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Sailing - 23. February 2008.

2008 Tornado World Championships

Next week, the first race will start off Takapuna Beach for the 2008 Tornado World Championship, on Monday 25 February 2008. 50 entries are confirmed with representatives from 21 different countries coming to North Shore City for this World Championships which doubles as the final 2008 Olympic qualifier.

photo Richard Gladwell

With the Olympic Games now just six months away this 50 boat Tornado fleet is world class and includes a multitude of Olympic and World Champions and medallists. An important lead-up regatta for those on the road to Qingdao, China the Tornado World Championships has attracted an unprecedented fleet of Olympic multi-hull sailors to New Zealand.

Racing will start on Monday 25th February with a practice race scheduled for Sunday 24th. The regatta concludes with the crowning of the new Tornado World Champions on Saturday 1st March.

The Tornado catamaran has been an Olympic class since its debut in 1976 and is touted as the fastest production catamaran in the world. Fast and spectacular the Tornado World Championship regatta off Takapuna Beach promises to be an exciting spectacle.

The Schedule

Day Date Time
Day 1 Friday 22 February 0900 Registration & Equipment Inspection
Day 2 Saturday 23 February 0900 Registration & Equipment Inspection
1800 Welcome and Opening Ceremony
Day 3 Sunday 24 February 0900 Registration Equipment Inspection
1400hrs Practice Race
Day 4 Monday 25 February 1300 2 Races
Day 5 Tuesday 26 February 1300 2 Races
Day 6 Wednesday 27 February 1300 2 Races
Day 7 Thursday 28 February Reserve Day
Day 8 Friday29 February 1300 2 Races
Day 9 Saturday 1 March 1100 2 Races
1900 hrs Closing Ceremony & Prize Giving

Where will racing take place?

Racing will take place on the waters of the Inner Hauraki Gulf a short distance from Takapuna Beach and the Takapuna Boating Club on Auckland's North Shore. The Tornado crews will prepare and sail from the Takapuna Boating Club.

Current Entry Numbers

Tornado World Championships - 50 entries, 100 sailors from 21 countries

Olympic Qualification

12 of the maximum 16 Olympic Tornado berths have already been decided however for nations who have not yet qualified; this regatta is the final chance to collect one of the four remaining places. There are nine nations entered to compete in Takapuna who are yet to qualify, including New Zealand, so the battle will be fierce.

Austria, Canada, Denmark, New Zealand, Poland, Puerto Rico, Russia and Ukraine will fight it out for the final four Olympic places up for grabs.

Top Internationals

Darren Bundock & Glenn Ashby, Australia
Currently ISAF ranked #1 Bundock and Ashby are on form with a string of recent wins at Sail Melbourne, the Australian Nationals and SIRs. This Australian pair has rarely finished outside the top five in all the major international regattas over the past three years. They won the just concluded Singapore Sail Auckland Regatta, and ISAF Grade 1 event, sailed off Takapuna.

Roman Hagara & Hans Peter Steinacher, Austria
Reigning Olympic Champions this pair won Olympic gold in 2004 in Athens and 2000 in Sydney. In 2007 Hagara and Steinacher took out the Olympic Test Event in Qingdao and also won the Tornado North American Championship.

Fernando Echavarri & Anton Paz, Spain
Current World Champions Echavarri and Paz are coming to Takapuna to defend the title they won on Cascais, Portugal in 2007.

Carolijn Brouwer & Sebbe Godefroid, Belguim
Carolijn Brouwer will be aiming for her third Olympics in 2008, she finished second in the 2007 World Championships with crew Sebbe Godefroid

The following countries are represented: Argentina, Austria, Australia, Belguim, Brazil, Canada, China, Denmark, France, Great Britain, Germany, Greece, Italy, Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Puerto Rico, Russia, Spain, Ukraine, and United States.

All the ISAF top 20 ranked crews in the Tornado class will be competing. (ISAF is the International Sailing Federation, the world governing body for sailing.)

Local New Zealand Entries

The 50 boat fleet boasts eight New Zealand entries including former Olympic medallists Aaron McIntosh, Bruce Kendall and Rex Sellers.

Aaron McIntosh and Mark Kennedy
McIntosh took over the mantle of New Zealand's top male windsurfer from Bruce Kendall in the late 90's with back to back world titles in 1997 and 1998 and an Olympic bronze medal sailing the Mistral board for New Zealand in Sydney 2000. Switching to the Tornado around five years ago in 2003 McIntosh will sail this regatta with Mark Kennedy as crew.

Bruce Kendall and Blair Tuke
Bruce Kendall's board-sailing career peaked in the 80's winning Olympic bronze in 1984 in Los Angeles and Olympic gold in 1988 in Seoul. Kendall's debut in the Tornado class came in 2006. He will helm with Blair Tuke as crew. Tuke is a former Splash World Champ and won a silver medal at the ISAF Youth World Championships in 2007 sailing the 29er.

Rex and Brett Sellers
Rex Sellers (57) has won Olympic gold (1984 Los Angeles) and Olympic silver (1988 Seoul) for New Zealand in the Tornado class. With this world championship regatta on Sellers home waters he is back on the cat sailing with his son Brett.

Others to watch...

John Lovell & Charlie Ogletree, USA - 2004 Olympic Silver medallists
Santiago Lange & Carlos Espinola, ARG - 2004 Olympic Bronze Medallists
Mitch Booth & Pim Nieuwenhuis, NED - 2007 World Championship Bronze medallists

For more information:

Regatta Website: www.takapunaworlds.org
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