Olympic Sailing Day 4

13 Aug 2008

Editorial: Opening shocker for Slingsby

Tom Slingsby, head in hands, just metres from the finish line of race 2 in the Mens Laser  Richard Gladwell
Welcome to Sail-World.Com's Olympic newsletter for Day 4 of the 2008 Olympic Sailing Regatta.

The current World Champion, and most dominant sailor in the Laser class for the past couple of years, Tom Slingsby (AUS), got off to a disastrous start in the opening two races in the 2008 Olympic Regatta, today.

Sailing on the inshore, Course A, venue for the Medal Races later in the week, Slingsby scored a consistent 22 and 21 places for a 22nd overall.

As he approached the finish line of the second race, Slingsby's body language was palpable. Head in hands at one stage and then clearly deep in thought as he sailed the final few metres. Clearly Slingsby's game plan was not giving his unspectacular rival Andrew Murdoch (NZL) a 37point start opening day start in the regatta.

When on form, Murdoch is a quiet but ruthless operator with a big match temperament. His second and fifth placings today are a good start for him, and if Slingsby is to right today's wrongs - then he will need to sail a flawless regatta from here on - of which he is eminently capable.

A few seconds later there is more focus in Slingsby's body language, as he looks forward to the task ahead.  Richard Gladwell

Today was a classic example of sailing under stress and pressure. Both races in the Mens Laser event were won at a canter by Julio Alsogaray (ARG) in the first and Jean Baptiste Bernaz (FRA) in the second. In fact the the first three placings were never really in doubt after the leaders were two thirds of the way down the final run. However the action in the peleton, was tighter than a knife fight up a dark alley and Murdoch was very close to becoming a victim as he fell back into the front of the chasing bunch down the final run on Race 2.

In a good display of cool sailing under pressure, Murdoch struggled, but held his place at the final turning mark to finish in fifth place which will probably be a counter in this topsy-turvey regatta.

All eyes tomorrow will be on Slingsby, considered by many to be a shoe-in for the Gold Medal in the Laser - in the same category as Ben Ainslie, leading the Finn class; Sarah Ayton and friends, leading the Yngling; and Darren Bundock and Glenn Ashby in the Tornado (prior to the advent of Code Zero jibs).

The other outstanding performance of the day came from Jian Yin (CHN) in the Womens RS:X windsurfer, who has scored a a hat-trick of wins followed by a third in today's final race to give her a very useful nine point margin over second placegetter Marina Alabau (ESP), with four races sailed.

Anna Tunnicliffe (USA) got off to a good start in the Laser Radial class scoring a fourth and fifth, to take the overnight lead, and getting a second medal option running for USA, along with Zach Railey in the Finn class - which enjoyed a lay day, today.

Algae cleanup in Fushan Bay before the start of racing on Day 4 of the 2008 Olympics  Richard Gladwell

Fushan Bay reverberated to the thunk, thunk of single cylinder diesels as around 300 fishing boats swarmed netting green algae from the Olympic racecourse.

Later it was revealed that organisers have a fleet of 1200 boats at their disposal - about four times the force deployed today.

They also stated, at the media conference this morning, that the long term prognosis for the ubiquitous Qingdao Green is that it will stop multiplying as the sea temperature increases - as expected in the next week or two.

Also at the same gathering, organisers rightly drew to the attention of sailing's fourth estate to the fact that the Olympic regatta is on schedule after three days of sailing – a useful state of play for any, let alone in one of the so-called windless regions of the planet. Within the hour, the postponement flag had been raised, as race organisers waited for the Qingdao Doctor to settle. Like its Fremantle namesake, the Qingdao Doctor locked in early in the afternoon, but at a much reduced volume of 6-8 knots.

Now, with four days completed in the Olympic Regatta the program is still on schedule, underlining the age old major regatta maxim that 'it's never normally like this'.

In a venue with a reputation for being flatter than Twiggy's chest, things can only improve – and in this case it is to everyone's benefit.

