Photos: Sailing Energy

Dempsey flies

Racing underway for the Lasers and RS:Xes at Rio 2016

Monday August 8th 2016, Author: James Boyd, Location: Brazil

Nick Dempsey got off to a blazing start on the opening day of sailing at the Rio 2016 Olympics finishing one point short of a perfect scoreline after three races were sailed in the RS:X Men’s windsurfing today.

Sunny skies and southeast that varied across the race course from 14 knot down to half that were just want competitors wanted to begin their Olympic campaigns, and some of the favourites romped away to a dominant startm although others faltered badly. While some clear leaders have already emerged in the two Windsurfer events, most of the top players scored deep results in both the Laser and Laser Radial fleets.

Men's Windsurfer - RS:X

Two time World Champion Dempsey, who turns 36 on Saturday, could scarcely believe the fairy tale start to his fifth Olympic Games, with an opening day scoreline of 1,1,2. London 2012 gold medallist Dorian Van Rijsselberge (NED) couldn't quite match that level of excellence, but his freshly shaved head wasn't hurting the Dutchman too much either as he finished the day with ever-improving scores of 5,3,1. Byron Kokkalanis also sailed very solidly to notch up scores of 2,2,6, and puts him in 3rd overall on equal points with Rijsselberghe.

Dempsey was rightly pleased with his day. "A perfect start. I was pretty nervous this morning, really nervous. Training has been going really well, sailing fast. I was just nervous about something not going right, but it went so well. In the last race, the breeze dropped a few bombs on the course. It caught a few people out, a few people did well out of it, and I managed to hold on to 2nd, which was probably the best bit of the day."

The issue of debris in the water has been a big talking point in the build-up to these Games, but Dempsey said, "Today was the best it's ever been. When you're winning a race and going fast, the only thing you worry about is another factor, like hitting something in the water, breaking a fin. But it didn't, the water was fine and it's a good result for Rio."

Dempsey came out of the blocks meaning business as, in virtually carbon copy races one and two, he led from start to finish, keeping a healthy distance between himself and second-placed Kokkalanis in each. In race three he again led for half the race before settling for second behind Van Rijsselberge.

"Three good starts off the line and I was just really fast so it was good, brilliant. If you are fast and you are out in front then it’s pretty simple. I was pretty nervous this morning. Training has been going well, I’ve been sailing really fast, and I was just nervous about something not happening, something not quite going right. But today was absolutely perfect, it couldn’t have been better. But it’s early days, we are three races into a 13 race series. It’s brilliant and it’s what you dream of as a start to your Olympic Games so we will see.”

Women's Windsurfer - RS:X

Charline Picon (FRA) had a stunning start to her week, scoring 1,2,1 from the opening three races. Next best was Stefaniya Elfutina (RUS) who lies in second place ahead of Flavia Tartaglini (ITA). The defending Olympic Champion Marina Alabau (ESP) had a solid day to lie in 5th overall but one of the other pre-event favourites, Bryony Shaw (GBR) struggled and sits in tenth at the moment.

Picon was breathing a sigh of relief after racing. "I had a lot of pressure and to begin like that? Well I couldn't have imagined that yesterday because I was a little bit stressed. I'm happy but I need to stay focussed."

Local sailor Patricia Freitas (BRA) revelled in the stronger breezes to lie in sixth overall. "We had a very good day, sunshine and strong winds, unexpected for this time of year. The Brazilian spirit is everywhere, it's very special for us to have people watching us racing because that doesn't happen very often in sailing. Thanks to the Bay we can set up a good place for the people to watch, and when we were rounding the mark near the beach I could recognise a few friends. It was a great spirit and great to be part of."

Britain's Bryony Shaw had a slightly more difficult day to contend with as her first race was blighted by a technical issue seeing her finish seventh and in her second she got caught on the committee boat line, taking her into the water causing her to finish in 20th place.
Although regaining her composure for the third race to finish ninth, the Beijing 2008 bronze medallist will want to put on a good performance to get back on track in their three races tomorrow.

Laser Radial

The gold and silver medallists from London 2012 seemed to be lying in first and second overall respectively after two races on the Escola Naval.

Lijia Xu (CHN) posted a third in the first race and then lost the lead to Gintare Scheidt (LTU) in second and was further held back by carrying out a 720deg turn following a port-starboard incident at the leeward mark dropping her to fourth. Unfortunately Xu was protested by Paige Railey (USA) who she's infringed and was subsequently disqualified from this race. (Croatia's Tina Mihelic was disqualified for a similar infringement in race one.)

