August 21 - Qingdao
Qingdao once again lived up to its billing, what billing, oh the one that said it could and likely would deliver a little bit of everything, and once again it did. The medal races for the Star and Tornado were held in awesome conditions, ranging from 14 to 18 knots with significant wave action further accentuated by the current against wind scenario that was present with the Ebb pushing at a solid 1.5 knots straight upwind at start time for the big cats.
In what is being billed as its last Olympic glory the Tornado fleet delivered an action packed race the demonstrated the raw horsepower of these craft and the agility and strength required of the crew. On the track the British took over an early Spanish lead and ultimately lead the rest of the way. Canada’s Oskar Johansson and Kevin Stittle sailed out of their minds finishing a fast closing 2nd, and then needing some magic back in the fleet to boost them into the medal hunt. Early on the mathematical combos required were there but as attrition took its toll on the fleet there were nary enough competitors at the end to make the math work in Canada’s favor. Ultimately the team wound up 4th overall, an awesome display and a best ever Canadian Tornado finish. Good on you lads you did us all proud.
The Star race was no less exciting although the Canadian interests were somewhat tempered. Ultimately the British duo of Iain Percy and Andrew “Bart” Simpson won out, placing fifth in the medal race and securing the overall title on the backs of some others misfortune. Poland’s team took advantage of a healthy right shift on the final beat to slide into the lead, undaunted the early race leader, Robert Scheidt and Bruno Prada of Brazil fought back and secured themselves the Silver Medal ending up tied on points with Sweden and thus winning the tie breaker based on the Medal race scores.
All in all that leaves the team here with some final work in packing up kit to head home and otherwise enjoying some time both here in Qingdao and in Beijing. It is now a time for reflection on the games themselves and ultimately the quadrennial. One thing is for certain, we came with a relatively young team, perceived to be somewhat short on Olympic experience and leave having achieved many goals, including a 4th, 5th and a 9th. The elusive medal fell outside our collective grasp, but I believe a foundation is established for a future where medal potential can once again be achieved. That is going to wrap it for me for this games, it has been a battle but one that I would proudly do again with this core of respectful and dedicated athletes and supporters.
August 20 - Qingdao
It all comes down to a one race show-down for both the Star and the Tornado classes. The final two medal races of this marathon we call the Olympic Games. Ones memory is dulled by four years but let me tell you something, this definitely feels like the longest regatta ever. Not all in bad ways just a long haul.
For some the weight of the worlds may feel like it is resting on their shoulders, for the Swedish team in the Star class the veteran team of Look and Ekstrom will certainly have the support of their team mates who have had their respective Olympics decided in the Medal race, both the Finn and the Laser were in medal position only to come away empty, thus adding some incentive for the Finn class veteran (Olympic Medallist) who leads by 2 points. As is often the case the Star scores are grouped closely with the Brits sitting 2nd at 35 points being chased by Laser legend Robert Scheidt and Bruno Prada of Brazil who sit on 47 points entering the fray.
For the Tornado class all eyes (at least Canadian ones) will be focused on Oskar Johansson and Kevin Stittle. This dynamic duo partnered with coach Rob Fox hold our last shot at a podium effort. The team currently sits 5th overall, 5 points out of 4th and 13 out of a Bronze medal. You say come on 13 points ......thats way too much, but hold on, the medal race can best be described as 2 races wrapped in one with its double point scoring and then through in the math games and 13 points is doable. Win, lose or draw this team has done themselves and Canada proud at this championship. In reviewing the score-card Oskar and Kevin both responded with similar statements, "all we can control is how we sail, and then let the chips fall as they may for everyone else".
So with that being said, I encourage you to tune in sometime in the hours of the day that only a few night crawlers typically enjoy, but for one night I can guarantee it would be worth disturbing a little sleep time to take in what will be an encore presentation from the Olympic Games in Qingdao
August 19 - Qingdao
Qingdao was up to her old tricks today, light winds, fog, random wind shifts, you name we had it. It was another Medal Race showdown day with the Laser and Radial teams taking centre stage. There was plenty of drama in both fleets.
In the Laser race Canada was represented by Mike Leigh who entered the race 10th overall. Mike scored a 7th place finish and wound up 9th for the Games. An outstanding score for Mike in all regards. Mike was pleased with his recovery in this event after getting out to a slow start earlier this week. Showing incredible patience and discipline Mike dug in and was the player to beat through the mid point of the event. His 9th place finish is a best ever for the Canadian Laser class, kudos to you Mike! As a first time Olympian Mike has made his mark on the class and we look forward to further success from Mike as his career progresses.