Netherlands set out with their Code Zero jib/spinnaker rigged.  Richard Gladwell

The Qingdao Doctor, of course, plays right into the hands of those playing mind games in the Tornado class.

This afternoon a media release from Netherlands' Tornado crew, Mitch Booth and Pim Nieuwenhuis, announced that their 'revolutionary' spinnaker had been stamped by the regatta measurers, and revealed that several other teams were building the sail - but may or may not present it for measurement, thereby locking it in for use in the series..

Booth and Nieuwenhuis gave their red Code Zero spinnaker an airing late today, appropriately going against the incoming traffic entering the Olympic harbour after the day's racing.

Certainly the red sail looks quite different from some angles, and not so from others. If allowed to be used in the regatta, the sail will have a dramatic effect on the competition on the class. While being able to measure in a spinnaker which is within the maximums specified in the class rules is one thing, however using a spinnaker upwind is quite another. And it may well be that there is some further action on this matter in the future, after the first race.

Richard Gladwell
Sail-World Olympic Editor

Richard Gladwell

The answer is up in the air
Bob Fisher,
Basic sailing lessons were handed out by a couple of the competitors in the Laser classes on the opening day of their racing in Qingdao. They were so evident, yet largely ignored by the majority of the competitors.... [more]

Qingdao - 49er, Finn and Yngling return Wednesday
RYA / Sail-world.com/uk,
Ben Ainslie, in the Finn and Sarah Ayton, Sarah Webb and Pippa Wilson, in the Yngling, will resume their quest for gold Wednesday. Also back racing will be the 49er, with Stevie Morrison and Ben Rhodes hoping to put Monday behind them and get back to their normal pace. The RS:X classes take a rest day, while the 470, Laser and Laser Radial continue racing... [more]

Australia aims for another 470 double
Rob Kothe,
The Australian sailing team showed today that they do not intend to duplicate their Athens performance, when they went into the Olympic regatta the top ranking sailing nation and came out medal free.... [more]

Light air opener for Lasers and Laser Radial
Guy Nowell, Sail-World Asia,
It was a hot, sticky and still start to the day‘s racing, with more than an hour's postponement as race management waited for the wind to fill in. Ironically, there was plenty blowing across the breakwater in front of the Olympic marina, flapping the flags and spinning the wind turbines. But there was less just a few yards out to sea, and the red-and-white-stripes stayed put... [more]

Letter from Qingdao: The invasion of Fushan Bay
Richard Gladwell, Sail-World,
On our arrival at the Media Centre today, it seemed that the Normandy Landing was being re-enacted on Fushan Bay. Immediately in front of the said Media Centre, about 70 boats were gathered netting green algae from the water. With single cylinder diesels thunking away in low revs, they cruised the bay slowly, each with a man on the deck armed with what we Kiwis would call a whitebait net.... [more]

Beijing: Finn sailors talk about the first 4 races
Robert Deaves,
Today was a lay day for the Finns in Qingdao. They have been taking it easy, watching movies or playing golf – and getting in the right frame of mind to go back onto the water tomorrow to compete against each other and the tough conditions for the final four qualification races before the medal race on Saturday.... [more]

GBR Laser and Laser Radial crews in action day 4
Lindsey Bell,
The Laser and Laser Radial classes saw their first day of Olympic action on Tuesday, with four-time European Champion Paul Goodison, and Olympic debutant Penny Clark both within the top eight after their first two races. Clark saw a superb start to her Olympic regatta, finishing second in the first race of the day for the women's single-handed Laser Radial fleet.... [more]

British sailors fight back in 470 and RS:X
Lindsey Bell,
Things might not have gone completely to plan for the British 470 crews in Qingdao on their opening day, but they certainly hit back in style on Tuesday. Christina Bassadone and Saskia Clark finished their two races in third and fourth, seeing them move back up the leaderboard to eighth place overall. While Nick Rogers and Joe Glanfield opened with a win and then a fourth to fifth overall... [more]