Prior to the protest Xu said: "It was very difficult out on the course. It has been a short campaign building up to Rio but I am really enjoying being back in the boat. My whole approach is different this time. I'm more aware of avoiding injury and keeping the body fit for competition.”

Gintare Scheidt was in a similar situation in race one where she finished second on the water only to later discovered that she had fallen foul of a U Flag disqualification (black flag-lite), for crossing the start line too soon.

As a result the current Radial leader with a 6-4 today, is London 2012 silver medallist Marit Bouwmeester (NED), who said: "I was very happy after the first race, because I didn't know until later that I was over the line. I sailed the second race really well, but I still have a really bad feeling about the day. My goal was to get two top tens, and even finishing first in the second race doesn't satisfy me. Now we have to be more safe, because there's only one discard which in this venue is really difficult.”

Other hotly fancied sailors also struggled to be consistent, including Annalise Murphy (IRL) who charged through the fleet to win the first race, but could only manage 14th in the next. Even so, the fourth-placed finisher from London 2012 currently lies in fourth overall just a single point behind Anne-Marie Rindom (DEN). "There was a lot to think about out there,” said Murphy. "Strong tide, big pressure differences up and down the race course. I was happy enough with the second race. It's going to be swings and roundabouts here, people are going to have good and bad races.”

It was a disappointing start for Team GBR's reigning World Champion, Alison Young, who posted a 13-17 and lies 11th overall at the end of day one. “It was a tricky day out there racing," she said. "There were lots of opportunities on the racecourse, but unfortunately I made a few too many mistakes so there’s room to work on through the rest of the week.
“The breeze is pretty shifty, we had some differences in the tide as well so it was just tricky racing. But I expect it to be challenging all the way through the week from what we’ve seen out here so far, so there are plenty of opportunities still to go.”


Tonci Stipanovic (CRO) won the first race in the Men's Singlehander and with a fifth in the second race, the Croatian lies in first overall. Sitting on equal points, but in second place, is Julio Alsogaray (ARG) with scores of 4,2.

"There were plenty of places to fall down the rankings today,” said Stipanovic, "so I am very happy with the day I've just had. Speed was good and conditions were difficult but what we expected for Rio.”

Sergei Komissarov (RUS) sailed a good first day to lie in third overall, while a number of the favourites made harder work of the conditions. Strangely emulating his wife in the Radial, Robert Scheidt (BRA) made a bad start to his campaign to win a record sixth Olympic medal in sailing, finishing 23rd in the opening race. But the Brazilian bounced back to take a clear lead and the winner's gun in race 2.

Scheidt enjoyed the difficulty of the day: "They were good, technical races because there was a rounding mark set very close to the coast and that influenced the wind, and it was changing the second part of the race course a lot. But this is part of the game. I already knew conditions in the Bay were going to be very variable.

"In the second race I managed to do the start better and go with the main contenders, play the game step by step,” said the 43-year-old. "I had a bit of an advantage at the first mark, and from there I managed to dominate the race. I'm pleased how I came back from the first race. There are still a lot of races ahead and a lot of points to fight for, and in the second race I showed that my age is not going to be a problem for me.”

Tom Burton (AUS) and reigning World Champion Nick Thompson (GBR) lie in 10th and 11th respectively with equal points, while the London 2012 silver medallist Pavlos Kontides (CYP) is back in 19th.

Thompson said: “It was a couple of mistakes on the first beat that put me at the back of the fleet at the windward marks, but from there I think I sailed really well.
“It was a really tricky first day. The first beats threw up some really big surprises with big shifts right at the top and I didn’t manage to get it right. I had a lot of positives to take from my windward mark positions but it wasn’t the results I was looking for.
“It’s mixed emotions; it’s good to get the regatta away but I would have liked a better day and I’m sure everyone will come in and say the same thing.”
Racing for all the four classes resumes at 1600 UTC tomorrow, while the Olympics also get underway for the Finn class meaning four-times World Champion Giles Scott begins his quest for Rio gold.

