Bright and breezy in Qingdao - picture time!

Qingdao Olympic Regatta 2008. 49er fleet heading towards an inshore gybe.
The 49er fleet series kicked off today with three races, sailed in bright sunshine, close to the shore (Course area ‘A’) and in breeze that varied from 8-9 kts at 110 deg to less than 6 kts from 125 deg. The last couple of days we have seen the breeze come in during the afternoon and stay into the evening, but the last race today was sailed in seriously light and funky conditions off a start line slap bang in front of the spectator area on the Olympic Sailing Centre breakwater.
Qingdao Olympic Regatta 2008. AUT and GBR at the bottom mark. 49er.

Even the journo desk-jockeys in the Media Centre tore themselves away from the tv screens to look out of the window at the Real Thing.

It was a field day for the waterborne photographers, as the 49ers not only have their national flags on the mainsail, but also full size on their spinnakers. It is really rather grand to be able to stand on a boat at the bottom mark, watching the boats go round the top mark, and reading off the running order as the kites go up. Owners of white boats with white sails and white spinnakers please note – you’re never going to be on the cover again.

Check out the pics –here they come…

Qingdao Olympic Regatta 2008. No room at the finish. 49er.

Qingdao Olympic Regatta 2008. GBR chases ESP at the top mark. 49er.

Qingdao Olympic Regatta 2008. 49ers dancing in the sunshine.

Qingdao Olympic Regatta 2008. Portugal drops in front of Italy. 49er.

(PS after three races the GBR duo of Stevie Morrison and Ben Rhodes lead by a tack line – 1 point).
Qingdao Olympic Regatta 2008. Ben Rhodes and Stevie Morrison (GBR). 49er.