Editorial- A day of contrasts

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Tornado catamarans heading for home after a long day - 2008 Olympic Regatta - Day 7
Welcome to Sail-World.Com's Olympic newsletter for Day 7 of the 2008 Olympic Sailing Regatta.

Today was the first day of Olympic competition in the Star and Tornado classes, in the 2008 Sailing Olympics.

Both were sailing on the same Course area A - closest to the Olympic regatta marina at Qingdao.

For the Tornado, arguable the most telegenic of the Olympic classes, today marked the beginning of the end. If matters take their course, this will be the last Olympic Regatta for the Tornado, or indeed multihull event.

The International Sailing Federation, last November, made the decision to sacrifice the Multihull on the altar of Olympic Event Reduction, as the sailing events drop from the current 11 to 10 events for the 2012 Olympics.

The decision alienated the ISAF from the sailing proletariat.

The US Tornado crew cross tacks with the US Star crew before racing on the first day of their competition in the 2008 Olympic Regatta

On Course Alpha, the sight of the Olympic multihull charging down the Qingdao track, spinnaker set, hulls flying, and with the fine flume of high speed spray emanating from the leeward bow.

Trundling down the same course, at a rather more pedestrian pace, was the venerable Star class. Designed almost a hundred years ago, and a survivor of two condemnations by the ISAF at the same altar which the Tornado is now being offered.

Dropped twice, it sat out a quadrennium, before re-joining the Olympic family. On it's second attempt it was reinstated when an 11th event suddenly became available.

Hamish Pepper and Carl Williams competing in the Star class 2008 Olympic Regatta - Day 7

Today, the classic Olympic class, claimed by its fans to hold the very best of Olympic sailors, strutted its stuff - masts leaning way forward downwind, crews positioned way forward too. Then upwind the majestic mainsails seem to live in a world of their own, with the sailors as their servants.

Main point of interest today was the performance of the Code Zero upwind spinnaker on the US Tornado entry. While story is covered in depth and from various perspectives elsewhere in this issue, suffice to say it was not a success on this day. However it may be that its time will come. Certainly Ogletree and Lovell came out of the startline today with the afterburner lit. However towards the end of the first leg others had got through and it was all over on a downwind leg, in a marginal breeze with a small spinnaker. They did not use the spinnaker to windward on the other two windward legs, and paid a hefty penalty.

John Lovell and Charlie Ogletree make a good gain off the startline in the first race of the Tornado class.

Some action from the Jury Room tonight, with one coach having his accreditation removed for one day, for having a mobile phone on the water.

Tomorrow is the first of the medal races in the Finn and Yngling classes.

Barring a major meltdown, Britain is expected to take the first two Gold medals of this Olympics.

We'll have full coverage and photos on the Sail-World.Com website as soon as the Medal race is over, and the Medal presentation ceremonies.

Good Sailing!

Richard Gladwell
Sail-World Olympic Editor
http://www.sail-world.com/47766