12th of September 2008, Portugal, 2008 Formula Windsurfing Worlds

Allison and Marta stories...

Day three the forecast was for the strongest wind of the event. By 3pm it was already 20 knots and building. The first race of the day we all got a clean start, but with superior speed on the upwind I managed to lead the whole race from the 1st mark onwards. Marta and Olga coming in close behind. The second race the wind shifted a little and became light and gusty. On the first upwind we were all lined up to go out to the left corner, but after 300m Marta just squeezed me out and I dropped in behind her with less height. To escape her dirty air I tacked first to come across the middle of the course. Unfortunately sailing through a huge hole and less wind, I ended up 6th to the top mark with Marta and Olga first and second. Working hard on the downwind I managed to gibe on the inside of Verena and Aga to round the bottom in 4th, gaining a little more on the upwind to the top 3 there was about 100m between the top 4 by the windward mark. Rounding close to Maria I managed to take her on the down wind finishing behind the consistent Marta and Olga.

The third and fourth races were once again windy, 17-24knots, with most of the girls opting for 9m sails, I took the 10m and managed two bullets to finish the day. After a crash on the start with Kasha running into my right ankle, I recovered to start a few seconds late. With Marta, Sarah, Olga and Verena all powering upwind it was a fight to hang onto the 10m and catch up. With a perfect layline I managed to round ahead in first and kept the lead until the end. Some of the girls were unlucky with the upwind finish, losing places with the shifty offshore conditions right at the end of the race. The last race of the day was almost a repeat of the last race but with the stronger wind, making everyone that much more tired. At the end of the day Marta and I were leading on an equal 8 points with Marta winning on a count back, Olga in third.

Day four was predicted more offshore wind but much more gusty, in the morning we had 5-25knots with 40 degree wind shifts. We were waiting on the beach most of the day some happy not to race, others frustrated with planning conditions and not racing. Finally they sent the men for their 10th race while us women prepared. We could see the angle changes with the men’s fleet, with some of them even coming off the plane on the upwind. 20 minutes to the start we hit the water, knowing that today could be the last day of raceable conditions, it was so important to come out on top. I sailed down wind around the men’s fleet, but unfortunately my mast snapped and hit the drink. Fortunately Marta saw me and alerted the rescue boat and within 5 minutes they were helping me on the dingy with all my gear. Racing back to shore, I sprinted up the beach to get my other sail, but by the time I ran back down to my board, race 9 for the women had started. Extremely frustrated and upset, I had to watch the women race without me from the shore. Agneska won this race with Marta in second.

After this race, it was clear we would only get one more race for the day. Extremely nervous and pumped to work as hard as possible. I knew I had to win this race if I had a chance for the title. I took my 10m sail, with the wind picking up to over 25 knots. I knew that some of the girls would take smaller sails and perhaps have more control, but I couldn’t risk not having speed so I went big. Fully overpowered and using all my strength we started the race in the choppy conditions. A good start at the boat and above the fleet I managed to gradually creep over the girls up the first beat. Putting in a safe tack, I had a good layline and extended my lead by making the mark in one tack. The chicken strap came in very useful this downwind as the gusts were really coming through strong and at times nearly lost it in the chop. Rounding 1st at the bottom, with Olga 50m behind and the others still in touch we started the 2nd upwind. Olga had slightly better height having the smaller sail, but I knew if I could hang on and not fall in I could stay in first. Underlaying the top mark I had to double tack, losing quite a lot of meters to Olga, still in front we started the downwind. Olga gibed first so I gibed in a slightly smaller gust for safety and managed to hang on till the last gibe mark and take out the last race. Fortunately for me Marta finished fourth which became her 2nd drop, putting me in the lead on a count back!

Talk about a close regatta, I have never had such a competition where the two leaders have been within one point for three days. The funniest part of all this is, Marta and I are sharing a room in the same hotel! Lets see what happens in the last two days.

Allison Shreeve (AUS-911)

It’s a fifth day of competition going on now in Portugal. Forecast is not so good for today but we hope for this side-shore breeze coming every day.
Already we had four days of really exciting rivalry in various wind speed. So now we are after 11 men’s runs and 10 women’s runs which makes this event fully packed with races as it is very satisfactory for competitors and organizers as well. Moreover it’s hot and sunny every day and organization is great so we all have splendid time here.
For me this competition is very hard fight with Alison from the beginning as we are now first and second with same points. Unfortunately I’m the one ranked 2nd so I really hope for some more races in those two upcoming daysJ
we have all biggest name here like Sarah Hebert, Verena Fauster, Alison Shreeve, Aga Pietrasik, Maria Andres, Olga Maslivets and more what makes this event really high level one.
In men’s fleet it is tough as always. I’m very happy of my brother in 5th position although I wished he will get medal here. Also all Polish team is doing very good what makes me smile.
Generally as I always say it’s very exciting and usefully to watch guys racing.
I’m very happy of everything going on here and I hope to come back to Portugal for sailing next year.

Marta Hlavaty (POL-111)