The greatest and most expected sailing event of two recent years has successfully finished in beautiful Spanish Santander.
The best sailing teams from all over the world were representing their countries, aiming for Olympic qualification and for the medals.
With extremely difficult racing conditions not all scheduled races were completed, 12 out of 13 scheduled are done in RSX Men and RSX Women.
In the RSX Men, 98 teams from 42 nations were competing and 62 teams from 30 nations are competing in the RSX Women, for a total of 44 different nations for all six continents. Its one of the biggest and impressive numbers among Olympic classes.
For the first time ever Africa was represented in the RSX Women by Algerian Katia Belabbas – “Its my first international event after only 8 month of training on RSX. I am happy to be here and plan to prepare for the next racing season. I like light winds and scared of the strong winds so far, but will gonna work on it!” Same continent and new for RSX Men country was represented by Neel Vora from Kenia (located on the western coast of Africa next to the dangerous Somalia) and Waleed Al-Kindi from Oman. Unfortunately such countries like Chili, Peru and Singapore didn’t repeat their last year participation.
In general most of the sailors are time-and-regattas-tested, some of them are extremely experienced like 6-times Olympian Joao Rodrigues from Portugal. Joao is still recovering from his last year back injury so his usual performance is not there yet. The bunch of new windsurfers came from USA, Turkey, Belarus, France and Great Britain.
Extremely light wind Qualification Series was replaced by strongest breeze for the Finals and Medal race. That brought some new and unusual faces on the top of results during Qualifications, like Demita Vega da Lille from Mexico, Patricia Freitas from Brasil and Malgorzata Bialecka from Poland in RSX Women, as well as Mattia Camboni form Italy, Pierre le Coq from France and Kiran Badloe from Netherlands in RSX Men. Unfortunately some experienced sailors and strong wind specialists couldn’t cope with difficult Santander conditions and therefore didn’t qualify to Gold fleets: Zachary Plavsic from Canada, Dmitriy Polishchuk from Russia, Aron Gadorfalvi from Hungary in RSX Men and Maja Dziarnowska from Poland, Jiali Sun from China, Helene Noesmoen from France in RSX Women.
The finals delivered really intensive strong wind racing with only top performance windsurfers to get to the Top10 in Men and Woman. Seven out of ten RSX Men have completed 2013 RSX Worlds Medal Race in Brasil and only three girls from 2013 Medal race got into Top10 this year.
Alongside with such legends of RSX Men as : Nick Dempsey -“Dempo” (Great Britain), Przemyslaw Miarczynsky-“Pont” (Poland), Julien Bontemps (France), Piotr Myszka – “Myshek” (Poland), Dorian Van Rijsselberge (Netherlands), Byron Kokkalanis (Greece), Ricardo Santos – “Bimba” (Brasil), Jon-Paul Tobin – “JP” (New Zealand) there comes a new kids on the block who raised up and settled in Top20 during last season or two: of course the biggest surprise of this year and bronze medalist in Santander – Thomas Goyard from France (New Caledonia). Following him: Kiran Badloe (Netherlands), Louis Giard and Pieree le Coq (France), Pawel Tarnowski (Poland), Sebastian Fleischer (Denmark).
As for RSX Women only two “new names” climbed into Top10 – Isobel Hamilton- “Izzi” (Great Britain) and Lilian De Geus (Netherlands) since 2013 RSX Worlds. Also its impossible to ignore the results of this year ISAF Youth Champion – Stefania Elfutina (Russia), as she had few very strong races in Santander to finish in top20 overall.
Otherwise rest of the top20 packed with experienced and famous sailors like: Charline Picon (France), Marina Alabau (Spain), Zofia Nocetti-Klepacka – “Zoha” (Poland), Bryony Shaw (Great Britain), Maayan Davidovich (Israel), Flavia Tartaglini (Italy), Blanca Manchon (Spain), Eugenie Ricard (France). Recent motherhood didnt affect Tuuli Petaja-Siren’s performance and she finished 15th, not to mention Marina and Zofia who pulled a medal and 7th overall respectively.
The regatta ended up with strong wind and wonderful to watch medal races to produce a:
Top3 RSX Men
- Julien Bontemps (France)
- Przemyslaw Miarczynski (Poland)
- Thomas Goyard (France)
Top3 RSX Women
- Charline Picon (France)
- Marina Alabau (Spain)
- Maayan Davidovich (Israel)
18 countries qualified for the Olympic Games 2016 in RSX Men:
France, Poland, Greece, Great Britain, Netherlands, Israel, Germany, Spain, New Zealand, China, Cyprus, Denmark, Argentina, Lithuania, Italy, Russia*, Japan, Norway
*Subject to IOC Confirmation
13 nations qualified for Olympic Games 2016 in RSX Girls:
France, Israel, Spain, Great Britain, China, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Finland, Russia, New Zealand, Estonia, Mexico
Majority of windsurfers went on a vacation straight away after the Championship, to have a proper rest, family time and fun before hitting the next season’s goals. The closer to the Games the higher level and the tougher battle.
We wish all the sailors good training time, fair winds and beautiful sailing!
ISAF Video Highlights: https://www.youtube.com/user/isafchannel
Photo Credit – Vincenzo BAGLIONE / rsxclass.com, Friedrich WILHELM
Results can be found here: http://www.sailing.org/events/isafworlds/results-santander2014.php
Editor: Olga Maslivets