Elsewhere, the Tornado team of Oskar Johansson and Kevin Stittle suffered through an agonizing day of hurry up and wait; initially postponed ashore the fleet was then taken on water to slow roast while the breeze eluded their race course. Looks to be an early start tomorrow with the RC trying for 3 races before the fleet heads to the Medal Race on Thursday.
Stay tuned as the Canadian team takes one last shot at the podium in Qingdao.
August 17 - Qingdao
The first of the medal races are now complete in Qingdao. And Qingdao delivered big time, yeah there was also a ton of rain but some big breeze and huge waves. Canada’s medal shot came up just short as Chris “Cooker” Cook sailed an outstanding series and gave it everything today, twice disadvantaged by huge right hand shifts that stole any chance he had at securing a medal. But lets focus on the positive, his 5th place score at the Games (his first games) is the best Finn result for Canada since a Bronze medal in 1984, quite an accomplishment, good on yah Cooker, I could not be more proud! Overall in the Finn fleet, GBR took Gold (his 4th medal, 3 Gold’s and a Silver in his career) USA a Silver Medal (outstanding job for Zac Railey one of the adopted Canadian favorites) and FRA the Bronze medal.
Elsewhere there was mayhem, the Yngling medal race had trauma everywhere, with favorites doing spins, hitting marks and others rallying at the opportunities presented. At the end of the day GBR took the Gold, NED the silver and GRE the bronze medal. The 49er Medal race was made for TV drama, no mini series or pro sports game could ever have produced the excitement. Capsizes, broken masts pre race, donated boats to allow others to compete…. you name it. Definitely the story of the sailing games so far, Denmark broke their mast pre-race, dejectedly come ashore, CRO scrambles into action and gives them their boat… they blast back out to the race course, manage a mine field of capsized boats to put themselves in position to win it all, and then they have a yard sale themselves, swimming 100 meters from the finish, drama…they right the boat in time and finish securing the Gold Medal, ESP ripped it up doing their part to defend their gold medal title falling just one step short on the podium as their Medal Race win gave them the Silver Medal, the Bronze going to GER. (49er results are pending protest)
Canadians continue to hang tough in the remaining fleets competing. Mike Leigh continues his rise through the standings posting a 3rd in the only race completed for the Laser class today, vaulting up to 11th overall and in spitting distance of the Medals (10 points to 3rd and 14 to 1st overall). Similarly Lisa Ross in the Radial fleet continued her consistent performance, posting a 9th on the day and now sits 12th overall only 3 points behind the elusive medal race position with 4 opening series races to come. Tommy Wharton says “the Laser and Radial teams are both poised to take a run at the Medal Race, there remains a ton of sailing and great opportunities for advancement.”
On the RSX course two races were sailed and Zac Plavsic found his form placing a series best 12th, while Nikola Girke continues to challenge her rivals and currently sits 17th overall. The Tornado team of Oskar Johansson and Kevin Stittle scored a pair of 9’s today and sit 6th overall only 3 points out of 3rd.
With plenty of racing to come several of the Canadian contingent are in position to make some noise! More to come.. stay tuned.
August 16 - Qingdao
Well the much anticipated start to the Medal races was put on hold for another day. The RC worked valiantly to get a race off including having two postponed mid sequence and one race that was half completed before the wind took one of its now infamous hiatuses. Re-scheduled for tomorrow the Cooker lives to fight another day with a long shot at a silver and a legitimate dog fight for the Bronze.
Elsewhere many fleets were able to get racing in on the off-shore courses. Canada’s fortunes took an upswing with Mike Leigh scoring a 4th moving him into 12th overall at the midway point of the opening series. Lisa Ross also answered the bell in the Radial class scoring a quality 7th to also put her in 12th at the half way marker. Oskar Johansson and Kevin Stittle in the Tornado class scored a 3-9 on the day and sit 6th after 3 races. Unfortunately for the RSX sailors the day was not cooperative for them and they will have to use their reserve day tomorrow in an effort to round out the opening series. For the 49er team of Gordon Cook and Ben Remocker and the 470 team of Stephane Locas and Oliver Bone their 1st Olympic games have wrapped up. The teams finished 14th and 29th respectively and showed great class in their efforts both this week and in setting new standards of performance for their respective classes.
