DAY 3 | ALABAU STEPS UP

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.

Women’s Windsurfer – RS:X

The reigning Olympic Champion Marina Alabau (ESP) had the best day from the Women’s Windsurfer fleet’s three races, and she moves to within striking distance of the podium. “It’s been a very hard and complicated day, because of the gusty winds,” said Alabau. “I nearly had a heart attack. But I’m super happy, it’s been my best day. For me this was a very important day. If I wanted to fight for the medals this was the day to do it well, otherwise I would have been out of the fight.” Her coach, Nico Beudou, added, “At last today I’ve seen the Marina I know.”

Flavia Tartaglini (ITA) holds the lead by a single point from Charline Picon (FRA) and Stefania Elfutina (RUS) who sit on equal points, although a protest against the Italian by Demita Vega (MEX) could see a change of leader overnight.

READ ABOUT:  Men’s Windsurfer – RS:X

RESULTS AFTER 9 RACES

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Text: World Sailing | Photography – Sailing Energy

DAY 2 |A GOOD DAY FOR TARTAGLINI

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.

Women’s Windsurfer – RS:X

It was Flavia Tartaglini’s (ITA) turn to rip up the race course in the Women’s Windsurfer on day two of competition, the Italian running away with a 1,1,4 scoreline and deposing yesterday’s winner, Charline Picon (FRA), from the top of the leader-board. The French sailor still had a very respectable day in difficult conditions to sit just a point behind the leader.

Tartaglini commented, “I was not expecting these good results, to tell you the truth. I was feeling ready, but in others regattas I have also felt ready and then things have not gone so well. I’m trying to go day by day and race by race. We still have more than the half of the races to finish the Olympics, but at least this evening I’m going back home very happy.”

As to her growing rivalry with the French sailor, Tartaglini observed, “Charline was leading yesterday and today she was behind me in all three races. But that means just that today I have had a good day. She’s one of the strong contenders, so maybe I’m also one of them. Today was my best day, I hope I will continue in this way. I have the speed and I have the training, and we are all there in the fight.”

Stefania Elfutina (RUS) sits just five points back in third overall, and is having the regatta of her young life. “I’m young, yes, I’m 19 years old,” said the Russian. “But I think that’s not a problem to be able to fight for the medals together with the most experienced women. Nobody expects anything from me, so I just do what I love, and sometimes I can do it well and be in the fight.”

Maybe the challenging nature of the Rio race courses are playing to Elfutina’s strengths. “Today the racing conditions were very complicated, with the currents and the wind, but it was hard for everybody. In the last race the wind dropped and we had to pump a lot. I feel tired, that’s for sure. We had three hard races today, so it’s nice to have a rest day tomorrow to charge some new energy.”

READ ABOUT:  Men’s Windsurfer – RS:X

RESULTS AFTER 6 RACES

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Text: World Sailing | Photography – Sailing Energy

DAY 1 | A SIGH OF RELIEF FOR PICON

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

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 10TH 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 6th 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 recognize a few friends. It was a great spirit and great to be part of.”

READ ABOUT:  Men’s Windsurfer – RS:X

RESULTS AFTER 3 RACES

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Text: World Sailing | Photography – Sailing Energy