2008 Olympic Regatta - Day 1, start of first race - almost. Richard Gladwell
Welcome to Sail-World.Com's Olympic newsletter for Day 1 of the 2008 Olympic Sailing Regatta.
Today was a trying one for competitors and media.
The fickle breezes of Qingdao wafted across the course today - partnered by a strong tide of 1.5kts or more, which flowed up the course.
A postponement was signalled in the opening stanza of the first start of Race 1. With 25 seconds to go the Finn start was blown up for reasons which were not entirely clear, but the polished race management got the second start underway with a minimum of delay.
Then the Ynglings followed, again off to a slick start, as expected.
However from there on the meltdowns began. On the water one got the impression that this was a competition requiring a very fine touch. The success keys were accuracy of positioning, staging a small quiet recovery if things didn't quite work, and then either retain the gain, or push for a further small advantage.
Racing got underway in a six knot breeze from a direction of 115 degrees, or slightly south of east. The tide flowed underneath the competitors on the beats and they had to push into the tide on the downwind return leg.
Each course consisted of just two windward leewards, and races lasted about an hour each.
The haze rolled in from the sea, almost obscuring the shore from the windward mark. When sailing to windward there is no real reference point except for a grey cloud bank. The sailors are virtually flying blind and as we mentioned before, it is a game of small gains and consolidation.
Five times World Champion, in the Finn class, Ben Ainslie (GBR) was one of the big questions for today. If he followed previous form he would have got away to a bad regatta, only to retrieved by yet another display of sublime brilliance.
He began by ignoring the form guide today, recovering well from an average start in the middle of the fleet to cover his options and eke out a small but defendable lead. Which he defended until the final run when the fleet split. Ainslie did the right thing and covered, but the seaward side of the course, supposedly in more tidal flow paid off in spades, and the tables were turned.
Congestion in the Finn fleet - 2008 Olympic Regatta - Day 1 Richard Gladwell
Mark roundings and finishes were always very congested with big gains looking possible, but the reality was that there was nothing really on the table, and the main objective was to stay clear of trouble from both your fellow competitors and the Jury, who were in a fine whistling mood, as sailors tried to grab more than their fair share under the dreaded Rule 42, copping a propulsion penalty.
In the Ynglings, all eyes were on the other GBR superstar combination of Ayton, Webb and Wilson. After a very dodgy beginning to the first race, they threw caution to the flighty wind on the second downwind leg, breaking with the fleet ahead of them, and took the high road out to sea. Their move paid a substantial dividend - lifting them right around the fleet and into second place behind the Australian crew, who sailed a very controlled race winning by a three length margin.
In the second, it was a big tick in the winners box for the Dutch crew - the product of a radical (for sailing) selection and sailing program, and led around the course. They were the only crew to achieve this feat all day, and lie in third place overall.
Undisputed surprise packet of Day 1 was the Canadian Yngling crew, who after being the final crew to qualify for the 2008 Olympics, lie in second place overall after two races . They have a fourth and fifth on their scorecard, behind the Gold medal favourites, Great Britain.
From the media's perspective, it was day of frustration and continuing poor communication between organisers and the multi-national group who inhabit the international media centre.
There was a lot of shouting on media boats as leading international photographers, tried to get across to the inexperienced local boat drivers their positioning requirements, via an interpreter. Later the issue boiled over ashore, and is a continuing source of frustration.
Today's issue was compounded by the fact that there are 29 media boats trying to cover just one course, amazingly their time around the course was on rotation only, however the situation is both disappointing and unacceptable.
Tomorrow is another day.