Lots more to come from Qingdao, and with a positive forecast in the offing for tomorrow we hope to see the first sailing medals of the games presented.
August 15 - Qingdao
The Qingdao weather once again proved painful, but patience paid off and finally the promised breeze arrived. After lengthy delays on the water where it looked like nothing would transpire the wind showed up just in time and all courses were able to squeeze in a race.
None was more important for the Canadian squad than the race they stole on the Finn and Yngling course. At 3:20 with the daily cut off of 4:00 looming the breeze materialised literally from no where. One minute we were drifting in zero gusting to 1/2 a knot from random directions and the next thing you know we had a solid 12 knots. A "miracle" fate or what ever you wish to call it!
For the Canadian squad it was both ends of the spectrum in terms of emotion, for the Cooker it gave him a shot and he rose to the occasion sailing an incredible race and stealing a 3rd place finish in the race, vaulting him up the leader board and setting up a winner take all medal race for tomorrow. The chips fell for the most part the way they needed to and Cooker now sits a mere 7 points out of the Bronze medal position occupied by Sweden, and remains within grasp although a big grasp of a Silver medal shot. What more can one ask for than to be in a position on the final day to have a shot at the medals. Kudos to Cooker, chips were down and he played the hand needed. Now the event hangs in the balance for the final race. Double points winner take all!
On the other end of the spectrum the Yngling team of Provan/Henderson/Abbott, battled to the end, never giving up and proving to all they deserved to be here! One shift left them on the wrong side of a potential top 10 placing. Good on you ladies well done!
Elsewhere, Mike Leigh returned to prime form with a 5th place finish in the Laser class, Lisa Ross in the Laser Radial fell victim to a yellow flag for kinetics on the final run turning an outstanding race into an exceptable 11th place finish. Both move up overall and with plenty of racing to go anything can happen. The Tornado squad of Johansson/Stittle started their series off with an 8th place finish, a definite keeper in Qingdao.
Stay tuned as the saga unfolds in the city that provides sailing conditions for everyone, all be it not for those faint of heart!
August 14 - Qingdao
No racing took place in Qingdao today as the wind gods simply could or would not cooperate. Overcast skies prevented any seabreeze development and the system just did not have anything in it. This results in a vastly changed schedule for tomorrow with 3 races scheduled on most circles and the Finn/Yngling opening series coming down to one potential 3 race day. Good news or otherwise the forecast calls for breeze at last so three might just be possible and the scorecard is bound to look dramatically different after such a day. Stay tuned!
August 13 - Qingdao
Challenging, frustration, and lots of other more derogatory words could describe the demeanor of many athletes as they hit the dock today. Long delays on the water for many classes, were followed by races that unfortunately saw deteriorating and trying conditions. One could look at some of the perspective as some way to justify less than satisfactory results; the reality was the racing took place in 4-5 knots of breeze with upwards of 40 degrees of range in direction. Some would say such is life others were heard to say, this is the Games is it not ….we want fair racing in conditions that are a step better than going to the Casino. No slight towards the Race Committees though, they showed patience and conducted the racing within the rules of the game, its just a tough pill to swallow at times when you are on the wrong side of a 40 degree winder that never comes back…
The result boards in some classes appear close to the norm while in others some of the big time stars of the sport are finding the going tough. Ben Ainslie of GBR in the Finn class continues to be the class of the event and extended his overall lead after yet another quality finish. The race winner on the day was CRO, who rounded the top mark 2nd overall and never looked back, extending throughout the race to put up an impressive race win. Other players were less fortunate, ESP was OCS, GRE received yet another propulsion penalty and countless were seen scratching their collective heads wondering what they had done to deserve their outcomes. Canada’s Chris Cooker Cook remains in the thick of the battle sitting 7th overall after a 15th place finish today. The Cooker was on the bad end of a huge winder, the good end of one on the next windward leg and on the receiving end of the last one, ultimately crossing the line somewhat perplexed on the days racing. With 3 series races
remaining before the all important Medal showdown, Cooker is 18 points in arrears of a medal and 9 points shy of 4th overall, stranger things have played out over the years and one thing we can all be certain of is that he will not go down without a fight.
