Editorial- A page written in Olympic history

Carl Evans and Peter Burling (NZL).
Welcome to Sail-World.Com's Olympic newsletter for Day 3 of the 2008 Olympic Sailing Regatta.

Olympic history was created off the coast of Qingdao, China today when the youngest ever crew to compete in an Olympic Regatta crossed the startline in the opening race of the Mens 470 event.

At just 17 years old, Carl Evans and Peter Burling (New Zealand) became the youngest crew to ever contest an Olympic sailing event.

Just three years ago, the helmsman, Carl Evans, was sailing Optimists and was the third qualifier for the New Zealand team to the Optimist Worlds in Silvaplana, Switzerland. He was the top placed New Zealander in that World Championship finishing in 15th place overall.

Meanwhile, his future crew, Peter Burling, was winning open national championship titles in New Zealand at just 14 years old. Burling teamed up with fellow Tauranga sailor, Bruce Kennedy to contest the 2005 Youth World Championships in the 420 class in Busan, Korea. They finished a very inauspicious 15th overall.

Soon afterwards, Evans and Burling teamed up to contest the 2005 420 World Championships in Gran Canarie and swept the field winning the Under 16, Under 18 and Open Titles. They defended in Takapuna six months later, and then switched to the 470. Their first international regatta was the 2007 470 Europeans where they finished sixth overall.

Their stellar rise in the 470 saw them confirmed by New Zealand Olympic selectors after the 2008 World Championships where they finished 11th earlier this year. Since then they have been juggling attendance at secondary school with Olympic training and regatta competition.

Carl Evans and Peter Burling (NZL), the youngest crew to ever compete at an Olympics sailing in the first races of 2008 Olympic Regatta.

Carl Evans will celebrate his 18th birthday during this Olympic regatta. The youngest winner of an Olympic Gold medal was Paul Elvstrom, also aged 18years old when he competed in the singlehanded Firefly in the 1948 Olympics at Torquay, England. Elvstrom went onto win another three Olympic Gold medals in the Finn class in 1952, 1956 and 1960 Olympics.

Burling and Evans performed well enough in their two races today, finishing 7th and 10th for a 7th overall. They were in 4th place midway through the second race before a failed knot in a spinnaker sheet, dropping them back to 12th place at the next mark. They recovered to be 10th overall.

Aside from Olympic history being made, there were a number of outstanding performances, and none more so than host China's Jian Yin in the Womens RS:X windsurfer, who won both her races. She returned to a jubilant crowd gathered by the lighthouse on the end of the breakwater, who chanted in unison as she entered the Olympic harbour after and excellent day.

2008 Olympic Regatta - Day 3 - 470 Women - Race 2

Another crew who had an outstanding day was the Australian 49er combination of Nathan Outteridge and Ben Austin, who won two of the three races sailed in the 49er class today. Outteridge was a top Australian youth sailor, before being badly injured in a car crash on his way to Sail Melbourne in 2005. Expected to be permanently disabled due to a broken back, Outteridge, then a top 470 sailor, switched to the 49er class winning the 2008 World Championship in Melbourne, in January.

Of the British sailing machine, Ben Ainslie edged past Zach Railey (USA) in the Finn class winning the fifth race before dropping back to 10th in the sixth. Railey did not have a great day in the finishing seventh and eighth - his two worst placings of the regatta.

In the Yngling class Sarah Ayton and friends hold their lead, with a fourth and second. The GBR 49er crew of Stevie Morrison and Ben Rhodes, overnight points leaders, dropped like a stone in the standings after posting a 14,15,15 scorecard for the three races sailed.

Qingdao Olympic Regatta 2008. Jessica Crisp (AUS), second after the first two races of the Women's RS-X event.

The Qingdao Doctor was recorded at its usual 6-8kts today - but with a small shift in direction to the east.

On the outer courses, D and E, a big swell was running, no sufficient for serious surfing, but gave the competitors an elevator ride nevertheless.

The algae continues to make its presence felt and was the subject of some questioning and evasion at today's press conference. According to the authorities, the weed situation is checked early in the morning at around 6.00am and again at 10.00am. After each check the boats are called to sea for the cleanup operation. When asked how many boats were engaged on this activity the all encompassing reply was 'sufficient' .

On the tide lines in the course there was noticeably more of the weed. Your intrepid editor followed top Japanese photographer Kauro Soehata's lead and ate some of the green hairy noodle like substance. It is not too bad, a little stringy, but is apparently very nice when cooked with an egg. However we will be sticking to our lunch from the hotel.

We also got alongside the boom that extends for 30kms along the outer limit of the race course. It is quite an impressive sight.

The mind games in the Tornado class continue, with the USA measuring in a smaller Code Zero upwind spinnaker, and with other crews still to complete the measurement process. On the course today there were several Tornados training. but none were sporting with the third upwind sail, and all that we saw were twin wiring, which negates its purpose a little.

More on this in Sail-World tomorrow.

Good Sailing!

Richard Gladwell
Sail-World Olympic Editor