Bjorn Dunkerbeck

Bjorn Dunkerbeck (SUI, Proof, North Sails) and Valerie Ghibaudo (FRA, Loft Sails) are the European Champions of Speed Windsurfing 2008 !

In a thrilling final gold fleet race Bjorn Dunkerbeck defeated Antoine Albeau (FRA, Starboard) who was leading the competition until that final race. Both were tied in points, with the tie broken in favour of Antoine Albeau by the top speed of the season (43.68 knots), a new spot record as well.

Cyril Moussilmani (FRA, Fanatic, North) saved his third place with his fifth third position out of six races, clearly ahead of former world record holder Finian Maynard (BVI). In fifth place then Chris Lockwood (AUS, Carbon Art, KA Sails).

In the womens fleet, Valerie dominated all six races with six victories, also clear in second Anja Kruse (GER, F2, North) with five second places. Third place then goes to Elke Schill (GER, F2, North) from the hosting Pro Center.

The event started with the first split fleet race in speed sailing history, to get a proper seeding for the upcoming silver and gold fleet races.

Antoine Albeau (FRA, Starboard) dominated group A, Peter Volwater (NED, F2, North) in second ahead of Cyril Moussilmani (FRA, Fanatic, North), then Chris Lockwood (AUS, Carbon Art, KA Sails). Group B kicked of with the long expected duell between Bjorn Dunkerbeck and Finian Maynard (BVI), and Bjorn showed with some fantastic runs over 41 knots the potential of that strip. Surprisingly Ben van der Steen (NED) came in second, followed by Torsten Luig (GER, T1, North), Finian in fourth then.

The second day of competition brought the conditions that Devils Bay is well known for: winds of 8 Beaufort, gusting 10, brought problems for almost all of the silver fleet competitors, and the gold fleet was setting new standards in competition speed sailing.

The skippersmeeting was set to 9:00 at that day, as the forecast was promising strong wind early, and the wind was strong. The gold fleet hit the water sharp at 9:30, and everybody was doing 40s easily from the very beginning. Antoine and Bjorn Dunkerbeck (SUI, Proof, North) were both pushing for higher and higher speeds. Cyril Moussilmani (FRA, Fanatic, North) in third and Finian Maynard (BVI) in fourth.

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Portimão Formula Windsurfing World Championships 

Portimão Formula Windsurfing World Championships 2008 will concentrate the elite of worldwide windsurfing in Portugal, from the 8th to the 14th September. This ISAF [International Sailing Federation] event joins the best athletes from the 5 continents, to award the best of them the titles of World Champion both in the Men and Women leagues.
 
At present, the list of participants in these Championships shows the top sailors in the world. Names such as Steve Allen from Australia [World Formula Champion 2006], Ross Williams from UK [Europe Formula Champion], Wojtek Brzozowski from Poland [with several World Champion titles], Willhelm Schurmann from Brazil [Pan-American Champion and #2 of the world rankings], Gonzalo Costa Hoevel from Argentina [the winner of the last Grand Prix that took place in Portugal]... to mention just a few of the brightest stars of this sport's universe. In the women's league, the current World Champion - Australian Allison Shreeve - is already coming to Portimão, where besides defending her title, she will show the advantages of the new olympic project.
 
Also many of the most important Olympic sailors, in Qingdao, China, have already asked IWA [International Windsurfing Association] how to participate in these very special World Champions, where we can observe the performance of the new board - aspiring candidate to be the next 2012 official Olympic windsufing board. The event Portimão Formula Windsurfing World Championships 2008 will be the stage where all the attentions from the highest entities that regulate the Olympic sport will be focused, once that the Formula Windsurfing – One Design is the best project to integrate the next Olympic games.
 
With the excellence of this event, the Organizing Committee is leaded by Manuel da Luz [President of the City Hall of Portimão] and assisted by Luís Carito [President of Expoarade, EM], João Pedro Cascais [President of the CA of the Portuguese Sailing Federation], José Guimarães [President of Overpower Club] and Ceri Williams [President of the Class]... All of them are developing an exemplary work for the success of the event in Portugal.

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Tom Ashley

Tom ASHLEY, also the reigning World Champion, sailed a near flawless Medal Race, finishing third to win a tight three-way contest for gold. It is the first Olympic gold medal in sailing won by New Zealand since Barbara KENDALL’s victory in the Women’s Windsurfer event at Barcelona 1992. Frenchman Julien BONTEMPS finished one place behind ASHLEY in today’s Medal Race to take silver, whilst Israel’s Shahar ZUBARI edged out Nick DEMPSEY (GBR) to win bronze, winning the first medal for Israel at this Olympic Games.

Since finishing 10th in Athens as a 20 year old, ASHLEY has matured into a world beater on the windsurfing scene, a status he confirmed earlier this year with World Championship success on his home waters in New Zealand. In a fleet in which many competitors have a big performance differential in different wind conditions, his all-round ability has proved crucial this week and brought him the Olympic gold medal.

"I've done it! It's the most incredible feeling and I can't begin to tell you how I feel right now," ASHLEY commented on returning to the boat park. ASHLEY, who is coached by Grant BECK (NZL), an instrumental figure the three previous medal wins of KENDALL, added that his Olympic success is the end of a long road, "I’ve been working toward this for so many years. It was an insanely tough Medal Race," he said. "The weather had a little bit of everything. I tried to sail as consistently as I could."

Yesterday ASHLEY had had his worst race of the regatta after getting caught on the wrong side of a big wind shift and finishing down in the 32nd place. That had dropped him from first to third overall, although he was still just one point off the lead and knew that if he could finish ahead of BONTEMPS and DEMPSEY today and not let ZUBARI get too far ahead, the gold medal would be his.

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