Ian Walker and Nick Dempsey ended the European regatta season on promising high notes at Kiel Week, after sealing the Bronze medals in the Star and Mistral fleets.
Both positions pay testimony to their tactical abilities on one of the trickiest stretches of water in the world. The South Baltic is renowned for churning out shifty and patchy breezes which can turn the race course into a game of snakes and ladders
Now both head can head for Sydney for what promises to be a very tough Olympic Yachting Regatta and take comfort from their performances here in the final hurdle before the home straight against many of those who will contest the medals in 10 weeks time.
“All the top guys from the Olympics were here so our goal was to try and simulate the Games and get a medal which we achieved. On the other hand we’re disappointed to have given away so many points at the end of week. Two days ago we were challenging for the lead while today we were scrapping for third place,” reflected Ian after racing.
This has been Nick Dempsey’s most promising international regatta to date and Great Britain’s first international medal since 1992 when RYA National Windsurfing Coach Barrie Edgington won the Lechner world title before the Barcelona Olympic Games.
Nick’s performance in the type of conditions most expect to see in Sydney bodes well for September. “In preparation terms for Sydney, the light and shifty conditions couldn’t be better although I tend to go better in the heavy airs. I’ve been doing a lot of training with Dominic (Tidey) since the trials (Chernikeeff Sailing Regatta – Olympic Trials) and Barrie (Edgington) my coach told me to put some pressure on myself to do well here as it’s the last event before the Olympics but also there’s a lot of pressure from myself,” said Nick.
Dempsey started the day in second overall and needed to win races if he was going to make any inroads on Alexandre Guyander’ (France) lead. “After the French guy (Nicolas Huguet, third overall at the start of the day) won the first two races second was pretty much out of reach so I just had to sit on Joao (Rodrigues, Portugal) and make sure I beat him,” explained Nick. “I needed this result before the Games as I’ve never really competed on the same level as all the top guys. This gives me the self belief that a medal is possible.”
“This is an excellent result for Nick. He has shown bursts of promise in the past, such as at the Pre Olympics last year when he won two races from a world class fleet but his third place here really shows he has medal potential in him,” commented RYA Olympic Manager, John Derbyshire.
Christine Johnston also posted her best international result with ninth overall. “I had a really good start and ended on a high. Everyone was up and down and I managed to be consistent. Training with Nick (Dempsey) and Dom (Tidey) has really pushed me forward. After another few weeks in Weymouth with them and if I can keep working on my fitness I may be a threat in Sydney after all,” commented ‘CJ’.
In the Laser class, Youth European championship Silver medallist Mark Howard proved he has promise for the future with nineteenth overall. Howard will be one of the key benefactors of the new Sport England World Class Potential funding for junior and youth level sailors who hope to go on and compete successfully at senior European and world championship level and ultimately in future Olympic Games. “Competing here really opens your eyes at the difference between youth and senior, how much harder you have to work and how much fitter you need to be. The funding is going to make a massive difference as I can concentrate on sailing at my best and not worry about whether I can afford the right nutrition or whether my tents leaking,” commented Howard.
GERMANY: Kiel Olympic Classes Regatta Final Overall results (after 5 days):
Mistral men (after 14 races with discards):