Despite being on the other side of the world for many competitors the 2008 RS:X World Championships at Takapuna Boating Club has attracted maximum entries including the best of the best.
Casper Bouman (NED1) leads the chrge off the start line in the final race of the 2007 RSX NZ Nationals at Takapuna
This is an Olympic year and consequently this World Championships is a ‘don’t miss’ regatta.
48 countries are represented at the event which starts on Sunday 13th January and runs through until Saturday 19th January.
France, China and Poland are the nations which have the largest teams competing here in New Zealand outside the 22-strong local kiwi team. France has 15 sailors, China 13 and Poland 12.
Britain has a four entries in the men's event : Nick Dempsey, Leo McCallin, Elliot Carney and Richard Hamilton. In the women's event the sole entry is Bryony Shaw.
Current Olympic Champions…
Faustine Merret won gold in the women’s windsurfing at the Athens Olympic Games in 2004 and has been selected to represent her country in Qingdao. Merret has a number seven current world ranking and highlights in 2007 include a fourth place at the Olympic Test Event in Qingdao in August, and a third place at the grade one Breitling Regatta in May.
Both Faustine Merret in the women’s fleet and Julien Bontemps in the men’s, along with others on the French windsurfing team such as Charline Picon and Nicholas Huguet will be strong contenders at this event.
Current men’s Olympic windsurfing champion Gal Fridman of Israel is also in Auckland and will line up in the men’s division.
Current World Champions…
Current world champions Zofia Klepacka of Poland and Ricardo Santos of Brazil are both in New Zealand to defend their world titles.
The young Klepacka from Poland had an impressive year in 2007 with a string of top five results at major regattas and topping it off with a win at the ISAF Sailing World Championships in Cascais, Portugal in June. She has a current number two world ranking.
Ricardo Santos also performed well in 2007, not finishing outside the top ten in all the year’s major events, Santos won not only the ISAF Sailing World Championships but also the ISAF grade one Breitling Regatta. The Brazilian’s current world ranking is at number seven.