Dorian van Rijsselberge

It was "one race, one chance" today at US SAILING's 2010 Rolex Miami OCR, the second of seven stops of the International Sailing Federation (ISAF) Sailing World Cup 2009-2010. It was now the turn for racers in the RS:X Olympic class to claim podium positions, but the plot came with a twist. Just as will happen at the Olympics in 2012, only the top-ten finishers--determined after five days of fleet racing--earned the right to sail in today's single medal race for each class.

The Rolex Miami OCR, which this year hosted 448 teams (633 athletes) from 45 nations, is one of the world's most competitive regattas for 2012 Olympic and Paralympic hopefuls. As such, each nation's medal tally is closely watched; USA had the most medals with 10, followed by Great Britain with six, France with five and Spain with four.

Dorian Van Rijsselberghe [NED], who won here last year watched Spain's Ivan Pastor most closely in his play to win the gold. With a short 500-meter windward leg, Rijsselberghe's entire race took less than 30 minutes to complete. As he tells it, he was next to Pastor at the start boat, and in the beginning Pastor was controlling him. "But the more we were going the more I got control," said Rijsselberghe, "just by speed and hard work." Then it was the tacking game. "My goal was first to get rid of him to be sure he was not in front, then start racing others."

The light 7-9 knot breezes were typical of "pumping conditions" that have prevailed here for the windsurfers and continually tested their physical strength. "In these conditions you have a maximum heart rate of 4-5 times normal, and you have to get 'over the hump,' as we say and get up on a plane. Today there was not a lot of wind, but just enough to have a nice race." Pastor took the silver, while France's Julien Bontemps won the bronze.

In RS:X Women's , the battle between Spanish teammates Marina Alabau, the current RS:X World champion, and Blanca Manchon, yesterday's leader, wound up with Alabau snatching gold and Manchon settling for silver. "I was worried for the French as well at the start," said Alabau, "but it was me who rolled Blanca, and she had to tack to the wrong side. I was more concentrated on not losing second, but thinking maybe to get a first. By the first mark, I was second behind Laura (Linares of Italy), and I just had to keep my position."

Linares, who won today's race, took the bronze and epitomizes the up-and-coming youth contingent at this regatta. Coming into today in fourth, the 19-year-old said, "I was determined more than in any other of the races. I was calm; I believed in myself. I just finished a youth period and now I am not anymore a youth, so I am entering another period where it will be my job to be a professional sailor trying for the Olympics."

"Not only did we have terrific racing this week by the best sailors in the world," said Gary Bodie (Hampton, Va.), Regatta Co-Chairperson, "but also we had the best, most qualified group of volunteers we've ever had. They worked tirelessly to run a superb event."

Medals were awarded tonight to the top three boats in each Olympic and Paralympic event at a ceremony held at Coral Reef Yacht Club.


SOURCE: RS:X Class