Letter from Qingdao: Chinese Holy Water

Skud 18’s beat up the Qingdao shore, race day 3 - 2008 Paralympics - Qingdao
Denis Kiely reports on Thursday's racing from an Irish Perspective:

Thursday - Races 6,7 & 8

Didn't happen. At the morning briefing the race officer told us he was going to postpone the start until there was some sign of wind filling in so, a little like battle of Britain pilots waiting for the Luftwaffe to appear, we sat around the dock area, 'shooting the breeze'?? [Can you shoot the breeze when there is no breeze??] with other sailors waiting for the signal that the postponement was over and we could get in our boats and get out there and do battle.

The call didn't come until 14.00 and when we arrived at the start area it was to be greeted with a sickly easterly from 110. About 5 kt, but somehow it seemed to have less gizz in it than 3/4 kt conditions that we had on earlier days. The start was got away around 15.25 and the boys were well placed in the centre of the line - no bias, but it had been flicking 10/15 degs to the left just before the start signal. [advanced stuff - Spring course] This may be what tempted a crowd to develop at the left hand end of the line and there was a bit of a pile-up with a number of boats over the line at the start.

When that happens the offending boat/s has to come back and start properly - easier said than done when you have boats on either side of you. If you don't come back and start properly you are disqualified from the race. After about 100 meters up the course the Israelis turned around and came back - another disaster - and later found out they were not over the line at the start at all - bigger disaster!

At the top mark the Norries were thrown out for being over and not returning - bigger disaster still for them. Everybody else was delighted as it meant more room at the top them.

Rhino has just called me to go for some holy water just outside the village - so short adjournment!

This Chinese holy water is good stuff - Rhino, who is under curfew, says that the beer changes to holy water as it goes down?? Only had two - so just a venial sin? What a lot the kids today are missing, no Connie Lucey and no venial sin - takes all the excitement out of life.

Anyhow b*****r this advanced stuff - later. We were 10th at the top mark, 3rd at the bottom mark first time round [a 7 place improvement] lost one place to the aussie-wassies at the top mark 2nd time and another place to Kenny [Canadians] at the finish - 5th place - our best result to date. Where we should have been finishing all the week.

The race officer postponed the remaining 2 races until tomorrow - running out of light and wind. So 3 race day again tomorrow and 2 on the final day, Saturday - if we get the wind.

Chinese kid next to me here in the internet centre skyping his girlfriend - no no no, not that - he is just talking to her over the 'net - anyhow, God bless them. Tomorrow.

Good night
Denis
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