Cough, and they're off- light and funky in Qingdao

Nathan Wilmot and Malcolm Page (AUS), 470, Qingdao Olympic Regatta 2008
The opening days of sunshine and clear air only served to make a contrast with yesterday’s hazy, muggy visibility. There wasn’t any more than a capful of breeze, either, with the two 470 fleets racing 2/10th of nothing (actually, 4.5 knots for the last start), and the Yngling and Finn fleets racing only once after a long AP at the beginning of the day. The 49ers of course move with no more than a cough from the RO, which is just as well since they started their first race in a recorded 2.2 kts of “breeze”.

Qingdao Olympic Regatta 2008 - Marcelien de Koning and Lobke Berkhout (NED), 470 Women.

On the 470 course, the winners in three out of a total of four races led from start line to finishing hooter, reinforcing the local received wisdom that the way to win here is to get a nose out in front and then stay in clear air for the rest of the trip. Only the Japanese ladies, Ai Kondo and Naoko Kamata, took a race from anything like ‘behind’, being third round the first mark and only hitting the front of the fleet just before mark three.

That was a well-fought battle, with Marcelien de Koning and Lobke Berkhout (NED) crossing the line just 12 seconds back after a final reach to the finish that rewrote the definition of ‘concentration’. That made it two 2nd places for the day for the Dutch Ladies, who are tied with Elise Rechichi and Tessa Parkinson (AUS) on 13 points at the top of the table. De Koning said, “we prefer heavy wind conditions but can also excel in light wind – we tend to keep that a secret”. To right – these ladies are a bombe surprise in the 470 fleet.

Qingdao Olympic Regatta 2008 - Ai Kondo and Naoko Kamata (JPN), 470 Women.

Nathan Wilmot and Malcolm Page (AUS) scored 3, 4 to consolidate their position at the top of the Men’s leaderboard by 7 points – in fact, they could keep their discarded 7th in race 2 and still be at top of the tree. There are plenty of competitors after their scalps – “we have the French and Italians dumping on us whenever we get near them,” said Wilmot afterwards. “We avoided them whenever we could, and whenever we do that we gain a few places in the process.”

Having 'skinny-ed down' for the light air conditions in Qingdao, Wilmot and Page reportedly have an eye on a burger bust at Ronald's place next Monday, when the 470 event closes out.

Qingdao Olympic Regatta 2008. 470 line-up.

Qingdao Olympic Regatta 2008. Ireland leads the fleet, race 5, 470 Men