Confused Sailors Left Scratching Their Heads

 The second day of the 2013 RS:X European Windsurfing Championships, the RS:X Open Youth European Windsurfing Championships and the RS:One European Championships has left many 249 sailors from 38 countries feeling dazed and confused.


The Women and Girls were out first, starting where they ended yesterday – rigging up in the rain and gusty conditions. As they reached their respective race courses the rain had eased but the next challenge for the sailors was some incredibly challenging winds – going from 8 to 18 knots and swinging back and forth with no real consistency.


In the Women’s fleet, each of the three races had a different winner with the spoils going to Blanca Manchon (ESP), Laura Linares (ITA) and Bryony Shaw (GBR). Shaw’s win in the final race was pretty emphatic having finished before the next sailor had even entered into the slalom.


Shaw commented, “The conditions were really challenging, both shifty and variable in strength. You could be on the start line with twenty seconds to go in eight knots which suddenly built to fifteen necessitating a change to the whole game plan at the very last minute. That coupled with a building tide made every race totally unique – a real challenge!”.


Shaw sits in third place at the end of day with Natalia Kosinska (NZL) in second and Maja Dziarnowska (POL) holding onto her lead. Kosinska and Charline Picon (FRA) had the most consistent day, managing to read the conditions the best. Picon won the French Championships here in October but insists that there is no local knowledge that would have helped with any of today’s races.


Over on the Youth’s course all of the top three girls from yesterday were racking up some big scores. Heller Hadar (ISR) was most in tune with the conditions to post an impressive 1,1,3 score line and rocket her way up the leaderboard into sixth overall, discarding her OCS from yesterday. However it was another Israeli who jumped into the overall lead, Sahar Tibi overhauling the Brits of Saskia Sills and Noelle Finch and developing a five point lead.


Saskia Sills – “I just struggled to get into a rhythm. In the second race the top ten girls were all trying to sail without the daggerboard but it just didn’t work out for us. We went around the top mark pretty down the pack and we had to work hard to keep our results sensible – it was definitely my discard.”


In the afternoon when the Men and Boys came out the conditions were very much the same – tough going. However, like Tibi in the morning, Nick Dempsey (GBR) posted a 1,2,1 scoreline, seemingly in touch with the weather gods and reading the conditions perfectly.  He has now increased his overall lead at the end of day two.


Dempsey said,” Having won the first race of the day, it took the pressure off me and I just relaxed and enjoyed the racing. It was definitely tricky out there but it seemed to all come good for me today.”  For the rest, it was a tough day in the office and one which required a lot of effort to make sure that, as the fleets split into gold and silver, the sailors are the right side of the cut.


Piotr Myszka (POL) was the only sailor in the group to blot Nick Dempsey’s card taking the second race win from him. “This is a tricky place to sail, I just find the shifts so difficult to read and I am not reacting fast enough to them at the moment. Nick was amazing as he was reading everything so well – I managed to take one race from him but the other races were a fight for me to get any kind of a result from them. I am still in the event and hoping to be in a position to challenge for silver or even gold come the medal races.”


Compatriot Przemyslaw Miarczynski, or ‘Pont’ as he is affectionately known, is sitting in second place, tied with Byron Kokkalanis (GRE). In the other group Shahar Zubari (ISR) took two race wins either side of an indifferent 13th to sit in fourth place.


Local sailors Pierre Le Coq and Louis Giard are the best of the French and sit in 6th and 8th respectively.


In the Youth Men’s fleet the Europeans still aren’t getting it all their own way with Baustista Saudibet (ARG) and Chun Ting Lee (HKG) holding first and third. Splitting the two is Pole, Radoslw Furmanski. All of the top three took a race win today with only Furmanski having a better set of results and not posting a discard. Just a point off the top three Kieran Martin (GBR) also had a solid day posting 2,5,4 and these four have a clear lead over the chasing pack of French and Israeli sailors.


Thursday is a rest day for all fleets with many sailors looking to take in some of the beautiful sights of Brest and the surrounding areas before refocusing the mind ready for Round 2 and then the medal races. Both the Senior Men and Women will now split into gold and silver fleets as well the Youth Men; the Youth Women remain in a single Group.


The 2013 RS:X European Windsurfing Championships, the RS:X Open Youth European Windsurfing Championships and the RS:One European Championships will be organised in Brest, France by Les Crocodiles de L'Elorn in co-operation with the French Sailing Federation (Federation Française de Voile, FFV) and NeilPryde Bikes from the 30th June to 7th July.

by Bas

Photo Christian Chardon