Shaw shines in new Olympic windsurf class
The world’s best windsurfing talent have been putting the new Olympic Neil Pryde RS:X board to the test at the mixed class Raceboard Worlds in Cadiz this week (2-8 October), with RYA Team GBR’s Bryony Shaw mastering the new board and the conditions to emerge on top from the contenders in the new Olympic class.
Shaw finished the worlds with a silver, but was first amongst the 32 competitors in the women’s fleet racing on the new RS:X, which replaces the Mistral as the new Olympic class board. Spaniard Carmen Vaz, competing on her traditional board, took gold for the host nation, while Shaw pushed France’s Olympic gold medallist and fellow RS:X sailor Faustine Merret into third place.
After a shaky start to the week, Shaw pulled off a series of solid performances, which boosted her from fifth to second place on the penultimate day of competition – a position which she held on to throughout the final two races to emerge second overall, but first amongst the RS:X contenders in what’s being dubbed the unofficial RS:X World Championships.
Fellow RYA Team GBR squad member Lucy Horwood finished the worlds with a notable sixth place overall (fifth out of the RS:X contenders) after a superb late surge in which she racked up three second places and two firsts in the final five races of the regatta. Christine Johnston also managed placings in first and third over the 12 races, which helped her to a 14th place finish overall (12th from the RS:X fleet).
It’s Shaw’s best result to date, and she was upbeat after the week’s events. “Training on the new board has been really great,” she said, “and the strength of our girl’s squad in competition this week shows that we can really hold our own in the new Olympic class – but the work has only just begun!”
Last weekend Shaw finished third behind France’s Olympic gold medallist Faustine Merret and Spain’s ISAF Youth World Champion Blanca Manchon in the RS:X Cadiz Race – the Worlds warm-up event – which is the first RS:X event to count towards the world sailing rankings.
In the men’s fleet, Olympic bronze medallist Nick Dempsey had a promising start to his competitive RS:X career, finishing fifth in the RS:X Cadiz Race. But of the 12 races in the Raceboard Worlds, his nine top ten finishes were not enough to secure a podium position, in spite of a solid last day, and he ended the regatta in seventh place – the fifth highest of the RS:X sailors.
“Although I feel that I should have done better at this event, it’s been a great test of the new board and has already given me some really useful insights for next season,” Dempsey remarked.
Fellow GBR sailors Leo McCallin and Hugh Simms Williams were ranked 26th and 35th respectively from almost the 94 men’s entries – 75 of which raced on the RS:X.
Frenchman Julien Bontemps was crowned Raceboard World Champion, ahead of teammate and Mistral World Champion Nicolas Huguet in second. The host’s Francisco Manchon Dominguez claimed bronze.
RYA Olympic Development Squad Manager Barrie Edgington was pleased with the team’s performance in Cadiz. “The goal was to post results that would establish the Brits in the new Olympic class,” he commented, “and the win for Bryony and solid performances from the rest of the squad show we have done that.
1. M Carmen Vaz, ESP (1,1,1,1,1,1,1,8,(16),12,(16),11) 38pts
2. Bryony Shaw, GBR (5,6,(19),(OCS),4,5,3,3,3,6,6,5) 46pts (1st RS:X)
3. Faustine Merret, FRA (7,4,11,4,9,4,OCS,5,10,4,10,4) 61 pts
6. Lucy Horwood ((29),13,6,(22),18,13,14,2,2,2,1,1) 72pts (5th RS:X)
14. Christine Johnston (14,(27),15,16,15,3,21,18,11,1,14,(20)) 127pts (12th RS:X)
1. Julien Bontemps, FRA (2,3,(12),8,5,2,3,3,5,(15),11,4) 46pts
2. Nicolas Huguet, FRA (1,8,1,6,8,3,(BFD),4,6,(13),6,11) 54pts
3. Francisco Manchon Dominguez, ESP (4,1,5,1,3,8,2,6,(18),17,13,(21)) 60pts
7. Nick Dempsey (5,6,(35),(OCS),6,8,6,17,8,4,4,3) 67pts (5th RS:X)
26. Leo McCallin (12,18,18,19,9,7,19,(41),(37),25,17,15) 159pts
35. Hugh Simms Williams (25,18,(OCS),23,14,12,14,38,(DNC),26,31,24) 225pts