Shaw goes back to the books for RS:X Europeans bid
It’s exam season for many, and Olympic bronze medal-winning windsurfer Bryony Shaw is among those with her revision notes out as she prepares for racing at the RS:X European Championship in Tel Aviv, which starts on Sunday (14 June).
But instead of traditional exam subjects, the 26-year-old Shaw and her coach Dom Tidey have been revising all the topics which served them so well at the Beijing Olympics, as they’re drawing parallels between the Israeli Europeans venue and the 2008 Olympic sailing venue in Qingdao.
“I’ve never sailed here before and we’ve discovered quite a bit of current in the waters, so Dom’s been back to studying all our China notes on tidal sailing and course skews in preparation!” explained the Skandia Team GBR star, who became the first British woman to win an Olympic windsurfing medal last summer.
“We felt pretty comfortable and on top of all the tidal stuff in China where it was such a factor, so I’m confident as we know we can perform in those sorts of conditions.
“It’s very, very hot out here as well – 30 to 32 degrees, so all the stuff we did for China in terms of hydration, keeping cool, all those routines are going to pay off as well here. The only difference on that front is that it’s not hazy here – there’s blazing sunshine!
Shaw, who was a silver medallist at the 2006 Europeans, is targeting a medal at these Championships as part of her assault towards a world title on home waters in Weymouth this September.
“The RS:X Worlds in Weymouth is the definite focus for me for this year, but the Europeans is important as a benchmark to see how all the training is paying off so far, so we have been working hard towards this event.
“Also, the venue here is very different to Weymouth, so in terms of improving my skills when it’s wavy and choppy, it’s good to have the full range.”
“The fleet is pretty strong at this event,” Shaw continued. “Although many of the girls who competed at the Olympics have either retired or are taking a break, there are quite a few younger girls coming up through the ranks. There are two good Italians, Flavia Tartaglini and Laura Linares, plus the Spanish, French and Polish girls, so it should be a challenging regatta.”
Shaw will be joined in the women’s fleet by Skandia Team GBR youngsters Sophie Bailey, Kirsten O’Callaghan, Beth Williamson and Izzy Hamilton, who will compete for RYA Volvo Team GBR at the Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championship at Buzios in Brazil next month.
The men’s fleet will be missing Athens bronze medallist Nick Dempsey, who’s mid-way through a charity bike ride from Land’s End to John O’Groats, but Skandia Team GBR will be represented by development squad sailors Richard Hamilton and Elliot Carney, with Youth Worlds representative Ali Masters making his international debut on the 9.5m rig.
The RS:X European Championships takes place at the Hapoel Tel-Aviv Yacht Club from Sunday 14 June, with medal races scheduled for Saturday 20 June.
For all the latest news on Skandia Team GBR’s sailors in action around the world visit www.skandiateamgbr.com