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20 February 2008, 10:50 am
Stars Line Up For Tornado Worlds
John LOVELL and Charlie OGLETREE
The Tornados in action in Takapuna at Sail Auckland

Tornado World Championship 2008
Takapuna Beach, Auckland, New Zealand

On Monday 25 February, the first race will start off Takapuna Beach in New Zealand for the 2008 Tornado World Championship, the final qualifier for the 2008 Olympic multihull event.
Fifty entries are confirmed with representatives from 21 different countries coming to North Shore City for this World Championships.

With the Olympic Games now just six months away, this 50-boat Tornado fleet is world class and includes a multitude of Olympic and World Champions and medallists. An important lead-up regatta for those on the road to the 2008 Olympic Sailing Competition in Qingdao, China, the Tornado World Championships has attracted an unprecedented fleet of Olympic multihull sailors to New Zealand.

Racing will start on Monday 25 February with a practice race scheduled for Sunday 24. February. The regatta will conclude with the crowning of the new Tornado World Champions on Saturday 1 March.

Racing will take place on the waters of the Inner Hauraki Gulf a short distance from Takapuna Beach and the Takapuna Boating Club on Auckland's North Shore. The Tornado crews will prepare and sail from the Takapuna Boating Club.

Twelve of the 16 Tornado berths for the 2008 Olympic Games have already been decided, however for nations who have not yet qualified; this regatta is the final chance to collect one of the four remaining places. There are nine nations entered to compete in Takapuna who are yet to qualify, including New Zealand, so the battle will be fierce.

Austria, Canada, Denmark, New Zealand, Poland, Puerto Rico, Russia and Ukraine will fight it out for the final four Olympic places up for grabs.

Top Internationals

Favourites for the title are Darren BUNDOCK and Glenn ASHBY (AUS), currently #1 in the ISAF World Sailing Rankings. The Aussie pair are on top form after a string of recent wins at Sail Melbourne, the Australian Nationals and SIRs. They have rarely finished outside the top five in all the major international regattas over the past three years. They won the just-concluded Singapore Sail Auckland Regatta, an ISAF Grade 1 event, sailed off Takapuna.

Challenging the Australians will be Roman HAGARA and Hans Peter STEINACHER (AUT) who won Olympic gold in 2004 in Athens and 2000 in Sydney. In 2007 HAGARA and STEINACHER took out the Olympic Test Event in Qingdao and also won the Tornado North American Championship.

Current World Champions Fernando ECHAVARRI and Anton PAZ (ESP) are coming to Takapuna to defend the title they won on Cascais, Portugal in 2007. Carolijn BROUWER and Sebbe GODEFROID (BEL), silver medallists in 2007, are also amongst the leading contenders.

The following countries are represented: Argentina, Austria, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Denmark, France, Great Britain, Germany, Greece, Italy, Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Puerto Rico, Russia, Spain, Ukraine, and USA.

All the ISAF top 20 ranked crews in the Tornado class will be competing.

Local New Zealand Entries

The 50-boat fleet boasts eight New Zealand entries including former Olympic medallists Aaron MCINTOSH, Bruce KENDALL and Rex SELLERS.

MCINTOSH took over the mantle of New Zealand's top male windsurfer from KENDALL in the late 1990s with back to back world titles in 1997 and 1998 and an Olympic bronze medal sailing the Mistral board for New Zealand in Sydney 2000. Switching to the Tornado around five years ago in 2003 MCINTOSH will sail this regatta with Mark KENNEDY as crew.

KENDALL's board-sailing career peaked in the 1980s, winning Olympic bronze in 1984 in Los Angeles and Olympic gold in 1988 in Seoul. KENDALL's debut in the Tornado class came in 2006. He will helm with Blair TUKE as crew. TUKE is a former Splash World Champ and won a silver medal at the Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championship in 2007 sailing the 29er.

Rex SELLERS (57) has won Olympic gold (1984 Los Angeles) and Olympic silver (1988 Seoul) for New Zealand in the Tornado class. With this world championship regatta on SELLERS home waters he is back on the cat sailing with his son Brett SELLERS.

Others To Watch...

Other names to look out for in Takapuna include:

John LOVELL and Charlie OGLETREE (USA) - 2004 Olympic silver medallists
Santiago LANGE and Carlos ESPINOLA (ARG) - 2004 Olympic bronze medallists
Mitch BOOTH and Pim NIEUWENHUIS (NED) - 2007 World Championship bronze medallists

Tornado World Championship - www.takapunaworlds.org
Jodie Bakewell-White (As Amended By ISAF)
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