Making the Change
UK Olympic medalist Nick Dempsey has just had his first sample of Formula racing at the 2005 Calema Mid-winters in Florida. We caught up with him to see what he thought of Formula and to check how he is getting on with the transition from long board to hybrid.
Why are you doing Formula?
The reason for sailing Formula is simply because I have no experience at sailing that sort of board. The RS:X sails very much like a Formula board so I am using it to bridge the gap from Mistral to RS:X. Also the tactics are very different, less tacking and staying in wind is so much more important than on a Mistral.
How much training have you done so far?
Not too much. I have picked my days to go sailing but due to the lack of wind, have lost a bit of time. If the wind is OK for training I will always try to sail between 4 and 5 hours.
Are you trying to put weight on?
My main aim at the moment is to put on weight. I have been training hard in the gym. I was 68kg in Athens, I'm now 76kg.
How was your speed against the Formula superstars e.g. Antoine Albeau etc?
It was my first ever Formula event so I was looking forward to the new challenge. I was surprised at how well I was going. Not quite the speed of the top guys but I wouldn't expect to be anywhere near them yet.
What are your plans and goals for this year?
This year my aim is to get up to weight and learn as much as I can. I am a long way behind the Formula guys so I am looking at putting in some serious hours on the water.
What, in your opinion, are the main differences between racing Formula and Mistral?
On Mistral the speed differences were so small. On the Formula there is quite a bit of difference even at the top level. The lack of pumping on the Formula makes it very equipment dependent.
What is the hardest thing you have found so far about Formula?
Spending money, it costs so much!
Are you enjoying Formula more than Mistral?
It's not the fact that I enjoy it more. It's just a change and when you do the same thing every day the change is nice. I do miss the racing on the Mistral. Formula is just not as close or as tactical.
What have you heard so far about the RS:X?
The sail is very powerful and the sailor weight is expected to be around 80kg. The first boards are likely to arrive in late May so I’ve been told.