Editorial- Let the Games begin!

Qingdao Olympic Regatta 2008. The Qingdao waterfront at night.
Welcome to Sail-World.Com's Olympic newsletter for the eve of the 2008 Olympic Sailing Regatta.

Sail-World has assembled a team of four to provide coverage in Qingdao, including three regional editors.

Publisher Rob Kothe (Australia), and Editors Guy Nowell (Hong Kong) and Richard Gladwell (New Zealand) are working with the doyen of sailing journalism, Bob Fisher (GBR). Fisher is a veteran of 11 Olympic sailing regattas, having covered his first Olympic Regatta in 1964.

As well as drawing on a raft of other contributors from around the world, Sail-World will have several photographers on the water, to bring our readers, the best possible images within a few hours of the conclusion of racing.

In addition to this newsletter, we will be updating our websites around the world with stories and images as racing progresses during the day. This content will be pulled together at night into this Olympic newsletter.

Stay tuned to Sail-World.Com for the latest news from Qingdao. Don't forget to check the other Sail-World websites for stories from their competitors and stories specific to that region.

Tomorrow at 1300hrs the 2008 Olympic Regatta is due to get underway. Two races are scheduled to be sailed on Course A in the Finn and Yngling classes.

For competitors in those classes, it's time for the talk to stop and the competition to start.

The Olympic Host 49er crew against the backdrop of Qingdao.

Qingdao looks set to break its typecast of being a light airs venue with wind of 8-10 kts being forecast by www.predictwind.com!PredictWind. Breezes are expected to increase slowly during the week to reach a peak of 15kts on Monday.

The bulk of the racing will be underway later in the week. While there is a schedule published, given Qingdao's fickle reputation, it is a little unwise to regard the program as being absolute.

To date most of the action has been centred on the preliminaries. For the competitors there is the drama of measurement. There have been some issues which are still to be resolved. Final decisions on those are expected in the next 24 hours.

A Laser Radial sailor washing down after a training session today.

For the media, the last two days have been an exercise in exasperation as they establish themselves within the strictures of the media centre, security operations and generally being assured that 'she'll be right on the night'.

The shadow over this regatta, at this stage, is uncertainty. No-one really knows what to expect from the wind, the organisers and a raft of other factors which seem minor in their own way, but in this environment easily can flare to be a major issue.

Qingdao Olympic Regatta 2008. The view back to the town, from the Media Centre.

Certainly the Chinese have done an outstanding job with the clearance of the Qingdao Green, the algae that has clogged the race course since May. There are very, very minimal traces of the organism left on the course. We are told by competitors that the algae is not an issue, and will not affect racing in any way. That's great news.

Having got from where they were a month ago, to where they are today is a Herculean effort, and is an absolutely remarkable achievement by the Chinese.

On the plane flying into Qingdao, the Sail-World editorial team made jokes about spotting men with lawnmowers below on the Yellow Sea. However walking around the foreshore this afternoon, there was not a trace of the smelly green stuff.

Ben Rhodes and Stevie Morrison (GBR - 49er), multi-tasking after a training session today in Qingdao

The Olympic venue is remarkable in its size, layout and functionality. In this issue we have several photo galleries, taken today, around the Olympic venue to give an impression of life at the Olympic venue.

Certainly Qingdao has created itself as a sailing city, and excellent port facility. This regatta will determine its reputation as a sailing venue.

It's game on!

Good sailing!

Richard Gladwell
Sail-World Olympic Editor