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Holland and Spain take RS:X Gold Medals

Aug 7, 2012

Author: John Curtis (reporting for Team Canada)

We had wind again today but also rain.  It was typical English rain - on an off again.  Just enough to get wet but not really enough to wear rain gear.

Today was the final day for Canadian Sailors at the 2012 Olympic Games.  Zachary Plavsic of Vancouver BC has secured the top Canadian result here with an 8th overall in the Men's RSX Windsurfing class.

Today's medal race was a chance for Zac to move up from 8th place to possibly 5th overall.  If he could beat the Greek, the French and his New Zealand training partner, JP Tobin.  Zac was actually tied on points with his Kiwi friend going into today but the tie breaking rule had him 8th.  

Zac got an ok start.  It was clean but he was a little behind.  A short way into the race he was well ahead of the New Zealander and within striking distance of the Greek.  The Frenchman had gone to the left on the first leg and was challenging for the lead.   By 1/2 way down the second leg Zac had left the Kiwi well behind (maybe 300 Meters - a big gap at this level)  He was gaining on the Greek.  6th place overall was in his sights. Then - just seconds before rounding the gate at the bottom of leg 2, Zac's boom fell apart. I could see there was a problem with the boom from shore but it was not clear if it had broken or something else was wrong.  As Zac's coach, Kevin Stittle, later explained to me it was the clamping mechanism (a giant buckle) that connects the boom to the mast by means of a plastic lever that tightens a rope that goes around the mast.  The rope has a knot at one end and somehow the knot had come undone.  Neither Zac or Kevin had ever seen this happen before. No one was suggesting any foul play but they were dumbfounded as to how this could have happened.

In any case, the boards behind Zac quickly passed him.  In true "Zac style" he "MacGyvered" the boom and got back to racing.  He was a whole lap behind at this point but the crowd was going wild cheering for Canada.  It was amazing.  Most people would have just quit and got their coach to take them in on the coach boat.  Not Zac.  This guy does not know how to give up.  Apparently it was still broken but he somehow managed to make it work.  What a show he put on.

Holland's Dorian Van Rijsselberge wins goldIronically, because Zac was so far behind the race Committee had to leave the old windward mark in place longer than usual.  There had been a wind shift and the spare windward mark had been moved to the right on the 3rd leg. Dorian VanRijsselberge, the Dutch sailor, was so far ahead he kept going for the old windward mark that Zac was headed for - allowing the French sailor to pass him before he noticed the new windward mark.  It would not have made a difference anyway as the Dutch sailor had already secured the Gold yesterday and merely needed to finish the medal race to collect his prize.  Impressively, he caught up to and passed the French guy on the last leg to finish 2nd in the final race and win the Gold Medal with a near perfect score card of 6-1st's, 3-2nd's and a 3rd.  WOW!

We are all very proud of Zac and will be toasting him tonight at the Canadian Sailing Team BBQ.

Gold - Netherlands - Dorian VanRijsselberge
Silver - Great Britain - Nick Dempsey (Local Weympouth Boy)
Bronze - Polland -Premyslaw Mirarczynski

Canada's Nikola GirkeWe also had Nikola Girke in the women's RSX Class Medal Race.  Nikola was ranked 10th going in with an outside shot at moving up to 8th, but it was not to be.  The wind was not sub-planing conditions but it was not ideal for Nikola. She was 9th at the first Mark and lost a spot on the second downwind to finish 10th in the race and 10th overall.  I will say she seemed to be working harder in this race for that 10th than she did in some of the earlier races in which not as much pumping was required.  We are also very proud of Nikola's performance.  Well Done Nikola!

This Women's RSX race was quite an exciting race at the top of the fleet.  Going into the final it was Spain, Israel and Finland in 1st, 2nd and 3rd.

The Israeli sailor had a tough race finishing 9th, just ahead of Nikola.  This took her out of the medals. It was also an indication of just how well Nikola is going despite finishing 10th to be duking it out with the Israeli girl who had been 3rd going into today.  She had a close battle with the Israeli woman all around the Course.

The Finish girl had a strong result finishing 4th and the Polish woman who was sitting in 5th going in managed a 3rd in the medal race to clinch the Bronze.  They carry their scores from the first 10 races into the medal race and points in the medal race are doubled so big upsets are possible in this final race.

Gold  - Spain - Marina Alabau
Silver - Finland - Tuuli Petaja
Bronze - Polland - Zofia Noceti-klepacka


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