FLYING START FOR DEMPSEY IN PALMA
Olympic bronze medal-winning windsurfer Nick Dempsey set the standard on the opening day of racing at the Princess Sofia Trophy in Palma, Majorca (Sunday 16 March) picking up the perfect scoreline to take an early lead in the RS:X men’s class.
The 27-year-old is one of three Skandia Team GBR sailors to top the results tables after Sunday’s opening day, and put in an unfaltering display to pick up two race wins and stake an early claim for his fourth Princess Sofia crown.
Dempsey, the RYA’s nominee for Beijing in the men’s windsurfing discipline, is set to race in just two more regattas prior to the Olympic Games in August – this Palma event, followed by the RS:X Europeans in May – and he’s determined to succeed in them both.
“It’s really important for me that I do well here – it’s a target regatta and there’s not much time to test things now before the Games,” Dempsey explained.
“I’ve been training hard since the Worlds, particularly in light wind conditions, so I was surprised that I did so well today when it wasn’t so light out there.”
The RS:X fleet experienced 10-12 knot wind speeds across their race course in Palma Bay, with Dempsey enthusing “it’s the first time I’ve got planing in two months!”
Triple Olympic medallist Ben Ainslie finds himself at the top of the table in the Finn heavyweight dinghy class after day one – the 31-year-old posted two third places from his two races to sit five points ahead of nearest rival, American Zach Railey. Skandia Team GBR’s Junior Finn World Champion Giles Scott is in tenth place, while two other British sailors also feature the top 20 – Mark Andrews is in 11th place, and Andrew Mills is 17th.
Three-times European Champion Paul Goodison also got off to a strong start in the Laser class, with two second places to sit him at the head of the 107-boat fleet – European bronze medallist Nick Thompson is in sixth place.
The Yngling trio of Sarah Ayton, Sarah Webb and Pippa Wilson had a solid start to their regatta, posting 3,2 to see them into second place, while Paul Campbell-James and Mark Asquith occupy equal second place in the 49er fleet, for which this event is a warm-up ahead of their European Championships, also in Palma, next week.
Pre-Olympic champion Bryony Shaw is third in the RS:X women’s windsurfing fleet, while Christina Bassadone and Saskia Clark, and Matt Burge and Daniel Schieber are the top British boats in the 470 women’s and men’s fleets, in 11th and 20th places respectively.
Racing at the Princess Sofia Trophy-Mapfre continues through until Friday 21 March. For more information, visit http://www.skandiateamgbr.com/events/princsoftrop/princsoftrop.htm