23rd of September 2008, Portugal, 2008 Formula Windsurfing Worlds

Allison pipped by a point for Formula Windsurfing World title 2008

In beautiful Portimao, Portugal the Formula Windsurfing World Championships have concluded after the closely contested seven day event. In the end, only one point separated first and second place in the Formula women representing ten nations.

Australia’s Allison Shreeve, Formula Windsurfing’s World champion for the past four successive years has had to settle for runner-up this year to the ‘in-form’ current European Champion Marta Hlavaty from Poland. “I’ve never had such a close World title regatta, with Marta and I within one point of each other the whole week, and for two of the days we were on equal points! We were close in more ways than one, as we ended up as sharing a room for the week which was interesting!” Allison recalled.

Racing in conditions ranging from 7 to 28 knots of very gusty and shifty winds on most days, with 1 to 2 metre swells, made for challenging racing. Allison excelled and dominated the class fleet winning five of the eleven races when the wind was at its fiercest gusting close to 30 knots at times. Sadly though in her favoured strong conditions for this event, Allison’s mast snapped in two on the way to the starting line for race 9, and despite being taken to shore by the rescue boat and a desperate attempt to swap the mast over, she did not make the race in time and ended up watching from the beach. In true form though Allison fought back in race 10 with a convincing win to put her into 1st place overall on a count back.

The forecast for the final two days had everyone convinced that there would be no more racing meaning that Allison would retain her world title, however, in a last minute decision literally, the race committee sent the women out for race 11 half an hour before the deadline at the end of the day when a slight breeze of 7 knots came onto the course area, giving the Polish champion the final win in her favoured light conditions, and ultimately the championship as there was no more opportunity for racing on the final day. Third place overall went to Olga Maslivets from Ukraine, with Verena Fauster (Italy), Sarah Herbert (Armenia) and Agnieszka Pietrasik (Poland) applying the most pressure for a podium finish. “I think it’s great for the sport to have new Champions. Marta is sailing extremely well and I’m happy for her winning her first World Title.”

There will be a lot of celebrating in Poland because the honour of World Champion also goes to Poland in the men’s fleet with Wojtek Brzozowski securing first place, and two of his team mates Michal Polanowski picking up 3rd and Marta’s brother Pawel Hlavaty a credible 5th. They were split up by Gonzalo Costa Hoevel (Argentina) in 2nd and Ross Williams (Great Britain) in 4th.

Allison’s time at this year’s World Championships was also devoted to promoting the new Formula Windsurfing One Design (FOD) Class which will hopefully be selected in November 2008 by the International Sailing Federation (ISAF) as the windsurfing equipment to be used at the London 2012 Olympics. As the Athlete’s Representative selected on the steering committee, Allison spent most of her time promoting, reporting, racing and helping ten Starboard sponsored sailors to set up and test the FOD equipment during the event. The equipment is a proven perfect One Design class for the Olympics being competitive in the open Formula fleets in six events held this year including the World Championships where racing was held in all conditions ranging from 6 to 30+ knots. While up against rivals with the most advanced Formula racing equipment, Allison was able to show that Formula One Design can be competitive in the open professional Formula fleet, so in that regard “my mission here has been a success and the Formula One Design has proven it’s worth for consideration as the best and most exciting racing equipment for the London 2012 Olympics.”

Allison would like to thank Starboard, Rick Mitri and Ceri Williams for their support. If you would like more information regarding photos, sponsorship or upcoming events please visit her dedicated website www.aus911.com.