Racing for the 2008 Women's Laser Radial World Championships will start on Saturday March 15th off Takapuna Beach, North Shore City, Auckland. 120 entries are already confirmed with representatives from 40 countries in North Shore City for this World Championship and Olympic qualifying event.
Many competitors are in Takapuna already and have been training on the Hauraki Gulf in preparation for this exciting event, familiarising themselves with local conditions on the race track.
Not only is the 2008 world title up for grabs, but many sailors are here to try and earn for their country, one of the six remaining Olympic berths on offer at this regatta. For many countries who have already accomplished qualification this regatta will determine which of their sailors will get the nod for the Olympic Games.
Jo Aleh will represent New Zealand five months from now at the Olympic Games, and is one of ten kiwis competing in the Women's Laser Radial World Championships here in Takapuna.
'I think it's great to have the Worlds here in Auckland, as it should be great to finally have some hometown advantage,' says Aleh. 'Although with Auckland weather you never really know what will happen anyway.'
'This years Worlds are a very important regatta. Being the last Worlds event before the Olympics in August it will be very interesting to see just how everyone is going, and how the line up at the top will change from last year,' she continues. 'Also, it is a qualification regatta, not only for country's Olympic spots, but also for individuals trying to win their national trials.'
Aleh likes Takapuna as a venue, but knows well enough that you never quite know what the weather will do over the course of the regatta.
'Takapuna is a great place to sail and an awesome place for a World Champs. The conditions are just so variable, you can expect anything - as everyone who has been training there for the past few weeks will by now know. So it really does keep things interesting,' says Aleh.
Having hosted both the RS:X and the Tornado World Championships over the last two months Takapuna Boating Club is well prepared and excited about the Radials.
'It is a privilege and a pleasure to add the 2008 Laser Radial Women's World Championship into the regatta of Worlds that we have been fortunate to host in the first three months of 2008,' says Event Director, Grant Cunningham.
'We are indeed lucky to have the facilities, the assistance from neighbouring yacht clubs and a raft of willing volunteers to make this championship memorable for all the competitors from around the world. We look forward to some great sailing and fierce competition.'
Racing is scheduled to start at 1100 hours daily with two races planned on each of the six days of competition.
Day Date Programme
Thursday 13th March Registration & Measurement
Friday 14th March Registration, Measurement & Practice Race (1430)
Saturday 15th March 2 qualifying races (First warning signal 1100)
Sunday 16th March 2 qualifying races
Monday 17th March 2 qualifying races
Tuesday 18th March 2 qualifying/finals races
Wednesday 19th March 2 qualifying/finals races
Thursday 20th March 2 qualifying/finals races
Prize-giving and Closing Ceremony
20 of the maximum 26 Olympic Laser Radial berths have already been decided however for nations who have not yet qualified this regatta is the final chance to collect one of the six remaining places. There are 23 nations entered to compete in Takapuna who are yet to qualify so the battle will be fierce.
Yet to qualify, and competing in Auckland...
Brazil, Croatia, Czechoslovakia, Denmark, Spain, Estonia, Greece, India, Ireland, Virgin Islands, Japan, Latvia, Malaysia, Paraguay, Peru, Portugal, Russia, Singapore, Serbia, Sweden, Chinese Taipei, Turkey and Venezuela will fight it out for the final six Olympic places up for grabs.
Argentina, Australia, Belarus, Belgium, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Israel, Italy, Lithuania, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Switzerland and USA all qualified at the 2007 World Championships sailed in Cascais, Portugal. And as host nation, China automatically qualifies for a berth.
* Tatiana Drozdovskaya - Belarus
2007 World Champion
* Sari Multala - Finland
2007 World Championship silver medallist
* Evi Van Acker - Belgium
2007 Laser Radial European Champion
* Sarah Stayaert - France
2007 Laser Radial European Championships silver medallist
* Jo Aleh - New Zealand
ISAF World Ranked #1
* Anna Tunnicliffe - USA
ISAF World Ranked #2
* Lijia Xu - China
2006 World Champion
Nation Number of representatives Country Olympic Qualified
New Zealand NZL 10 Qualified
Great Britain GBR 9 Qualified
Canada CAN 8 Qualified
France FRA 6 Qualified
Australia AUS 5 Qualified
Brazil BRA 5 Not yet qualified
Denmark DEN 5 Not yet qualified
Italy ITA 5 Qualified
Japan JPN 5 Not yet qualified
China CHN 4 Qualified HOST
Croatia CRO 4 Not yet qualified
Spain ESP 4 Not yet qualified
Greece GRE 4 Not yet qualified
Ireland IRE 4 Not yet qualified
United States of America USA 4 Qualified
Finland FIN 3 Qualified
Netherlands NED 3 Qualified
Russia RUS 3 Not yet qualified
Singapore SIN 3 Not yet qualified
Belgium BEL 2 Qualified
Lithuania LTU 2 Qualified
Poland POL 2 Qualified
Switzerland SUI 2 Qualified
Sweden SWE 2 Not yet qualified
Belarus BLR 1 Qualified
Czechoslovakia CZE 1 Not yet qualified
Estonia EST 1 Not yet qualified
India IND 1 Not yet qualified
Israel ISR 1 Qualified
Virgin Islands ISV 1 Not yet qualified
Latvia LAT 1 Not yet qualified
Malaysia MAS 1 Not yet qualified
Norway NOR 1 Qualified
Paraguay PAR 1 Not yet qualified
Peru PER 1 Not yet qualified
Portugal POR 1 Not yet qualified
Serbia SRB 1 Not yet qualified
Chinese Taipei TPE 1 Not yet qualified
Turkey TUR 1 Not yet qualified
Venezuela VEN 1 Not yet qualified
Regatta Website: www.takapunaworlds.org