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Dempsey Takes Second in Battle of the 'Boats'

09:30 6th August 2013 by Amy Carter
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Dempsey just beaten into second by Alex Thomson at charity race on 5th August. The race was between windsurfer, moth, kitesurfer and open 60; well done Nick, can’t wait to see the video!

Nick Dempsey, racing in Brest, not last night...

Nick Dempsey, racing in Brest, not last night…

Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week is renown for attracting some of the best sailors in the world and today, three of them joined an extreme kitesurfer to go head to head in the ‘Volvo Sailing Speed Challenge’ – a never before seen charity showdown.

In an unexpected twist, solo Round-the-World Yachtsman, Alex Thomson, who was the sailor least expected to win ahead of the race, nailed it taking the speed title and £1,000 for ‘Sported’ – the UK’s leading sporting legacy charity of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic games.

However it wasn’t easy for Alex, as he fought off strong competition from Olympic windsurfing medallist, Nick Dempsey and the Moth, raced by Olympic gold medallist, Paul Goodison. Sam Lutman-Pauc, more comfortable in extreme kitesurfing conditions and long distance speed challenges struggled with the short racecourse and ripping tide.

“That was great fun! Paul Goodison is officially a lunatic on the racecourse, was not giving even an inch of any boat. I didn’t expect to win but really I owe it to the two guys onboard with me, grinding away, so they can take all the glory not me. But, it was great to win the £1,000 prize money for Sported, looking forward to handing it over to them.” Commented Alex, who in January became the third only ever British sailor to podium finish at the Vendee Globe.

The race was delayed due to the light wind, but the four guys finally got up and out at around 18.00. The conditions in the Solent were challenging and tricky, the wind varied from 10 to 15 [knots], with two to three [knots] of current and a strong tide that went in the same direction as the wind. But, second placed Nick Dempsey on his windsurfer enjoyed the battle “all day there’s been no wind and we really didn’t know if we would actually be able to do [the race], so after all the preparation and excitement, when the wind came in it was amazing. It was close, Goody (Paul Goodison) and I had a brilliant first reach, we were neck and neck, but when we gybed and headed up for the second lap, the wind had shifted a bit and we couldn’t get back up to the next mark in one tack, so we had to double-tack.

Everything I Iost there meant that Alex was just getting further and further ahead, but it was still so close! There was a lot of current out there today, it wasn’t easy. It was a really good race, very exciting – amazing to race next to Alex in Hugo Boss.”

Paul Goodison, best known for his skill in the single-handed Laser dinghy, reached 18 knots once up foiling “It was a great race, really good fun to be out there with all the other guys burning around at different speeds. I thought I won the start, had a nice lead going down the first leg. Nick was a little bit faster and started reeling me in, and then just before the gybe mark I got quite a lot of weed on the foils. Had a bit of a nightmare gybe and then really struggled to get on the foils coming back. I had to stop, capsize the boat on it’s side and clear the weed off, which is never fast.

Watching Nick sail away from me was pretty disappointed. Alex obviously did well but I want a rematch in the flat water so we can have some real action! Classic race though, and all for charity as well!”

A post race video of the Team Volvo guys in action will be available ASAP.

- See more at: http://www.volvocarssailing.co.uk/news/view/alex_thomson_nails_the_volvo_sailing_speed_challenge_claiming_1000_for_spor/#sthash.Rn90L365.dpuf

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