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30 January 2007, 10:51 am
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RS:X New Zealand Championships 2007
Auckland, New Zealand

The RS:X New Zealand Championships concluded after four days of racing in Takapuna, Auckland, with Tom ASHLEY (NZL) and Alessandra SENSINI (ITA) taking off the titles. The regatta attracted some top international competition in both the women's and men's events.
ASHLEY came out on top in the men's event with an overall win giving him the Open and New Zealand National Championship titles for 2007. ASHLEY, representing Takapuna Boating Club had a strong and consistent regatta, with four wins and three second places on home waters to seal the title, over Makim OBEREMKO (UKR) in second, and Jon-Paul TOBIN (NZL) in third.

'It's been really great. We had some light winds during the regatta, which I've been targeting my training towards,' says ASHLEY. 'To sail well in the light breeze was the main positive that I've taken out of this regatta.'

Top international windsurfers have come to New Zealand for this event and the upcoming ISAF Grade 1 Sail Auckland regatta, as part of the down under circuit.

'We've had a really good fleet,' says ASHLEY. 'Maksym OBEREMKO has an ISAF Ranking of #2, and he was sixth at the Worlds last year. He always sails well, and he sailed well here in the light. It was great to have him and the other internationals here.'

Olympic Legends Head-To-Head

SENSINI, current World Champ and three-time Olympic medallist from Italy beat New Zealand Olympic legend Barbara KENDALL in the women's event. SENSINI was strong with five wins from ten races, and KENDALL was delighted to have the tough competition to line up against.

'To sail against Alessandra has shown me where I've got to get to beat the current World Champ,' says KENDALL. 'I made a couple of mistakes and have identified a couple of weaknesses, so the tough competition has been really useful for me. It's given me some things to go away and improve on.'

While SENSINI wins the open women's title, KENDALL takes the New Zealand National Champion title after finishing in second place, and the highest placed Kiwi. World #1 Olga MASLIVETS of the Ukraine was third.

Varied Conditions

'It has been a fantastic regatta with a real variety of conditions. We've had from the really, really light right through to extremely windy today, so it's been a very fair regatta because of that,' says KENDALL.

'The quality of sailors here was awesome, it's just been fantastic. The international girls know that we've got a good group of girls here who sail and race consistently. Some of the Kiwi girls are better in the light, and some are better in the heavy winds, so they know they're going to get good competition whatever the conditions.'

Sail Auckland starts ten days from now, and the internationals are sticking around to line up again, making it the strongest windsurfing fleet New Zealand has seen in a while. Another six international board sailors from Italy, France and Bulgaria are expected in Auckland for the ISAF Grade 1 Sail Auckland regatta which will be sailed off Kohimarama Yacht Club.

Jodie Perkins (As Amended By ISAF). Image, Alessandra SENSINI won in Auckland:© Jeff Crow, Sport the Library at Sail Melbourne
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