Richard Gladwell Sail-World Olympic Editor
Bob Fisher - Tornado storm Bob Fisher, ISAF, having effectively eliminated the multihull community from future Olympic participation, appears intent on endorsing the farce by failing to monitor the Tornado class rules. It is not that ISAF didn't have advance warning; it has been in the public domain for many months... [more]
Typical Qingdao day for Finns Robert Deaves, The waiting is over. The racing has begun. The first starting signal for the 2008 Olympic Sailing Competition was for the Finn class.... [more]
An Olympic Champion observed Bob Fisher, Anyone who has raced a sailboat will have been overwhelmed by circumstances beyond their control – it is one of the natural exigencies of the sport. The fragility of a position in a race may hang tenuously, but careful management of the race will most times protect the sailor. There are those times when even the most experienced are subject to fate and it is easy to see that it hurts.... [more]
Images of Qingdao: 49er training race Richard Gladwell, Sail-World, Images of Qingdao: 49er training race... [more]
Images of Qingdao: Yngling course Day 1 Richard Gladwell, Sail-World, Images of Qingdao: Yngling Day 1... [more]
Finn and Yngling start with a bang for US Teams Derby Anderson, USA Finn sailor Zach Railey sailed a smashing opener on the first day of the Olympic Sailing Regatta in Qingdao, China. Railey's most impressive move today was on the final run of the first race, when he passed thirteen boats.... [more]
A picture's worth a 1,000 words... Guy Nowell, Sail-World Asia, A picture's worth a 1,000 words... That's what they say, so here are 5,000 more words from Qingdao.... [more]
Images of Qingdao: Finn course - Day 1 Richard Gladwell, Sail-World, Images of Qingdao: Finn course - Day 1... [more]
The RYA report on day 1 at Qingdao RYA Press Office, British sailors got off to a steady start amid some testing conditions in Qingdao's Fushan Bay on Saturday. With many places changes resulting from the light and fickle wind conditions, it seemed more like a game of snakes and ladders than the first day of an Olympic sailing regatta... [more]
470 Mens - Australian Olympic Profile Australian Sailing Team media, Nathan Wilmot and Malcolm Page are Australia's representatives in the 470 Mens competition. They are coached by Victor Kovalenko.... [more]
Olympic Ynglings Day One Rob Kothe Sail-World.com, Weir and crew Karyn Gojnich and Angela Farrell took the lead to win the first race of the Yngling competition. The British team stormed around the fleet on the left to finish in second place. Third was Ekaterina Skudina and crew (RUS).... [more]
The Press Gang and the Media Boat drivers. Guy Nowell, Sail-World Asia, It was a frustrating day out on the water today – light breeze and haze didn't help, but today was the first time the Press Gang met the Media Boat drivers.... [more]
Qingdao: Finn Class - Dan Slater underway Jodie Bakewell-White, Racing commenced at the 2008 Olympic Sailing Regatta today in Qingdao, China. Kiwi Dan Slater was on the water in the 26 strong heavy weight dinghy class – the Finn.... [more]
Qingdao - Aussie Yngling Girls win first race Nicole Browne, 'We're really pleased and we couldn't ask for anything more,' said Australia's Karyn Gojnich, who is competing at her third Olympic Games... [more]
Olympic Sailing Qingdao - Day 1 - Racing completed Sail-World.com/uk, GBR lead the Yngling and are 3rd in the Finn - First races for the Finn and Yngling classes completed in Qingdao, China. In the expected light winds it was a topsy-turvy day for the two British teams. In the first race, Ben Ainslie took the lead at the final downwind mark but was then rolled by the chasing fleet and finished tenth. Yngling team came from last at first mark to finish second... [more]
Australia wins first Olympic Ynglings race Rob Kothe Sail-World.com, Weir and crew Karyn Gojnich and Angela Farrell took the lead to win the first race of the Yngling competition. The British team stormed around the fleet on the left to finish in second place. Third was Ekaterina Skudina and crew (RUS).... [more]
Qingdao Finn Race One and Two Rob Kothe - Sail-World.com, He might be ranked just 28th in the World on the ISAF Rankings but reigning World Champion Ben Ainslie looked like he was going to put his stamp on the 2008 Olympic Finn class with an impressive win in the first race of the Qingdao regatta. But today's first race was not the stuff of fairy tales.... [more]
Letter from Qingdao: Will it work? Richard Gladwell, Sail-World, 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.... [more]
Photos, Bicycles, and Circulating Golf Cars Guy Nowell, Sail-World Asia, The Qingdao Sailing Centre takes a bit of getting used to. It is huge – the best way to get from the gate to the Media Centre is on a “Circulating Golf Car”. Lots of media/journos/photogs/broadcast people, as well as competitors, have bought bicycles... [more]
Five types of racing sailboat Sailing Committee (Qingdao) of BOCOG, A typical racing sailboat has many parts such as the mast, boom, hull, keel and rudder. Mainly there are five types of racing sailboat. Respectively they are:... [more]
ASB Finn 2008: The eve of the Games Dan Slater, Dan Slater reports on the ASB Finn 2008 campaign on the eve of the first race in the 2008 Olympic Regatta: Well tomorrow is really what the last four years has all been about and its exciting that it has finally come round. I have had a great build up and everything has been great. The boat feels good and looks good I feel good...... [more]
470 Women - Australian Olympic Profile Australian Sailing Team media, Profile on the Australian 470 Womens Team Elise Rechichi and Tessa Parkinson. The team is coached by Victor Kovalenko.... [more]
Qingdao weather - 2008 Olympic sailing Day One Sail-World, At 1300 local time today, the 2008 Beijing Olympic sailing regatta starts on Course A, just off the Qingdao Harbour rock wall.... [more]
49er Class - Australian Olympic Profile Australian Sailing Team Media, Profile on the Australian 49er Team members Nathan Outteridge and Ben Austin. The team is coached by Emmett Lazich. They are the current 49er World Champions.... [more]
Ingrid Abery images from Qingdao Sail-World, International yachting photographer Ingrid Abery has arrived in Qingdao, China with lenses poised to capture the drama, action, pleasure and pain that will be the 29th Olympic Games.... [more]