempsey
Women: The women’s fleet boasted the greatest number of World and European Champions. Since the RSX class started no woman has won more than one major title, showing how fast this exciting sport is changing each year. Jian Yin (CHN), who won Silver in Athens, won all the light wind races but struggled to make an impression in the breeze. Her team mate Quibin Chen (CHN) led the fleet in the stronger winds but neither put the two together. Faustine Merret (FRA), current Olympic Champion, was racing well but had to include a 37th in her score after a premature start and kit breakage. Jessica Crisp (AUS) ex-PWA champion, came back from some horrendous starts to finish each race inside the top ten. This consistency won her her Bronze medal, and almost silver. Barbara Kendall (NZL) managed to hold on to her Silver medal after a disasterous final race where she led the first lap but finished the race in 8th. At the young age of 21, Zofia Klepacka (POL) sailed in a league of her own, finishing the regatta 25 points ahead of Kendall. This is her first championship win since the ISAF Youth Worlds in 2003.
WOMEN RESULTS: 1. Zofia Klepacka, 2. Barbara Kendall, 3. Jessica Crisp
Photo Credit: Hugh Sims-Williams