The first day of the event started yesterday with the applicantions and equipment registrations. Guido Verlaeckt from Belgium, the ISAF [International Sailing Federation] Official Measurer, did his verification job on boards and sails and, as it could be easily expected, everything complied with the standards required by the Class. The registrations’ formalization went on through this morning, as the extended number of participants - 100 sailors – forced the staff to make an extra effort.
The Portimão Formula Windsurfing World Championships 2008 gathers in Portugal, from September the 8th untill the 14th, the elite of the world windsurfing. In this ISAF [International Sailing Federation] event, we’re counting on the presence of the most relevant sailors of the five Continents, in order to award the best of them the titles of World Champions in the Men and Women divisions.
According to the schedule, at 11:00 a.m. Claudio Alessandrello - Director of the 2008 Portimão Formula Windsurfing World Championships – has started the skippers meeting before the presence of all the sailors, who waited patiently for the forecasted wind. A first possible start was immediately settled to 04:00 p.m., as long as the weather forecast would come true.
In effect, at that time, a slight Atlantic breeze came in Alvor, allowing the setup of the regatta field with the same format as the Olympic triangle, adapted to the requirements of the Class and prepared for the two races to be disputed in the Women Division.
The first race was won by Marta Hlavaty [POL 1] from Poland who, nevertheless, had to fight fiercely against Allison Shreeve [AUS 911] – the Australian, current World Champion, who finished in second - and Olga Maslivets UKR 9 from Ukraine, in 5th. However, the Women Division showed a lot of surprises and turned out to be hotly contested, as in the 2nd race Marta won once again, closely followed by Allison and Olga.
This Championships promise lot of surprises as well in the Men Division! With only one race disputed, a lot of the new world windsurfing stars started to show their best performances in a limitless competition, fighting for the title.
So, Gonzalo Costa Hoevel [ARG 3] from Argentina has conquered his first points in Portimão, closely followed by the Poland Pawel Hlavaty [POL 11] and the British Ross Williams [GBR-83], currently the Europe Champion. After the end of the first race out of the 15 possible races scheduled for the 2008 Portimão Formula Windsurfing World Championships, the results were the following:
1. Gonzalo Costa Hoevel [ARG 3]
2. Pawel Hlavaty [POL 11]
3. Ross Williams [GBR 83]
4. Alberto Menegatti [ITA 1]
5. Michal Polanowski [POL 16]
6. Dennis Littel [NED 13]
7. Wilhelm Schurmann [BRA 999]
8. Fabio Melo [BRA 74]
9. Lukasz Konieczny [POL 320]
10. Wojtek Brzozowski [POL 10]
At the end of the day, an informal ceremony took place, in which the Overpower Club presented the event’s most relevant faces – with a special notability given to Francisco Florêncio [Chairman of the Municipal Assembly of Portimão], Luís Piscarreta [Administrator of ExpoArade], João Neuparth [Administrator of Grupo Pestana] – as well as the highest world windsurfing ruling entities, representatives of the biggest race sponsors, competitors and regatta officials, who exchanged “promises of marriage” between this sport and the city of Portimão.