Olympic Sailing News : Fisher on Qingdao... Images from Boatpark

08 Aug 2008

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Editorial: Let the Games begin!

Qingdao Olympic Regatta 2008. The Qingdao waterfront at night.  Guy Nowell ©
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.  Richard Gladwell

Qingdao looks set to break its typecast of being a light airs venue with wind of 8-10 kts being forecast by 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.  Richard Gladwell

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.  Guy Nowell ©

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  Richard Gladwell

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

nzeditor at sail-world.com

Bob Fisher,
I arrived in Qingdao full of pre-conceptions and restrained expectation. The venue had been variously declared as bad, very bad and diabolical. Its record of the necessary motive force, which was under suspicion from the first time that the Chinese announced that the sailing events would take place at this site – even the statistics supplied were of dubious value, threatens not to materialise ev... [more]

Images from Qingdao - In to the mixed zone
Richard Gladwell, Sail-World,
Media were today allowed into the mixed zone for the first time. We present a series of shots from the boatpark and launching environs.... [more]

Sailjuice- Who's putting all eggs in one basket
Andy Rice,
It's the eve of the Olympic Regatta in Qingdao, and SailJuice reporter Andy Rice is on the ground (and soon to be on the water), ready to bring you updates from the event. Some sailors have agonising 11th-hour decisions to be made about what equipment to use.... [more]

Audio: Dan Slater previews first race of Olympics
Richard Gladwell, Sail-World,
NZ Olympic Finn representative, Dan Slater previews the first race of the Olympic Regatta, covering the conditions over the past week, who he believes his main opposition will be in the Finn class and reveals some of the secret developments that have been achieved by North sails and Southern Spars.... [more]

PredictWind - Olympic Wind Analysis - Day 1
Richard Gladwell, Sail-World,
PredictWind.com's prognosis is for winds of 10 to 11 kts for the Opening Day of the 2008 Olympic regatta in Qingdao.... [more]

GBR favourites for Finn and Yngling
Lindsey Bell,
The countdown clock has reached zero days to go, and the 2008 Olympic Games gets underway with the Opening Ceremony at 2008hrs in Beijing tonight. The Finn (heavyweight dinghy) and Yngling (women's keelboat) classes are the first to get underway when the Olympic regatta kicks off on Saturday 9 August, with arguably Britain's strongest sailing gold medal prospects featuring on this opening day... [more]

Images from Qingdao: Walk around the Regatta site
Richard Gladwell, Sail-World,
Images from around the regatta environs at Qingdao - before the Launching Ceremony tonight.... [more]

Letter from Qingdao: Battling with Bureaucracy
Richard Gladwell, Sail-World,
Welcome to the first letter from Qingdao which will be a regular (hopefully daily feature of Sail-World's coverage of the 2008 Sailing Olympics. There is no daylight saving in Qingdao. This translates into a dawn around 4.30am and night starting around 7.00pm. Some of us have difficulty sleeping when the sun is starting to come up, so we were up bright and early, peered out between the hote... [more]

Outteridge and Austin (AUS) 49er on Qingdao
Ben Austin,
Well the time is finally on us when all of our work and preparations for the last three years will be tested in our final exam. Yesterday our boat and gear passed through the measurement process, the last final hurdle before the olympic competition.... [more]

'It's not usually like this here..!'
Rob Kothe and Guy Nowell, Sail-World.com,
Picture postcard sailing conditions in Qingdao today with glorious sunshine, 10km visibility and a light south easter for the last day before sailing starts. Just not what is in the brochure for the 2008 Beijing Olympic sailing course. After months of fog and algae, today came as a major surprise........ [more]

Zhik dominates Olympic Fleet
Brian Conolly,
Sailing in Qingdao will be hot and light. The sailors need to dress comfortably, and minimize weight in these conditions. Specially developed Zhik equipment trialed at test events, including Qingdao last year, is now being worn by a third of all the sailors at this years Olympics... [more]

Ben Ainslie (GBR) Unbeaten in the Finn since 2004
Robert Deaves, IFA,
Ben Ainslie talks to Robert Deaves about his preparation for the Olympic Games, the competition he is faced with and his thoughts on the future. Without doubt Ben Ainslie is one of the biggest names in sailing at the moment, and certainly the biggest name in Qingdao.... [more]

Team GBR - The names and the faces
Team GBR have been the top sailing team at the last two Olympics, winning five medals at both the 2004 and 2008 Games. This was a striking achievment following the poor performances throughout the 80s and 90s. Where now for Team GBR? Despite a string of World and European titles since the last Games the competitin has been getting closer, taking onboard the intense training regimes of the British... [more]

Olympic Quotes: Flag Bearers and Special Reps
Olympic News Service,
Comments from Nikolas Kaklamanakis (GRE), Robert Scheidt (BRA), Roman Hagara (AUT), Alexander Foglia (URU), Barbara Kendall (NZL), and Sophie Bekatorou (GRE)... [more]

Beijing Profile: Ben Barger, Windsurfing RS:X
Ben Barger,
For as long as I can remember there has been the fire deep inside of me to compete at the Olympic Games. I have had a long arduous journey there, one that is better to share and better to learn from. There will be no what if's or maybe's in a few days, finally I get to taste the competition at the worlds biggest sporting event.... [more]

Sail-World in Qingdao at last
Richard Gladwell - Sail-World NZ,
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.... [more]

Yngling Class - Australian Olympic Profile
AST Media/Sail-World,
Profile on the Australian Yngling Team members Krystal Weir, Karyn Gojnich and Angela Farrel. The team is coached by Adrian Finglas.... [more]

2008 Olympics Qingdao
Welcome to Sail-World.Com's coverage of the 2008 Sailing Olympics in Qingdao, China...
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