In the Radial fleet today a single race was held and USA Anna Tunnicliffe extended her overall lead after 3 races sailing consistently through the opening races with a 4-5-6 for a 7 point lead. Canadian entry Lisa Ross rebounded today with a 13th and presently sits 18th overall with a ton of racing to go. On the 49er course our Canadian team of Gordon Cook and Ben Remocker started off slowly with a pair of 16s before finishing 10th in the final race to sit 13th overall. The Yngling competition is amongst the tightest to date, Canada’s team of Provan/Henderson and Abbott currently sit 12th overall but are a scant 5 points shy of the Medal Race cut off and only a mere 11 points from 5th. With 3 series races remaining the team has their sights set on that all important medal race.
On the Laser course many of the pre-event favorites including Canada’s Mike Leigh are finding the going tough. Mike put up a 26th today and sits 19th overall after 3, joining him in an unfamiliar place on the scoreboard is pre-event medal pick Tom Slingsby of AUS who like Mike has had a slow start and currently sits 21st overall. Andrew Campbell of the US took today’s race and vaulted himself up the leader-board in the process. Canada’s 470 men’s team of Locas/Bone had a 22-23 for the day and currently lay 28th overall.
After a day off the RSX men and women join the fun again tomorrow while the 470 men get a well-deserved day off. The Tornado class and its controversial Code 0 caper have their official practice race tomorrow as a prelim to the fireworks for the second half of the event. That’s it for today, the forecast for tomorrow looks promising but then again we are in Qingdao so your best guess is best made a whole bunch closer to race time than now.
August 12 - Qingdao
Well the Qingdao of old seems to be lurking around…. For the first time in the event we were postponed ashore, but only for a short period before this new found Qingdao returned with a light to moderate sea-breeze which enabled the race committee to stay on schedule.
If you would have bet most people that we would be on schedule through 4 race days I would hazard that you would have been hard pressed to find anyone to take that bet on. But here we are…on schedule….and having relatively good all be it exceedingly difficult racing.
The Laser and Radial fleets kicked off their Olympics today with two races completed for each of the Men’s and Women’s events. The results bear witness to the difficulty of the conditions with serious contenders finding themselves with scores they are not accustomed to swallowing. The Canadian teams of Mike Leigh (Laser) and Lisa Ross (Radial) had tough goes although both remain upbeat and recognized they were just out of touch all day.
The 470 men’s team of Stephane Locas and Oliver Bone, came out swinging for day 2, unfortunately their fire found them OCS in race one of the day, but they bounced back with a competitive 20th place finish in the second race of the day.
The RSX class sailed a further two race today and remain on schedule with 6 complete. The Canadian teams were consistent through the day and remain in the hunt for medal race possibilities.
The 49er, Yngling and Finn classes all had reserve days today, each crew choosing their own forms of relaxation, including some boat work, some golf and others just taking the day to hang out. The RSX get to enjoy the day off tomorrow with all other Canadian boats less the Tornado who have yet to start out continuing their quest for success.
August 11 - Qingdao
A full slate of racing for today, with difficult but good conditions across all race courses. The athletes were treated to a solid 10-12 knot breeze as they left the harbor and warmed up for the days racing. Unfortunately by race time the breeze had backed off to a more typical 5-6 knots with some variations. This breeze stuck around all day with a slight increase late in the day.
On the Finn course the Cooker remains fully in the hunt. After a trying race one on the day Cooker rebounded with a solid 5th place finish in Race 6 and currently sits 4th overall just past the mid-way point in the Games. The Finn racing has been closer than anything experienced throughout the quad with 16 boats finishing within 30 seconds of each other in Race 4. This makes every small slip up appear catastrophic on the scorecard and looks to create a high scoring affair. Ben Ainslie took over the overall lead after six races and sits with 17 points, one point clear of Zac Railey of the US. France is next on 26 points with the Cooker chasing with 33 points. More to come and this is shaping up to be a great gunfight.
In the Yngling racing the Provan/Henderson/Abbott team continues to hang tough, showing incredible downwind speed that has been consistently pulling them into contention. After 6 races the Brits lead being hotly pursued by Netherlands and the Australia with our Canadian squad within striking distance of the all important medal race sitting 12th.
The 49er team of Gordon Cook and Ben Remocker had a solid outing today putting up consistently improving scores of 10 – 7 -6 over the three races held today and currently sit 12th overall.
The competition kicked off today for the 470 men, and RSX classes, with the Canadian contingent battling gamely. Nikola Girke in the women’s RSX class had a solid start to her campaign and currently sits 13th of 27 competitors. Zac Plavsic has a somewhat slower start to his series but remains confident of performance to come and currently sits 24th. The 470 men’s team of Stephane Locas and Oliver Bone had a challenging start to their event but remain game, they currently sit 28th overall.
