She may have missed out on the podium spots at the RS:X Windsurfing World Championships by the narrowest of margins, but Beijing bronze medallist Bryony Shaw drew huge confidence from her best ever World Championship finish as the event came to a close in Kerteminde, Denmark, on Saturday (4 September).
Shaw, who picked up a bronze on the 2012 waters at the Skandia Sail for Gold Regatta last month, ended her Worlds campaign in a personal best of fourth place, tied on points with French rival Charlene Picon after the medal race but missing out on bronze due to Picon’s higher placing in the 10-boat finale. It was a fight to the finish for Shaw, who went into Saturday’s final in fifth place but vying with four other girls for a shot at the podium spots. In a testing race in which both shifting winds and seaweed on the course area played a part, the Skandia Team GBR sailor came through to finish third, but Picon placed just ahead of her to claim the bronze with silver going to Italy’s four-time Olympic medallist Alessandra Sensini and the world title to Shaw’s Spanish training partner Blanca Manchon.
“It’s a bit frustrating to have come so close,” Shaw admitted, “but it’s still my best ever result at a World Championship so it’s really pleasing from that point of view and I’ll take a lot of confidence from the way I’ve been sailing this week.
“I’ve climbed the board every day and that was a good feeling.”
“Everyone’s here at these World Championships, it’s been a great fleet, and to have beaten a couple of former World Champions in Marina [Alabau] and Zofia [Klepacka] shows that I’m in good company.
“My coach Dom Tidey had a lot of belief in me, probably more than I had in myself at the start of the week, but that grew throughout the week,” the 27-year-old continued. “It was a really mixed bag weather-wise so it was great to be tested in the all-round conditions and pitch where I am against the other girls. I’ve been the most consistent and had the lowest discard out of everyone this week so it’s great to know that it’s not fundamentals that I have to work on, just small things here and there.
“I think it just comes down to me being relaxed and confident and a case of me growing up a bit as a sailor – not doubting or over-analysing everything but staying happy and relaxed.”
With a performance on the 2012 Weymouth waters his stated aim for the year, Nick Dempsey knew that a defence of his World Championship title was going to be a big ask. The 2009 winner pulled himself back into the top ten medal positions on Friday’s penultimate day after an inconsistent scorecard this week, but placed tenth in the medal race to end his regatta in ninth overall. “I had my moments this week, but really it just came down to a lack of experience and time in the venue,” Dempsey explained. “My focus for this year was always Skandia Sail for Gold in Weymouth, and having achieved my goal of a top three there I didn’t come here with a performance target in mind. The Worlds was really a secondary event for me and when you come to a World Championship with it as a secondary event you can’t really expect to challenge.
“This is a difficult venue – amazingly shifty, some days predictable and other days really random. Experience in the venue really counts here – if you haven’t got it you make mistakes and you can’t afford to make mistakes at a World Championship or you get punished.” Dempsey had sympathy for his title-chasing opponents who struggled through the weed which was prevalent on the medal race area.
“I must have stopped about 15 times during that race. It was marginal planing conditions, so you’d get planing, hit some weed, stop, get going again, stop, and so it went on.
“It was pretty frustrating and just a real shame for the other guys that the title had to be decided in conditions like that.”