Daddy Dempsey brings home Silver, 470 men guarantee Silver and Dutchman takes Gold
The Dutchman didn’t need to sail off the front off the front of the fleet in the RSX Medal Race today, he didn’t even need to finish, he had already won Gold. But Dorian van Rijsselberge has scorched off the front of the fleet in virtually every race, so why not turn this one into a 30min victory lap.
Dempsey got a cracking start, mid line, clear air and on the right side of the course, Dempsey was sailing as conservatively as he had planned. After the crushing disappointment of China when he finished 4th, a medal really mattered now.
Dempsey rounded the weather mark in third, held it through the bottom gate and once again up the second beat to of this four lap race. The Frenchman Julien Bontemps held onto second, but Dempsey’s only serious competition in this race was the German Toni Wilhelm who was lying in 8th.
Bontemps was not up for letting Rijsselberge have it all his own way as he overtook the Dutchman at the third windward mark rounding, but the new lead was short lived. By the finish the Dutchman was back in the lead to stamp his authority on Gold and demonstrate why he was the clear winner this week.
Meanwhile Dempsey kept third to take the Silver medal, a massive and popular achievement. Dempsey had kept his promise.
“Its been a pretty difficult four years,” said Dempsey in faltering voice, you could see and hear how much this meant to him. “I’m massively relieved. It’s been really tough, but I’ve been desperate to finish second here, third would have been a disaster, fourth, I don’t know what I would have done!
Given that boards are out for the next Games was this the end of the road for Dempsey and Olympic involvement?
“It’s a moment for a bit of reflection I think, but it’s probably not the end of the road.”
After that he dived out of the boat, swam ashore and thanked the crowd. No wonder he’s one of the most popular characters in Olympic sailing.
After he had scrambled over the rocks and up the grassy bank among the first people he went to see was his 3 year old son. He picked him up, hugged him as his son whispered something in his ear. What was it he said we asked Nick.
“Have you finished work now daddy?”
Gold – NED – Dorian van Rijsselberge
Silver – GBR – Nick Dempsey
Bronze – POL – Przemyslaw Miarczynski
Marina Alabau from Spain went into today with a healthy 14 point lead but given the potential banana skins on the Medal race course will have taken nothing for granted in her quest to take Gold.
In the event she rounded the first mark in third before climbing to second at the bottom of the second of four laps. She pulled off a similar coup on the final downwind leg to take the win, securing Gold in the best way for the 4,500 strong spectator crowd – winning the medal race.
Silver went to the Finnish sailor Tuuli Petaja who finished the medal race 8th and Zofia Noceti-Klepacka in Bronze. For the Polish team it was two Bronze medals in the same sport on the same day.
Gold – ESP – Marina Alabau
Silver – FIN – Tuuli Petaja
Bronze – POL – Zofia Noceti-Klepacka
470 UPDATE – MEN
470 Men came second to Australians guaranteeing a Silver for the Brits, an incredible achievement on their first attempt. The Australian lead had increased to three points, could the Brits haul back some points on the last race of the day and the last before the medal race? Going into the medal race on equal points would change both team’s strategy for the medal race where a match race between the pair would be a certainty.
Bithell and Patience started their second race well holding second for two legs, the Australians in sixth. But Belcher and Page are comeback kings and once again they hauled themselves into the lead. The Brits had taken the lead on the second downwind leg but the Australians had got past on the final stage through the gate.
Upwind the British pair kept their cool and stayed in concentration in the tricky, shifty conditions inside Portland harbout. But on the final downwind leg the Australians extended their lead. With each metres that increased the game plan for the medal race was changing.
As the Australians crossed the line to take a win they too had secured a Silver medal. But with match race between the matched pair looked less likely and as we have seen so many times so far, the shifty conditions for the Nothe course could throw up all kinds of outcomes. The battle for Gold was far from over. The Brits trailed by four points, two places in the medal race.
“We will take that going into the medal race. We are just a few points behind them. They have it all to lose and we have everything to win,” said Stuart Bithell.
“We’ve sailed the regatta of our lives so far,” said helmsman Luke Patience before looking forward the showdown medal race. “We have nothing to lose and have everything to win. Bring it on, I just can’t wait.”
The British girls finished 4th in their first race of the day, the Kiwis won which dropped the British girls Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark to second overall by just two points.
No panic but an illustration of what a tight battle it is in the 470 class for both British teams.
In the second race the Brits had a slow start but quickly pulled up into third by the third leg. But the Kiwis were leading this race and leading overall, extending their points gap in the process. At this stage the British girls faced the same struggle as the men, sailing on the same course area.
On the last beat the British girls pulled themselves up into second, trailing the Kiwis by a minute. A big ask to haul this in on one light downwind leg.
By the finish the same order prevailed leaving New Zealand’s Jo Aleh and Olivia Powrie leading by four points.