The Yngling and Finn get the pleasure of a reserve day off tomorrow and will enjoy some well-deserved rest while the Laser and Radial teams kick off their competition, joining the 49er, 470 and RSX classes who all continue the fray.
August 10 - Qingdao
Qingdao provided a wonderful sailing day today, no poking fun at Qingdao knots today as the Sailing City delivered. Conditions were 6-9 knots with a relatively constant swing to the breeze. Having said this the tide always a factor played games with everyone again with a long lazy switch versus the normal quick flip and rip.
On the Finn course Zac Railey of the USA continues to excel in the trying conditions putting up consistent 2-2 finishes today to take over the early lead. Not to be outdone Ben Ainslie of GBR continues to show why he was pegged as an early favourite. Ainslie modeled a 4-1 today and sits second. Chris "Cooker" Cook hung tough putting up a 7-10 and the day and showed that consistency will pay as he sits in third after 4 battles. Cooker continued to demonstrate his downwind savy pulling some big fleet movement on the downwind legs. Patience, consistency and keeping ones head will ultimately pay dividends here and Cooker is in prime form.
The Yngling team of Provan/Henderson/Abbott showed moments of brilliance and some other moments as well, remaining game throughout the day in putting up a 10-15 and now sit 12th overall. The racing much like the Finn fleet is exceptionally close with finishes being bow to stern for the entire fleet.
The 49er team of Gordon Cook and Ben Remocker started off with a consistent trio of scores all around 12 and were encouraged that they were well in the hunt just lacking a few opportunities for success.
The action continues tomorrow with the Yngling and Finns on Course area E, 49ers on Course Area B, RSX M&W start off on Course Area A, 470 men's first official race on course area D and the Laser and Radial having a practice race on Area C. The action from this point gets hot and heavy for all Canadians with only the Tornado class awaiting to start.
August 9 - Qingdao
Most of you will have seen the gala event that took place in Beijing last night, what a spectacle that was. For a number of team members they were forced to pass on the opening as they started what we are really here for and that is settling the score after 4 years since the last showdown.
Both the Finn and Yngling classes took to the water today for their first races of the championships. The Qingdao knot meter was in high gear as we departed with nary a breath of wind across the water, but the luck of 8-8-8 (even though today is 8-9-8) must have been shining on the organizers. The wind filled to a raging 4 knots for race one making it just practical to race in the quickly ebbing tide.
Race one was a challenge for all; the leaders saw both the front and the back of the respective fleets with near fleet score inversions taking place over the course of the races. Canada’s reps had strong starts to their campaigns here in Qingdao, with the Yngling Team of Provan, Henderson, Abbott putting together a stellar day with a 5, 4 to sit 2nd overall. The Finn racing was equally as difficult with leaders putting up teens and those that were searching out the back end putting up single digit scores with huge final leg comebacks. The Cooker escaped the day with a pair of solid scores including an 8 and a 3 to sit 4th after two races tied for 3rd with GBR Ben Ainslie. All in all the type of start both teams were looking for.
With much racing ahead and equally as trying conditions forecast for tomorrow just about anything can happen but getting out of the gates and shaking off those first day jitters was a good thing. Tomorrow’s slate sees the Finn and Yngling’s continue their series with the 49er’s starting official racing, elsewhere the 470 men and RSX men and women have their official practice races.
On a side note, while everyone was off in Beijing our fearless leader EB, had the thrill of a lifetime driving the J class yacht Endeavor. (see photos) Rumor on the street is that he had it performing way above targets..... Talk of a comeback....watch out!
August 7 - Qingdao
The official practice race for the Yngling and Finn has scheduled for today and unfortunately the Qingdao of old reappeared. The principle race officer on the course area did a good job of showing patience and not establishing a negative precedent of forcing sailing in conditions that were not conducive to quality competition.
At 1300 hours local the current was running at approximately 1.5 knots with winds less than 3 knots (more like 1 gusting to 2), as per previous events here the Finns could sit stationary beside the committee boat while sailing as fast as possible downwind.... not something you want to settle the Olympic Games on. After a lengthy wait and many boats returning to shore to avoid spending more time than necessary in the scortching temperatures some sailing was to be had, but no quality racing. No worries thought, thats what practice racing is all about. Identify the start area, identify the course layout relative to shorelines and other variables, maybe get a couple of legs of racing in.....and then sit back and prepare for the real thing.
