A victory on the notoriously shifty Nothe course has helped to sway Dempsey’s view of the Olympic sailing stadium
Nick Dempsey has been critical of the Nothe course but changed his mind today after claiming his first victory of the Olympic Games in the RS:X Mens class.
The British windsurfer, who is aiming to better his 4th in Beijing with a gold at London, made no bones about his preference to race in the harbour rather than on the Nothe grandstand course where winds and tides have so far proved challenging for the competitors.
But two races on the Nothe in which he scored a fifth and a last gasp win against Greek windsurfer Byron Kokalanis was enough to persuade Dempsey that it was not so littered with hazards as he had previously thought.
“I have changed my mind about the Nothe course,” he admitted.
“It is very tricky and very easy to come unstuck on it and I was always concerned about that, as a favourite going into the Games.
“But today the racing was fair and the least you can ask for is a level playing field. The crowd were proper amazing.”
Despite his about turn, Dempsey was adamant he was better suited to the harbour course.
“I’m very happy being in the harbour. I am most comfortable in the harbour so am very excited that the next six races are in the harbour,” he said.
“I am confident that I’m sailing well. I just have to get off the start line. I know that once I’m free of the start, I am as fast as anyone. Tomorrow I’m looking forward to racing rather than chasing.”
Dempsey’s race against Kokalanis proved to be one of the most exciting of the regatta so far with the Brit putting on a massive spurt in the last 100 metres of hte final downwind run.
“The last lap was quite good fun – we were neck and neck,” Dempsey said.
“Byron was doing a good job in making it difficult to pass but I knew I had a bit of pace on him. My last overtaking opportunity was that last gybe downwind and he got it spot on and didn’t give me many option but this is the Olympic Games and you can’t give an inch.”