Day 4: Tunnicliffe Leads After Two Races
Derby Anderson,
Qingdao has impressed the skeptics by mustering enough breeze to run the first three days of sailing on schedule. However, today's six classes were not so lucky and sat onshore in an hour-long postponement before heading out to the race course. The Lasers and Laser Radials sailed their first races today on Course A, which is only about one hundred meters from the seawall.... [more]

Beijing: Australian 470 crews sail into the lead
Nicole Browne, AST Media,
The Australian Men's and Women's 470 crews have both taken the lead on a day where the big challenge for sailors was choosing the correct side of the competition course from which to make the most of wind shifts.... [more]

Beijing Murdoch opens well & Ashley has a race win
Jodie Bakewell-White,
Day four of the Olympic Sailing Regatta saw Kiwis compete in the Laser, Laser Radial, RS:X Men and Women, and the Men's 470 classes. While light winds meant some delays to the start of racing all fleets were able to complete two races as planned.... [more]

Olympic Sailing Qingdao - Day 4 - Racing completed
Day 4 of the Sailing in Qingdao saw the Laser and Laser Radial join the racing and for Penny Clark it was a great start. Clark who was sixth at the first mark, then moved into second by the third mark which she held to the finish line. In the Men's 470 Rogers and Glanfield won race 3... [more]

Argentine continues Laser World form in Qingdao
Rob Kothe,
Argentina's Julio Alsogaray cleared out from the 43 boat Laser fleet in the first race of the 2008 Beijing Olympic sailing regatta sailed in Qingdao today.... [more]

Sailing underway on day 4 in Qingdao
Sailing underway on day 4 in Qingdao and a good start for Britain's Penny Clark in the first race of the Laser Radial event, she finished second behing Evi van Acker of Belgium. Better news of Britain's 470 teams, 1st in the Men's and a thrid in the Women's in a good start to the second days racing for them... [more]

Anna Tunnicliffe Ready to Race
Anna Tunnicliffe,
It's the eve of racing for the Laser Radial and man, am I ever ready to get out there and sail. As of today, seven fleets have started racing. For me, it's like that feeling when you're hanging around someone who has their birthday two days before Christmas and they get all their presents then, and all you want is for your day to come so you can get yours.... [more]

Day in the Life of an Olympic Sailing Team Leader
Dean Brenner Team Leader US Olympic Sailing Team,
Climb on board... I am going to walk you through a day here inside the Olympic Venue through my eyes as Team Leader.... [more]

Sailing Under the American Flag
Derby Anderson,
The eighteen sailors of the U.S. Olympic Sailing Team have spent their lives as numbers sailing in a sea of more numbers. In their racing events they are spotted by the identifying digits on their sail. For example, the USA Yngling is '337.' But at the Olympics, they drop their numbers and gain new identities. They become 'the Americans' sailing in a cosmopolitan sea of flags.... [more]

Postponement in Qingdao
Rob Kothe,
‘Lighter than yesterday' is the nutshell forecast for Day 4 of the 2008 Beijing Olympic regatta on Fushan Bay, Qingdao.... [more]

Television coverage of Olympic Sailing - 12 August
Richard Gladwell, Sail-World,
Television New Zealand have advised that the Sailing Olympics will be covered tonight starting at 9.05pm and running for almost the hour to 10.00pm. The intention is to cover Course A, closest to shore which will feature Andrew Murdoch and Jo Aleh in the Laser and Laser Radial classes respectively.... [more]

It's weed - You can eat it, but don't smoke it
Guy Nowell, Sail-World Asia,
Flotillas on algae-collecting boats are out on the Qingdao Olympic Regatta racecourse this morning. Yesterday there was plenty of evidence of algae out on the course, and evidently this morning ‘action' is deemed to be necessary.... [more]

2008 Olympics Qingdao
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