Champions Crowned In Blast Around Aarhus Bay

The 2018 Hempel Sailing World Championships have seen some of the closest racing of any multi class world championship of this type, with medals being won or lost right up until the last leg in all of the medal races so far. On Sunday however, the RS:X Class will buck the trend as two outstanding competitors have literally blown away the fleets to dominate and win without having to worry about the medal race – the championship titles assured to them already.

With a race track that resembled a piece of Samso cheese, slightly nutty and with irregular holes, it was a day where the best of the best would come out on top and prosper in toughest conditions. Racing was delayed as an evening storm from the night before swept through with strong winds and gusts that turned the race courses into the proverbial washing machine before racing was able to resume later in the afternoon. As the competitors left the harbour, it became clear that Aarhus Bay wasn’t going to be kind to anyone regardless of their ambitions.

Double Olympic champion, Dorian van Rijsselberghe from the Netherlands came ashore with a substantial points lead over fellow countryman Kiran Badloe. Badloe in turn has a cushion of five points over third placed Louis Giard from France, however following a number of claims for redress, this has been amended and Badloes’ score from race 7 has been amended and his points difference to Van Rijsselberghe is now over twenty points. This change gives Van Rijsselberghe the world championship with a race to spare.

Van Rijsselberghe, “Yeah, I’m pretty excited. I’ve had a good week, not an exceptional week but good results. I would’ve liked to be more dominant than this but I’m happy and I’m super stoked that Kiran is right behind me.”

Polands Pawel Tarnowski sits in fourth behind Giard and the top six men all have realistic chances of fighting for the silver and bronze medals come Sunday’s final race. Giard on this weeks racing, “I know today was an important day. My goal today was just to have a solid day and it looks really close for Sunday between Pawel and Kieran and myself.”

Sebastian Wang-Hansen from Norway finished the week in 17th but will go home knowing that he has secured Norway a berth in Tokyo as the 10th country. Wang-Hansen, “Today was tricky, very up and down – sometimes 25 knots and sometimes 10 knots. I’m really pleased to have qualified here and I’m off to Enoshima and looking forward to it.”

Lillian De Geus from the Netherlands, who suffered a huge disappointment in Rio where she came an agonising fourth, won today and won the championship in emphatic style. De Geus has not strayed outside of the top ten once this week and scored a 1, 1, 4, today to secure her first world title with a comfortable 30 point buffer over her nearest rival Yunxiu Lu from China.

Charline Picon from France sits in third, ten points behind Lu, which sees the Rio gold medallist back on form and up to speed after the birth of her child last year. However, a more impressive result is that of Great Britain’s Emma Wilson, who at 19 is the youngest in the medal race on Sunday but also arguably the sailor with the most world titles to her name. Wilson has won numerous Youth World titles, her first coming at the age of 14, and whilst this is her first senior world’s medal race, there is little doubt that she will not be awestruck by the occasion and will simply be gunning for a spot on the podium.

Wilson goes into the medal race in fourth position, “I did my first Sailing World Championships in Santander when I was 15, sailing at the back. That experience has helped me as I am so much more relaxed in this environment and I’m just going to pump my hardest when it comes to Sunday. I’ve been watching some of the medal races that have happened and the course looks patchy which means there are opportunities.”

Also in her first medal race is Marta Maggetti from Italy who has been quietly consistent all week and sits in sixth place. Maggetti has an outside chance of a medal, “This is my first World Championship medal race and I am really looking forward to racing with the top ten girls. I’m really happy to have wind today as its so much fun.”

World Sailing have yet to confirm all of the country qualification places but with six different countries in the women’s medal race, it has been a very competitive week.

The medal races will be on the stadium course on Sunday 12th August with the men scheduled to start at 1400 and the women at 1440.

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Text: Bas Edmonds/RS:X Class Picture – ©JESUS RENEDO/SAILING ENERGY/AARHUS 2018, 10 August, 2018.


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