Sail-World.com : Letter from Qingdao: Will it work?
Letter from Qingdao: Will it work?
'Dan Slater sailing with Ben Ainslie (GBR) at Qingdao in the final buildup to the 2008 Olympics - they are in the first races today.'
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Greetings from Qingdao, on this the opening day of the 2008 Sailing Olympics.
This is my first Olympics as a competitor, judge or media.
For the man on my left, the venerable Bob Fisher, it is his 12th. His first was in 1964 at Sagami Bay, Tokyo.
However even that fine record was unable to save him from the machinations of the Chinese bureaucracy, when he received a call at 00.30am by his hotel management to tell him that he had been allocated the wrong room and could he please move immediately.
Those who know Bob can imagine his inimitable retraction, particularly having flown in that afternoon from Hong Kong after a long journey from England, and being very fast asleep.
Suffice to say he didn't move, as requested, and it makes for another great story, which will no doubt improve with the telling.
Right now he is at the counter of the Media Centre battling once again with the bureaucracy, having had the temerity to register two minutes late for a place on the media boat, for the following day, when the deadline was 5.00pm. The explosions were worthy of an Olympic opening ceremony.
Being media slaves, the Sail-World team were still hard at work at 9.00pm last night and missed most of the Opening Ceremony. The sailing one takes place tonight in a specially built stadium for which we hopefully have tickets. Hopefully.
Turning to sailing matters, the breeze was not in, this morning, compared to the previous day. However since our arrival at the media centre the situation has improved and as I look out the window, the flags are fluttering, and there is a sea breeze blowing. I was going to use the word building, because that is what would happen at home, in similar circumstances. However this is Qingdao, and there is no certainty that anything will happen weather-wise.
The haze is much worse than yesterday with visibility down to about a couple of kms. So who knows what will happen?
Major news from the Jury Room has been the posting of a decision on the allowance of the upwind spinnaker in the Tornado.
Very simply this means that those crews who have developed and chose to use the small flat cut spinnaker as an upwind sail will be allowed to do so.
Currently it is understood that three of the competitors have developed such sails, and if the winds stay light, then these will be the three medalists.
The Jury logic is simple - the rules provide only maximum dimensions and do not state minimums - so small is OK.
The tradeoff, of course is that those with the upwind spinnaker will also have to carry the smaller area in the downwind leg of the course. The bet being that they will be so far in front by that stage that it will not matter.
On the water today, for the media, it was hard to know if it was a case of first day blues, or something deeper.
Certainly Ben Ainslie showed his class in very difficult conditions. In the Yngling class, who would have thought before today that the Canadian entry, who took the final qualification place, would be lying second overall after the first day. Maybe one of the great Olympic stories is about to be written.
by Richard Gladwell, Sail-World
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2:25 AM Sat 9 Aug 2008 GMT
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