Qingdao Olympic Regatta 2008. View from the Media Centre.
The Sail-World team flew into Hong Kong on Wednesday, heading for Qingdao and the 2008 sailing Olympics. On Wednesday getting into Hong Kong was difficult with a severe tropical storm causing a lengthy diversion to Bangkok.
Yesterday the Sail-World team arrived in Qingdao, and have been going through the process of accreditation and getting internet links established.
One of the basics of the Sail-World system, when we run special newsletters such as the America's Cup and Olympic newsletter, is that we are using the same hardware, software and systems that we use everyday in Sail-World. We have our own internet hub within the media centre and another at our hotel. Initially speeds were slow, but in the last 12 hours internet speeds have jumped and we are on track.
This is the first time Sail-World has covered the Olympics in this way, and in this depth, with four photographers and journalists at the Olympic venue.
We will be producing a newsletter each day of the Olympic regatta - wind or not, so you have an eye-witness look at the 2008 Olympics and get the real oil on what is going down in Qingdao. All this will be assembled and out to you within hours of the conclusion of the regatta. At this stage we do not have an accurate guideline as to how long the Olympic newsletter will take to compile - but the America's Cup edition took three to four hours from the conclusion of the racing.
We will of course be publishing stories on the Sail-World websites during the day - so regardless of your time zone, you will have up to date access to the latest information and pictures.
The Sailing Olympics do not have a good history on the web. Most coverage has only come right about halfway through the regatta, and it is only through the sterling efforts of people like Paul Pascoe, that there has been any coverage at all.
Qingdao is a little different from the picture that has been painted to date.
The city has gone to enormous efforts to create a regatta venue, and the feeling that you are in an Olympic venue hits as soon as you walk through the arrival section at the airport.
Scenes from Qingdao - 2008 Sailing Olympic venue - volunteers are everywhere - and always with a checklist of some sort.
No signs of the algae as we came in on the plane, and certainly there aren't piles of the green stuff on the beaches. Out to see a few boats can be seen working, maybe.
This morning, there was pressure on the water from dawn and now the flags outside the media centre are flying bravely and unbelievablely there is the clink of halyard fittings in the boat park.
Scenes from Qingdao - 2008 Sailing Olympic venue
Over the next few days we believe there should be some better breeze, and maybe Qingdao will surprise everyone as a sailing venue. The fog comes and goes - today the sun is bright and in the media centre blinds have been in place. Current visibility is 10 kilometres.
Ashore the facilities are massive, from the Olympic venue itself, to the extent that this large city has allowed themselves to be taken over by the Olympics and the Sailing Olympics in particular.
At night the neon signs are a work of art in themselves, and by day you see the long pictures of Olympic sailing draped down the sides of massive buildings.
One is said to be the longest picture in the world – of a Tornado catamaran in full flight.