Thursday 7 August 2014 – Dorian van Rijsselberge (NED) and Charline Picon (FRA) took the Men’s and Women’s RS:X honours at Aquece Rio – International Sailing Regatta 2014 as the Medal Races on Pão de Açucar brought the windsurfing proceedings to an end.
Giles Scott (GBR) wrapped up gold in the Finn with a race to spare whilst the Medal Race places were confirmed in the 49er, 49erFX, Finn and Nacra 17.
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil was plagued with light winds across the five race areas making life difficult for the Race Committees and the sailors. A light south easterly breeze was present with all fleets, bar the 49erFX and Nacra 17, getting at least one race in.
Dorian van Rijsselberge (NED) wrapped up gold in the Men’s RS:X by taking a fourth in the Medal Race.
The Dutchman ended up ten points clear of Pierre Le Coq (FRA) who took second in the Medal Race to clinch silver whilst Piotr Myszka (POL) picked up bronze.
“It was a nice Medal Race, ” said van Rijsselberge. “It was the first race where we weren’t planing this week so that was interesting and a little bit different. We coped well and there was enough to play for. It was pretty shifty still but it was fun.”
On taking a good win on Olympic waters the Dutchman added, “It’s good for my self esteem. We’ve taken in knowledge this whole week, from the wind, the waves, the current and all the little things you need to recognise next time you come back.”
Van Rijsselberge had a narrow three point lead over Byron Kokkalanis (GRE) heading into the Medal Race with plenty to play for on the race course, “I had to keep an eye on Byron so he wasn’t going to be two places in front of me. I also had to keep an eye on Ponce [Przemyslaw Miarczynski] because if he won, it wouldn’t have gone well for me either. It was funny to keep an eye on everybody but in the end it played out well.”
Kokkalanis finished at the back of the pack and dropped out of the medals to fourth. France’s Le Coq capitalised on this as he explained, “The last race was really intense. I didn’t have a good start but I took a little shift from the right and I managed to come back a little bit. After that I knew that the Polish guy had to be behind me so I concentrating on them and trying to keep them behind me. And that’s what I did.
“I passed second at the first upwind and I was fighting with the Chinese guy for first place and finally I managed to keep the Polish behind, that was my first objective and I finished second. I didn’t know the Greek guy was so far behind so it was a little bit of a surprise for me to finish second. It was a great surprise.”
Plenty was discovered and picked by the fleet throughout the week and Le Coq concluded, “It was a really interesting week. We had a lot of different conditions. Mainly planing conditions but today was nice to finish in light winds. I worked a lot in light winds because I heard that in Rio we would get light winds and that’s not been true.”
Charline Picon (FRA) took a 16 point lead into the final day and stylishly sealed gold with a Medal Race bullet.
The French racer mastered Rio’s conditions and finished within the top five in every race but despite her dominance she ventured into the Medal Race unsure what to expect, “I was not so confident this morning because light winds aren’t my favourite conditions. I know I had to finish in the top eight but I had a very good start and fought for the win. I pushed very hard with a lot of pumping and put everything into it.
“I am very happy to win in light winds. At the Europeans I won the Medal Race in 30 knots and here I won the Medal Race in light winds so I am very happy and confident for Santander.”
Picon started exceptionally well and was able to capitalise on her start and push forward. Sailing clean air Picon pushed forward, asserting her dominance to finish well ahead of Lilian de Geus (NED), who finished second to seal silver. De Geus knocked Flavia Tartaglini (ITA) down to bronze medal position whilst Marina Alabau (ESP) was pushed down to fifth
Much has been learnt by the RS:X racers as Picon explained, “Yesterday [6 August] was very nice because we had the upwind mark just 20 metres away from Sugarloaf and it was planing conditions. It was so nice.
“It’s an incredible bay because everybody said it’s a no wind place and there’s no wind, no wind, no wind and we did six races in planing so I think we have to be very good in all winds and I’m happy with that.”
RS:X attentions now turn to the Santander 2014 ISAF Sailing World Championship where 50% of the Rio 2016 Olympic Sailing Competition spots will be decided.
The Finn fleet took to the Niterói course and Giles Scott (GBR) was bang on form once again. He took his fifth bullet of the week and also secured a fourth which gives him an unassailable 25 point lead over Jorge Zarif (BRA) going into the Medal Race.
After racing Scott said, “I’m really happy. It allows me to have a relaxed approach to tomorrow which I suppose is good and bad in some ways but just looking forward to the Medal Race tomorrow and going racing again.
