DAY 3 | VAN RIJSELBERGHE MASTERS TRICKY CONDITIONS

The previous word of the day was ‘tricky’. The word of the day for those that went out to sea on day four was ‘survival’.

The Olympic sailing competition again produced the extremes of flat water and shifty conditions on the inshore courses with the giant wind and size-of-a-house waves out on the seaward courses. This regatta is testing every extreme of a sailor’s ability, which some argue is exactly what the Olympic competition should be.

Men’s Windsurfer – RS:X

Dorian van Rijsselberghe (NED) turned the tables on Nick Dempsey (GBR) by finding a level of consistency in tricky, variable conditions that no one else could match. The defending Olympic Champion’s scores, 4,1,1, have lifted him eight points clear of the London 2012 silver medalist who still had a good day to hold second overall, now five points in front of the reigning World Champion Piotr Myszka (POL).

These three have broken away from the rest of the pack, with fourth-placed Byron Kokkalanis (GRE) now 16 points off the podium.

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RESULTS AFTER 9 RACES

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Text: World Sailing | Photography – Sailing Energy

DAY 2 | VAN RIJSELBERGHE FEELING GOOD

Day 2 of the Olympic Sailing Competition produced lighter winds more expected at this time of year in Rio, and the south-easterly breezes were mostly around five to seven knots with only occasional moments in double figures.

Men’s Windsurfer – RS:X

Nick Dempsey (GBR) continues to lead the Men’s Windsurfer competition after another good day on the water, marred only by a 14th place in Race 6. Currently the London 2012 silver medallist leads by a point from the reigning Olympic Champion, Dorian van Rijsselberghe (NED), who has the added benefit of a fifth place as his discard, to Dempsey’s 14th. That could be a critical difference later on in the regatta.

“Good day today, with a four and two firsts,” said van Rijsselberghe. “I’ve been lucky! Sometimes lucky and sometimes good. Everything is going well, we have done six races so we are not at the halfway point yet. But I’m feeling good, I’m happy about today and just need to try to keep going like this.” With the wind dropping throughout the afternoon, it was physical day of pumping the sail to keep the board moving. “The last race was almost unraceable. But it is what it is.”

The reigning World Champion Piotr Myszka (POL) moves up third place ahead of Byron Kokkalanis (GRE).

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RESULTS AFTER 6 RACES

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Text: World Sailing | Photography – Sailing Energy

DAY 1 | DEMPSEY ON TOP

Guanabara Bay delivered some great sailing conditions to launch the Olympic Sailing Competition today, but it was still very, very tricky out there.

Men’s Windsurfer – RS:X

Nick Dempsey (GBR) could scarcely believe the fairy tale start to his fifth Olympic Games. Just days away from his 36th birthday, the British veteran managed to pick up scores of 1,1,2. The defending Olympic Champion Dorian van Rijsselberghe 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. Asked why he had shaved his head, as he had done four years earlier at London 2012, he said, “The Olympics are a good excuse to shave my head. Otherwise my wife wouldn’t let me do it.”

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.

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.

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RESULTS AFTER 3 RACES

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Text: World Sailing | Photography – Sailing Energy