The Formula Windsurfing Australian Championships are being conducted first, as a warm up event from 9-11 December, to allow sailors and officials to practice in the local conditions before the main event - the 2005 World Championships take place from 12-17 December 2005.
Many of the competitors are already in Melbourne training for the races ahead and as the start date gets closer the excitement and anticipation builds. As a qualification only event, the World Championships will see a massive feet of 120 sailors from 23 different nations compete for the title. The entry list reads as a who's who of Formula Windsurfing with all previous World Champions in the class attending the event in addition to those hotly following in their wakes.
Wojtek BRZOZOWSKI from Poland, who won the title in 1999 and 2000 and was second in 2001 and 2002, may be the favorite due to his familiarity with the local conditions after he came to Sail Melbourne in January 2005 - winning the Oceanic Continental Championship. The 2004 World Champion Micah BUZIANIS (USA) and champion windsurfer in a range of disciplines and current Formula Windsurfing European Champion Antoine ALBEAU (FRA) will also stop at nothing to win the title and are confirmed attendees. Kevin PRITCHARD (USA) who won the World Championship in 2001 and 2002 will also be here and with his recent efforts in the windsurfing Super Cross events may be well suited to the wind and swell typical of Port Phillip.
Brisbane sailor now living in Poland and 2003 World Champion, Steve ALLEN will lead the charge for the local sailors and certainly has the form to do it again in 2005. Fellow Australian's Sam PARKER and Jasper ORTH will do more than make up the numbers and are expected to be very competitive against the massive international contingent.
The Women's fleet is just as impressive with all the top Formula Windsurfing girls coming to Melbourne to race for the title. Four time World Champion and local heroine Dorota STASZEWSKA from Poland will be in hot contention for the title due to her experience and history of success on the Formula board but is unfamiliar with the local winds.
Women's PWA Racing World Champion, Allison SHREEVE, will head the Australian line up and will be ultra keen to win having placed second in the 2004 Worlds held in Poland. She has been training, testing and tuning her equipment tirelessly over the last 12 months, knows the Port Phillip conditions very well and holds good form coming into the championships. SHREEVE narrowly missed selection to the 2004 Olympic Games in the Mistral Boards but now finds the Formula boards more to her liking.
Formula Windsurfers are unlike other windsurfers built for sailing in big waves or doing jumping tricks, they are designed to race as fast as possible around a set course of buoys in the water and as such, they are one of the fastest course racing classes in the world often reading speeds over 30 knots.