“It’s been a windy week which was kind of unexpected in all honesty but the week’s gone great and we managed to complete a full series so it’s been a very good week.
“For a lot of the sailors it’s been a bit of a surprise as to how good the breeze has been for the two weeks we have been here. We haven’t seen too much wind under 9 knots. The majority of the fleet came here expecting 7 knots tops. This week it wasn’t quite like that so I think in that regard, actually knowing what the wind speed is, is a big step for learning.”
Scott only finished outside the top five on one occasion, a seventh in Race 1 and he has seamlessly found good form in the mixed bag of conditions that Rio has thrown out.
The race for the remaining podium spots is wide open with any sailor placed second to fifth realistically in with a shout of the medals. Zarif is second on 45 points with Ed Wright (GBR) third on 46 points. Jonathan Lobert (FRA) and Andrew Murdoch (NZL) have 50 and 55 points respectively.
49er and 49erFX
Peter Burling and Blair Tuke (NZL) moved to the top of the tree in the 49er after taking the single race victory on Escola Naval. In fickle conditions the Kiwis edged a tight race as very little separated the fleet.
Burling and Tuke lead on 19 points, tied with overnight leaders Julien D’Ortoli and Noe Delpech (FRA). Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen (AUS) are third on 26 points.
The 49erFX were due to start racing after the 49ers but with light shifty winds prevalent across the course, no further racing was possible on the day.
Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze (BRA) keep their lead on 10 points followed by Alex Maloney and Molly Meech (NZL) on 15 and Olivia Price and Eliza Solly (AUS) on 22 points.
Three single point theatre style races will decide the medals on Friday 8 August.
Men’s and Women’s 470
A solitary point separates ISAF Rolex World Sailors of the Year Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie (NZL) and Anne Haeger and Briana Provancha (USA) in the Women’s 470.
Racing on Copacabana the 470 fleets only managed a single race in testing conditions. The Americans took the honours but were closely followed by the Kiwis who took second. As a result Aleh and Powrie lead on eight points with the Americans on nine points. Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark (GBR) sit in third.
A ninth from Australia’s Mat Belcher and Will Ryan saw them keep their lead in the Men’s 470. The Aussies are 11 points clear of Luke Patience and Elliot Willis (GBR). Sofian Bouvet and Jeremie Mion (FRA) won the day’s race and are third overall.
Laser and Laser Radial
Tom Burton (AUS) leads Nick Thompson (GBR) by two points after the Australian took a second and the Briton took a third in the only race on the Ponte race area. Rutger van Schaardenburg (NED) remains in contention on 24 points.
Robert Scheidt (BRA) took the day’s race victory and progresses up to fourth.
In the Laser Radial, Evi Van Acker (BEL) moved to the top after a second place in Race 6, the only race of the day for the Radial fleet. Van Acker leads Tuula Tenkanen (FIN) by one point whilst Anne Marie Rindom (DEN) is third, two points off Tenkanen.
Overnight leader Annalise Murphy (IRL) struggled in the lighter breeze and posted a 20th place finish. As a result she drops to seventh. Race victor Erika Reineke (USA) moves up to sixth.
No Nacra 17 racing was possible on the fifth day however an additional race has been added. A new Race 4 has been included in the series following a protest by many of the teams to reinstate a race result that was abandoned upon completion.
As it stands, Billy Besson and Marie Riou (FRA) lead on 19 points, Darren Bundock and Nina Curtis (AUS) are second on 24 points tied with Ben Saxton and Hannah Diamond who occupy the final podium spot.
Racing resumes at 12:00 on Friday 8 August. The Finn Medal Race will commence first on the Pão de Açucar race area and will be followed by the Nacra 17 at 12:50, the 49er at 13:45 and the 49erFX at 15:00
The remaining fleets will start at 12:00 inside Guanabara Bay.
Media coverage and results from the Aquece Rio will be delivered by the Rio 2016 team and ISAF through www.aquecerio.com/en/competicoes.php and http://www.sailing.org/2014-test-event.php
About The International Sailing Federation
The International Sailing Federation (ISAF) is the world governing body for the sport of sailing.
ISAF is made up of 140 Member National Authorities (MNAs), who are its principal members, and responsible for the decision making process that governs the sailing world.
There are currently more than 100 ISAF Class Associations, ranging from the small dinghy classes for young people up to 60 foot ocean racers.
Sailing is a lifetime sport enjoyed right across the world.
The sport encompasses a massive range of disciplines and events including Olympic sailing, offshore sailing, windsurfing, match racing, team racing, fleet racing and disabled sailing.