Darren Bundock and Glenn Ashby of Australia have been crowned Tornado World Champions for 2008 after racing was abandoned on the final day of the regatta due to heavy rain and strong north easterly winds in Takapuna, North Shore City, Auckland. It is Bundock’s sixth world title in the Tornado having won in 2006, 2003, 2002, 2001 and 1998.
As predicted Takapuna Beach is being buffeted by 25-30 knot winds and breaking waves, with low visibility on the race course on what would have been the final day of competition at the Tornado World Championships in this Olympic year. Competitors packed the club house to await a final decision for organisers which came at 12:45 to abandon racing for the day and close the championship.
Despite a 14th and a 23rd on the first day of racing the Aussies fought back and concluded the regatta five points clear of second place. Darren Bundock reflected today on how things looked for them at the end of day one.
“After the first day we actually needed to sit down and have a look at the results, and we saw that only a few crews that hadn’t had at least one bad race of a 14th plus,” said Bundock.
“Then coming out the next day and getting two 2nds, it showed us that we could do it. We got a glimpse and that was all we needed.”
His crew, Glenn Ashby agreed that things didn’t look good after day one.
“That was a fairly big hole that we crawled down into after day one. But after that we just chipped away and chipped away. Our results over the last few regattas show that we are pretty consistent in a range of conditions and we know that Auckland and Takapuna was going to give us a range of conditions.”
Canadian’s Oskar Johansson and Kevin Stittle have impressed the Tornado fleet sailing with consistency throughout the event and winning the silver medal in a fleet that was stacked with the top 20 ranked Tornado sailors in the world. Not only have they qualified Canada for an Olympic berth they have also signalled to the fleet that they’ll be serious medal contenders in China.
Also demonstrating consistency throughout the regatta was French pair Yann Guichard and Alexandre Guyader unfortunately having their poorest result in race eight which turned out to be the final race of the event. Ultimately it cost them the silver medal by the narrowest of margins finishing on equal points with the Canadian’s but having to settle for the bronze.
Canada, Austria, New Zealand and the Ukraine have earned Olympic qualification for their respective nations beating out Russia, Puerto Rico, Brazil, Poland and Venezuela for the final four places which have been decided here at Takapuna.
It was Aaron McIntosh and Mark Kennedy who earned the place for New Zealand finishing the regatta in 12th place overall, well ahead of the next best placed kiwis Bruce Kendall and Blair Tuke who finished 26th. While national qualification is one step on the road to becoming part of the New Zealand Olympic sailing team for Qingdao in August, McIntsoh and Kennedy may yet have more work to do to persuade the New Zealand selectors that they have medal potential and should join the team as inclusion is not automatic.
2008 Tornado World Championship
Top Twelve Final Results
1st AUS Darren Bundock & Glen Ashby 34 points (14, (23), 2, 2, 8, 1, 1, 6)
2nd CAN Oskar Johansson & Kevin Stittle 39 points ((21), 1, 3, 1, 4, 19, 7, 4)
3rd FRA Yann Guichard & Alexandre Guyader 39 points (4, 9, 1, 3, 13, 4, 5, (23))
4th GER Roland Gaebler & Gunnar Struckman 44 points (3, 3, 4, 9, (30), 18, 2, 5)
5th ITA Francesco Marcolini & Edoardi Bianchi 46 points (11, 7, 10, 5, 1, (52 OCS), 10, 2)
6th NED Mitch Booth & Pim Nieuwenhuis 52 points (7, 2, 6, 8, (26), 22, 4, 3)
7th ESP Fernando Echavarri & Anton Paz 70 points (1, 14, 8, 11, 23, (52 OCS), 6, 7)
8th USA John Lovell & Charlie Ogletree 71 points (2, 5, 29, (52 DNF), 3, 16, 3, 13)
9th FRA Xavier Revil & Cristophe Espagnon 72 points (18, 12, 14, 6, 6, (52 OCS), 8, 8)
10th FRA Billy Besson & Arnaud Jarlegan 73 points (19, (20), 7, 4, 5, 6, 16, 16)
11th AUT Roman Hagara & Hans Peter Steinacher 74 points (10, 25, 12, 15, 2, 9, (52 DNF), 1)
12th NZL Aaron McIntosh & Mark Kennedy 75 points (17, 8, 5, 7, 10, 13, (24), 15)