MF meets GB windsurfer Nick Dempsey

MF meets GB windsurfer Nick Dempsey
(Image credit: Unknown)

How do RS:X races work?

A race normally comprises 40 competitors racing around a course marked out by buoys. Each race lasts around 35 minutes and you get one point for coming first, two points for second, three points for third and so on. There are two races per day for five days, and then the top ten sailors go through to the final medal race where points are doubled. The person with the lowest score at the end of the regatta wins.

How’s your training for the 2012 Olympics going?

Very well. I don’t really sail with many British guys because the level of RS:X sailing in the UK isn’t world-class. I train with a group of sailors from places like Portugal, Spain and Brazil and we all travel together – sometimes we’ll sail in Brazil, other times in Weymouth.

London 2012 will be your fourth Olympics. Does it feel any different to the previous three?

I do feel a little more pressure. It’s at home and it’s going to be my last chance to win a gold medal, so there’s no room for any mistakes. 

What does it take to be a windsurf champion?

Most important is aerobic fitness, which is why I do a lot of cycling. Power-to-weight ratio is also very important – you need to be powerful for the start of races where it’s a mass sprint to get to clear wind.

How do the sailing facilities for the 2012 Olympics compare with those in previous games?

The facilities in Weymouth and Portland are pretty small compared to Qingdao [where the sailing events for Beijing 2008 were held] but the venue doesn’t really count for all that much – it’s the sailing conditions that matter most, and Weymouth is one of the best places in the world to race. 
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Nick Hutchings worked for Men’s Fitness UK, which predated, and then shared a website with, Coach. Nick worked as digital editor from 2008 to 2011, head of content until 2014, and finally editor-in-chief until 2015.