In Tallinn, Estonia, Allison Shreeve has defended her world championship title for the third consecutive year. The 2005 and 2006 world champion put in her best performance yet, winning every race (11 in total) held during the week of 13th to 18th August, in very trying and varied conditions ranging from 10 to 27 knots. Shreeve fended off a class fleet, stamping yet again her dominance in the sport and maintaining her No.1 world ranking. French rival Sarah Herbert proved very competitive gaining 2nd place overall, and in 3rd place the current European champion Agnieszka Pietrasik from Poland.
Shreeve travelled to Estonia after switching from the RS:X class due to a disappointing performance in her final qualifying event. Being ranked No.11 in the world in the Olympic class was not enough for Shreeve to gain Olympic selection, so the obvious choice was to return to Formula windsurfing, despite minimal preparation. “I only had two weeks to prepare for the World Championships, and was quite concerned having not been on a Formula board since the world titles last year in Korea". Shreeve went in the Baltic Cup as a warm up event to tune in her new F2 board and equipment, and to again get the feel for Formula racing. A strong performance and first place in the event signalled a warning to the other competitors of what was to come.
The first two days of the World Championships saw very light winds, and despite the race committee’s best efforts to get the event underway, it wasn’t until the third day that the competitors got some reward after the frustration of races being abandoned due to unstable conditions. What followed were gruelling 8 hour days on the water in conditions ranging from 10 – 27 knots and at times, very choppy swell and strong gusts. While challenging for the racers, it made for exciting viewing for the spectators who were treated to up close action and countless spills as sailors catapulted into the washing machine like waters near the break wall.
“It was really hard to know which equipment to take out, with the 10m sail too big for the waves, and the 9m too small when the wind backed off. But that’s the great thing about Formula windsurfing – it’s about weighing up the conditions, the wind, the current, the land formations, the competition, and choosing the right sails and fins. It’s about being rewarded for being able to hold the power in the larger sails, and control the board in all conditions."
Shreeve will now return to Sydney, Australia after five months of competing and training overseas. Her short term goals are now firmly focussed on the international professional windsurfing tour, taking on Slalom, Formula, and Speed events. Ultimately Allison would like to again attempt to break the Women’s World Speed record, to add to her “A" class world speed record that she obtained in November 2005.
To follow Allison’s progress or sponsor her, visit her website at www.aus911.com
Photo Credit: Indrek Ahun