Two hundred of the world's best windsurfers are in Auckland for the 2008 ISAF Grade W RS:X World Championships, set to start off Takapuna Beach this weekend.
It is an all-important regatta for many Olympic hopefuls who have travelled from around the globe to compete in the final qualification regatta for the 2008 Olympic Sailing Competition.
A practice race will take place this Saturday and competition will start on Sunday on the Hauraki Gulf off Takapuna Boating Club. Many competitors are on the water already getting familiar with the local conditions before racing starts.
Just seven months remain until Qingdao, China lights up with the 2008 Olympic Sailing Competition in August and the 2008 RS:X Windsurfing World Championships represents the final chance for remaining countries to qualify a place to compete in the Men's and Women's Windsurfing events. In Olympic sailing, each nation that qualifies can send just one sailor to compete in that class.
Nine more countries will earn national qualification for the 2008 Olympic Games at this event. In total 35 sailors will be on the start line in Qingdao, China.
There are 21 countries represented at this World Championship that are yet to qualify for an entry in the Men's RS:X at the Olympic Games later this year. With just nine places remaining there will be some interesting mid-fleet battles amongst those sailors fighting to qualify their country.
Competing nations yet to qualify in the men's event include the following: Australia, Bulgaria, Colombia, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Indonesia, India, Ireland, Korea, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Russia, Slovenia, Slovakia, Thailand, Taiwan and Venezuela
Seven more countries will earn national qualification for the Olympic Games 2008 at this event. In total 28 sailors will be on the start line in Qingdao, China.
There are 13 countries represented at this World Championship that are yet to qualify for an entry in the Women's RS:X at the Olympic Games later this year. With just seven places remaining six nations that are here in New Zealand will miss out on Olympic qualification.
Nations yet to qualify in the Women's division include the following: Argentina, Armenia, Croatia, Cyprus, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Mexico, Russia, Thailand, Turkey, Uruguay and USA.
RS:X World Championships - www.rsxclass.com/worlds2008.html