RS:X Youth Worlds - we have the 2011 champions

Friday, October 28th, 2011

We started the week with some 115 nervous RS:X competitors and now end with two World Champions, both from Poland, and a week of great windsurfing conditions, which will give the sailors some awesome memories for years to come.

Poland occupied 4 out of 6 podium spots, showing an impressive number of extremely talented girls and boys - with Agnieszka Bilska (POL 9) and Pawel Tarnowski (POL 182) earning their gold medals day after day, with a total of 15 races won between the two of them.

RS:X Class, girls - Medal race

For the Medal Races, the girls were first in the schedule with their warning signal at 13.00 and the Race Committee indicating that three laps would be sailed before heading to the slalom.

Agnieszka Bilska took the initiative and had a clean start to lead the fleet, with Kamila Smektala chasing hard. Smektala would have had to finish with 6 boards ahead of Bilska to win the title - which seemed an impossible task given the ability of Bilska to win in virtually any given condition this week.

After the three laps it was Bilska who wound her way through the slalom to take the Medal Race win as well as the RS:X Youth World Championship for the girls. Smektala crossed behind her to keep her Silver position.

Further back down the fleet, Jeanne Dantes (FRA 4) needed to beat Barbara Dmuchowska (POL 118) by 5 boards to stop a Polish clean sweep. Dantes did manage to finish ahead of Dmuchowska and even managed to get the board of Laura Kishon (ISR 34) inbetween, but it was not enough and Dmuchowska finished in fifth to take the Bronze, with Dantes in fourth overall. Kishon finished the Medal race in fourth and jumped up a couple of spots to claim fifth overall.

The battle between Noelle Finch (GBR 703) and Shani Rottenberg (ISR 100) for the U17 title was equally close. Finch started the day with a 6 point buffer over the Israeli and did enough by finishing ahead and adding this title to the U17 win at the Europeans from last month. Surely a girl to watch in future events.

For Bilska, who heads off to the ISAF Sailing World Championships in Perth next month, this was the last event in the Youth fleet of the RS:X as she joins the seniors, where many previous winners of this title are residing. It will be interesting to see who steps up next season, as well as seeing how well Bilska gets on in the top category – we wish her all the best.

The boys were up next and with the wind peaking towards 19 knots in the gusts it was pretty obvious to those watching that this would have been a big boys race. Pawel Tarnowski (POL 182), who has led from start to finish this week, went into todays' race with a healthy 10 point buffer over second place Frenchman Louis Giard.

Tarnowski kept an eye out for his competition but in reality could afford to sail his own race, simply needing to avoid silly mistakes like a false start or a penalty which could cause the upset the French were desperately looking for.

Tarnowski took off the line level with Giard but lost out as Giard caught an extra puff of wind, which gave him a speed boost and allowed Giard to find some clear water between himself and the Pole. Tarnowski was not phased and just hung onto the tailcoat of Giard and shadowed him around the course as they finished with Giard taking the race win and Tarnowski finishing second and claiming the World Championship.

Giard had certainly done enough to secure himself the Silver medal but had Fabian Pic (FRA 7) done enough to protect Bronze? Sam Sills (GBR 60) had other ideas and sailed a fantastic race to finish the Medal Race in third place having led at the top mark – now where was Pic?

Having had a difficult start, Pic was lingering back down the pack in ninth place as they entered the slalom, which unfortunately for him was not enough to retain his Bronze medal. Unable to make up ground through the slalom or take any positions back, Sills took the Bronze and rounded out the Podium.

Amazingly, Tarnowski has another year to sail in the Youth fleet before he moves up. Having claimed the European title as well as the World Championship, he will surely only look to repeat his performance next year.

In the Under 17 fleet, Italian Mattia Camboni (ITA 88) took the title having had a very good start to the week which gave him a lead which Joe Bennett could not quite make up. Bennett finished in second in the U17 and Frenchman Dante Chiapello third.

The focus now shifts to Perth, Australia for the ISAF Sailing Worlds taking place in December where the next World Champion in Men and Women will be decided. How many future senior World Champions have we seen here this week?