Laser Radial

Pos Nat Sailor R1 R2 Tot
1 NED Marit Bouwmeester 6 4 10
2 DEN Anne-Marie Rindom 5 8 13
3 AUS Ashley Stoddart 8 6 14
4 BEL Evi Van Acker 2 12 14
5 IRL Annalise Murphy 1 13 14
6 USA Paige Railey 15 2 17
7 ARG Lucía Falasca 7 11 18
8 CZE Veronika Kozelska Fenclova 11 7 18
9 FIN Tuula Tenkanen 4 16 20
10 SWE Josefin Olsson 17 5 22
11 GBR Alison Young 13 17 30
12 BLR Tatiana Drozdovskaya 22 10 32
13 BRA Fernanda Decnop Coelho 14 19 33
14 ITA Silvia Zennaro 10 24 34
15 JPN Manami Doi 21 14 35
16 ESP Alicia Cebrian 27 9 36
17 NOR Tiril Bue 18 18 36
18 TUR Nazli Donertas 16 20 36
19 FRA Mathilde de Kerangat 23 15 38
20 CAN Brenda Bowskill 9 30 39
21 LTU Gintare Scheidt 38 1 39
22 CHN Lijia Xu 3 38 41
23 CRO Tina Mihelic 38 3 41
24 HUN Mária Érdi 20 22 42
25 URU Dolores Moreira Fraschini 12 32 44
26 ARU Philipine Van Aanholt 24 21 45
27 SIN Elizabeth Yin 19 29 48
28 TUN Ines Gmati 28 23 51
29 THA Kamolwan Chanyim 25 27 52
30 LCA Stephanie Devaux-Lovell 29 25 54
31 PER Paloma Schmidt Gutiérrez 31 26 57
32 MAS Nur Shazrin Mohamad Latif 26 33 59
33 BER Cecilia Wollmann 32 28 60
34 POR Sara Carmo 34 31 65
35 COK Teau Mckenzie 30 36 66
36 ALG Imen Cherif Sahraoui 33 35 68
37 CAY Florence Allan 35 34 69



Pos Nat Sailor R1 R2 Tot
1 CRO Tonci Stipanović 1 5 6
2 ARG Julio Alsogaray 4 2 6
3 RUS Sergey Komissarov 2 9 11
4 ISV Cy Thompson 13 4 17
5 FRA Jean Baptiste Bernaz 11 10 21
6 NZL Sam Meech 19 3 22
7 BRA Robert Scheidt 23 1 24
8 NED Rutger van Schaardenburg 3 21 24
9 SIN Colin Cheng 5 20 25
10 AUS Tom Burton 17 8 25
11 GBR Nick Thompson 8 17 25
12 USA Charlie Buckingham 20 7 27
13 DEN Michael Hansen 6 24 30
14 POR Gustavo Lima 15 15 30
15 KOR Jeemin Ha 26 6 32
16 GUA Juan Ignacio Maegli Aguero 18 14 32
17 GER Philipp Buhl 16 16 32
18 SWE Jesper Stalheim 10 23 33
19 CYP Pavlos Kontides 7 31 38
20 MNE Milivoj Dukic 12 26 38
21 IRL Finn Lynch 14 27 41
22 EST Karl-Martin Rammo 24 19 43
23 FIN Kaarle Tapper 32 12 44
24 CZE Viktor Teply 29 18 47
25 ITA Francesco Marrai 39 11 50
26 TUN Youssef Akrout 21 29 50
27 HUN Benjamin Vadnai 9 44 53
28 RSA Stefano Raffaele Marcia 30 25 55
29 CHI Matias Del Solar 22 35 57
30 BEL Wannes Van Laer 27 30 57
31 EGY Ahmed Ragab 36 22 58
32 NOR Kristian Ruth 47 13 60
33 POL Kacper Ziemiński 34 28 62
34 THA Keerati Bualong 25 38 63
35 ESA Enrique Jose Arathoon Pacas 33 32 65
36 MAS Khairulnizam Mohd Afendy 38 33 71
37 VEN Jose Gutierrez 35 36 71
38 ESP Joaquín Blanco 28 47 75
39 BER Cameron Pimentel 31 45 76
40 TTO Andrew Lewis 42 34 76
41 PER Stefano Peschiera 37 40 77
42 COK Peter Elisa Henry 40 39 79
43 CAN Lee Parkhill 43 37 80
44 MEX Yanic Gentry 41 42 83
45 SEY Rodney Govinden 45 41 86
46 ANG Manuel Lelo 44 43 87



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