Editorial: Hurry up and Wait!

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The seawall at the 2008 Olympic Regatta - Qingdao as the sea mist rolls in.
Welcome to Sail-World.Com's Olympic newsletter for Day 6 of the 2008 Olympic Sailing Regatta.

Today was the first in the 2008 Olympic Regatta when Qingdao lived up to its reputation as the windless sailing venue, with the first full day’s racing in six, being lost completely.

Prior to this regatta the region’s reputation for not exactly having wind by the bucketful, caused the International Sailing Federation to write a specific sailing instruction, that allowed just one race to be sailed to constitute the regatta.

In hindsight that action has proved rather unnecessary, and Qingdao has delivered its fair share of wind – just like any other venue.

Today it was a case of hurry up and wait, before the pin was finally pulled on the racing around 1530hrs.

Sure enough with the racing off, the breeze kicked in with an easterly breeze of 12 knots – easily the strongest of the regatta, almost rattling the media centre windows. Predictions for the rest of the week are for more of then same – with relatively strong winds forecast for the first of the medal races on Saturday.

See our story with the graphics from www.predictwind.com!PredictWind for a full analysis of the weather expected over the next five days. PredictWind is the brain-child of Alinghi weather team member, Jon Bilger, and has been proven to be very accurate, in our experience over the past few months.

Qingdao Olympic Regatta 2008. Management day off - Rob Brown and Emmett Lazich go round and round the mulberry bush

The outcome of the abandonment of racing has caused tomorrow’s program to be compressed, with all five course areas being used for the first time in the regatta. And all 11 classes will be sailing for the first time.

Tomorrow the Star and Tornado classes are due to start racing, and will be on Course A, just off the seawall at Qingdao.

As so often happens on these occasions, some issues grows ashore to be the main interest of the day, and today was no different, with the Code Zero question occupying the minds of many competing in the Tornado class.

After having issued a media release just a day ago saying that he would be using one of the smaller spinnaker developments that can be carried to windward, the Dutch decided to revert back to conventional spinnakers for the regatta, after hearing the weather prognosis - which is for winds of around 16knots tomorrow and staying at that strength for the rest of the regatta.

This is well outside the effective range for the Code Zero, which is about 11kts.

The mountains of Laoshan with the golden Mazu, the traditional godmother of Chinese fishermen, in the foreground

Sail-World understands that only the US crew have opted to use the Code Zero. Interestingly, their crew, Charlie Ogletree is Chairman of the International Tornado Class Technical Committee – and is highly experienced in the clas. They will have weighed the options carefully. Sail-World understands that the US crew measured in two small spinnakers (one is a spare), while other crews were intending to hedge their bets with one of each.

Certainly several other top crews had run major development programs with both the Code Zero, and regular sized sails before making the decision to stay with a conventional sail, late this afternoon.

There won’t be too much spare space on the media boats for Course A tomorrow, and the Tornado race promises to be the major point of interest, thus far.

We'll have full coverage and photos on the Sail-World.Com website as soon as the race is over.

Good Sailing!

Richard Gladwell
Sail-World Olympic Editor