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A herd of shiny butterflies

by Guy Nowell, Sail-World Asia on 18 Aug 2008
Qingdao Olympic Regatta 2008. Guy Nowell © http://www.guynowell.com

Very sorry, but the finer points of windsurfing escape this observer. They all take off a gallop (assuming there’s enough breeze, which there was today) and then scatter in different directions, flapping like a herd of shiny butterflies. For the next however-long they dash about all over the racecourse, apparently in random directions. It is really very hard to actually ‘read’ the race.

Halfway through today’s first race the camera boat was waiting patiently in the general area of the start when one of the competitors appeared at a rate of knots from somewhere outside and downwind of the Committee Boat. Explain that on a trapezoid course.







The wind strength had dropped off a little by the second race, and we watched proceedings from the top end of the course, which somehow seemed to make a lot more sense. Someone told us the other day that the energy expended by a windsurfer in a light airs race (when lots of ‘pumping’ is required) is the same as a runner in a 10,000 metre race… and then they do another race. No wonder some of the fleet looked absolutely beat by the end.


Me, I prefer my sailing sitting down, no less than 40 ft, and no getting wet either (it’s not good for the camera - like yesterday).

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