By David Bell

Late day of qualification – Those who dug deep progressed.
Overcast and the potential for rain, ushered a different weather pattern. The Storm that battered northern Britain earlier in the week has been smashing its way across Europe causing wide spread electrical blackouts in Marseille. We had a bit of a wait whilst the Peller(north) wind decided to co-operate it looked really light. The wind didn’t switch as like other days. It fluctuated from planing in the early races to sub planing in the later races. Those who dug deep progressed, others were not so lucky.

The race courses looked very different with the overcast conditions and definite avenues of wind filtered down the course. Trentino course further off shore was the windier by at least 5 knots, than Torbole. The competitors that continued to plane at all times, seemed to be so far ahead of their fleets I often had to check the colour of the streamers to determine the division. For example Alessandra Sensini (ITA25) had just passed the second mark in race one, and had a lead of around 30 seconds, she caught a couple of well calculated gusts, which helped her stretch her lead. By the time she was back at the top again she had advanced her lead by over two minutes, and was not looking back. I think she lapped all but about 12 other women. Faustine Merrit(FRA9) continued her string of top ten finishes with a 1, 1. Using her strength in the last race to pull ahead of early leader and team mate Pauline Perrin(FRA81). 

The race committee has been really diligent on their start infringements. There has been no general recalls as yet, but quite a few independent. In a fleet as big as this any slip up like this can be close to sudden disqualification. On Torbole course, a bunch up in the women’s start had a younger sailor accidently pushing Bryony Shaw(GBR94) over early. Causing her to score an OCS. Lee Korsits(ISR1111), Charline Picon(FRA4), and Antonia Frey(GRE1) also had OCS’s Marina Alabau(ESP5) was seen to have touched the start boat with her hand, right on the start signal, and the race committee protested her, she was scored a DSQ, which she can still drop. She is the overall leader at this moment, only one point ahead of Zofia Klepcka(POL8), and can not afford to have any more slips.

More of the same in the men’s races, Casper Bouman(NED52), Tom Ashley(NZL181) are still up in first place on 5 points, Casper has a drop of 1, where Tom has a drop of a 2. Absolutely impeccable racing from this pair has really thrown the championship bookies into a spin. Both are sailing to such a high level that they are on the beach changed and warming down before some people have even finished. Joeri Van Dijk(NED1)had a 6th place today which dropped him one point down from the equal first spot. The next three positions are held by Nick Dempsey(GBR21), Przemek Miarcynzski(POL126), and Ricardo Santos(BRA1).with no  more than 5 points separating each of them. You can see by the scores and on the race track that these guys are digging deep to get every extra little puff of wind and when the puffs don’t come the are pumping to get the maximum speed out of their board. Stop and you can loose ten places.

So now we go onto the finals races. The championship rules state that the top 5o% will  go into the Gold fleet, and 50% into the Silver fleet. So 40 women and  82 men will progress. A well earned rest day tomorrow, then back to the action on Thursday.

Also check out the new featured rider page on Bryony Shaw on the official RS:X event website.


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