With no fewer than 27 countries being represented at the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy (WPNSA), and event debuts being made by nations such as the USA, Canada, Turkey, Singapore, Argentina and Peru, it is set to be a memorable week of World Class windsurfing.
The Under 17 Bic Techno Boys’ competition boasts the biggest gathering, with some 116 sailors going head-to-head on the Techno 7.8 boards while 260 youngsters in total will take part in the Junior events on the Techno boards.
Meanwhile, 40 Under 20 sailors will do battle in the Raceboard Youth contest and more than 50 Masters – for sailors over 35 – will be showing they can still compete at the highest level.
As part of the American team competing at the Championships for the first time, Massachusetts’ Solvig Sayre, who goes in the Raceboard Youth division having represented the States on the RS:X 8.5 at the ISAF Youth Worlds last month, says the experience so far has been “incredible.”
“It is very, very exciting being among the first group of young Americans coming through and taking part in this event. We all look up to the top British and European sailors and to be competing at this incredible venue against the best young European sailors is a great test for us and a fantastic experience.”
Meanwhile Spaniard Alex Lopez from Barcelona, a contender in the Techno Under 17 competition, hopes Weymouth and Portland lives up to its reputation as a breezy sailor-friendly venue.
He added: “When we had the practice race today it was very low wind but when we arrived two days ago it was much better and we will be hoping that we get a little bit more wind this week. There is nothing better in windsurfing than planing when there is good wind, going really fast, and we hope that we will be doing a lot of planing this week!”
Racing is scheduled to get underway at 11am today with the medals being decided on Saturday 29 August. Friday 28 August is scheduled to be a lay day.
With the forecast predicting Westerly breezes of nine – 15 knots a decent first day of racing in Portland Harbour is being hotly anticipated.
The Championships incorporate the Bic Techno Under 15 (Techno 6.8) and Under 17 (Techno 7.8) for boys and girls and Raceboard Youth and Raceboard Masters Worlds for men and women. Each class shall race a minimum of three races per day and a maximum of 12 for the series.
The IWA Junior, Youth and Masters Worlds is the first of three back-to-back World Class events being run by the RYA, supported by UK Sport, being hosted at WPNSA over the next month with the RS:X World Championships taking place the week immediately following the IWA Worlds before the Skandia Sail for Gold Regatta – the final round of the 2009 ISAF Sailing World Cup Series – welcomes the cream of the World’s Olympic Classes sailors from 14 – 19 September.
To follow all the action from WPNSA visit www.ryaracingevents.org.uk