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J P Tobin has RS:X windsurfing gear stolen days out from Weymouth and Portland International Regatta

THREE Olympic windsurfers are devastated after their kit was stolen just days before the 2012 test event on borough waters.

Top Dutch windsurfer Dorian Van Rijsselberge, New Zealand’s Jon-Paul (JP) Tobin and Canada’s Zac Plavsic say their idyllic stay in Weymouth ‘turned sour’ when thousands of pounds worth of unique kit was taken from a lock-up on Castle Cove Beach.

The Olympic hopefuls, who have been training together, say the specialist pieces of one-design RS:X windsurf race kit are worth little to the average windsurfer but are ‘priceless’ to them – representing months of research to find the best possible equipment for speed.

Racing at the Weymouth and Portland International Regatta is set to start on Tuesday and the regatta is a crucial qualification event and test ahead of the 2012 London Games.

Dorian, 22, said: “It was my board, Zac’s rig, JP’s mast, fins and daggerboard.

“It happened just out on Castle Cove Beach, all the stuff was locked up on a platform and the thieves must’ve used quite a bit of effort to get it out.

“They either took it away by sea or climbed up the little steps carrying it and the board alone weighs seven kilos.”

He added: “It’s really unfortunate because it was one of our best race boards.

“It’s worth about £2,700 but to us it’s priceless because a lot of time and effort went into finding the right board.

“We’re just really surprised because it’s not worth anything to the average Joe, it’s no fun to go sailing because it’s so race specific.”

Zac, 28, said: “We’ve spent a combined total of six months in Weymouth and so far it’s been one of our favourite European venues to hang out at.

“The board that got stolen was going to be raced at the pre-Olympics by JP – the top New Zealand windsurfer – it’s got a sail number and sponsorship logos on it.

“The board is only valuable to Olympic windsurfers.

“Those guys who stole the equipment might think ‘I’ll get a few hundred quid for that’ but it was the amount of hours that go into the research that’s the main issue.

“The windsurfing community is so small that if those guys try selling it there’s going to be a lot of questions.”

He added: “It’s a shame, we’ve had such a pleasant time in Weymouth over the last three years that it’s kind of given us a sour taste in the mouth.”

PC Richie White, of the Dorset Police Marine Section, said: “Some of the Olympic sailing guys from New Zealand, Holland and Canada have had equipment stolen from Old Castle Road.

“The equipment is worth thousands of pounds and it’s really unique, they’ve been fine-tuning it.

“It happened overnight last Thursday, July 21.

“We’re keen for witnesses and anyone with information to get in touch by calling Dorset Police on 01305 222222.”

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