The forecast appears promising by race day (Aug 9th), with a similar day as today scheduled for tomorrow, then 6-10 knots projected for race time - which is just perfect in terms of what one might face. More to come from the sailing city.
August 6 - Qingdao
Most everyone that has been following and/or anticipating the start of the 2008 Beijing Olympics has seen one of the zillion count down clocks, either on a website or if you have been to China on just about every other street corner. Well the number is now to a tangible level, the games are all but here. Four years, eight years, ten years..... maybe a life time for some of dedicated efforts to achieve a personal goal. One to attend, two to perform at or above your capabilities. The Canadian squad assembled here in Qingdao is ready to take on the second step.
With the exception of the Tornado class which starts later in the schedule the team has for the most part completed their home-work and pre-regatta requirements (i.e. measurement). Official practice races for the Yngling and Finn start tomorrow, then the gala opening ceremony on the following day (8-8-8) in Beijing which will be a spectacle for sure..... most of the team will attend with the exception of the Finn/Yngling teams and associated support who will remain in Qingdao in wait of their first days official racing. Although not officially open the games are on!
8-8-8 the symbol which adourns the majority of the Canadian uniform, the most lucky of lucky numbers in China, and a score most golfers refer to as a snowman (something to be avoided if capable). Numbers mean a great deal in this society, there is no 13th floor which is not uncommon, 4 and 5 also don't exist and neither do 14 and 15, pretty confusing when you first ride the elevator. A little thing but just one of the many remarkable aspects of China that one might never experience. Enough on the numbers.....lets focus on some colours .....Gold, Silver, Bronze ....... the targets of many and the elusive goal for the majority at this event. Canada brings one of its deepest squads in recent memory to these games, no we are not loaded with multiple games veterans, in fact only three athletes are competing in the "games" for the second time, but thats not to say we don't have the horses to deliver. Quite the opposite, a Silver Medal at the Tornado Worlds, a Bronze Medal at the Fi nn Worlds, Grade 1 Gold Medals in the Laser class, these scores just scratch the surface.....then there are the exception Olympic performances that have occured in the past and could occur at these games.....as of the 9th when the racing kicks off everyone is on equal yet unequal ground, but the common denominator is that they are Olympians with proven track records which have brought them here..... how will it play out, well thats what will be decided over the next couple of weeks ......stay tuned as this page will turn to race day focus and follow our Team through to the final race.
August 4 - Qingdao
The last of the Canadian athletes arrived today rounding us out to our full contingent of 9 classes and 14 athletes. Although testy early on the breeze did finally fill in today creating an exceptional afternoon of sailing. Ok maybe exceptional is overstating it a little bit but it was still solid, with 4-7 knots of breeze and the odd lull to less than 4.
The ever present tidal effect was in full force with upwards of 1.8 knots flooding by late afternoon. This rip of water creates havoc around the race track and the athletes have been busy weighing out options and calculating time and distance in this ever present force.
An interesting spectator boat drew into harbour today, causing a brief pause in the action to admire the J Class yacht Endeavour. This outstanding vessel dwarfs everything around here and makes one wonder at how such a vessel was sailed competitively in her prime. The attached photo does not due her justice..... but I tried.
Everything goes up a notch or two tomorrow and Wednesday as measurement for the majority is scheduled. The race areas are going active as well on Wednesday with the RC setting courses and prepping for the event. More to come but that's it for today.
August 3 - Qingdao
The Many Faces of Qingdao
Those that have been following the weather and past events here in Qingdao are all too familiar with the projected wind forecasts (lightish) and tidal effect (huge), but over the course of our first 10 days here this year we have seen it all.
It all started with rain that was bouncing to your knee-caps off the pavement, this quickly evolved into ridiculous humidity and day time fog banks that completely engulfed the area, then the tail of a typhoon provided us with 20-25 knot breeze for a complete day and evening, and today, a picture perfect day for anywhere in the world. Visibility was amazing; shoreline architecture and mountains appeared that had never previously been viewed. All in all a breath taking day that we can only hope gets repeated for us down the road.
On the water the Canadian contingent had a solid training day with the majority of boats in full action enjoying the quality all be it light conditions that were presented. Be it tuning, short track racing or specific warm up activities the group as a whole came off the water smiling and pleased with their respective status and validation that the months of homework were paying off.
Christmas came again today, as COC representatives delivered clothing to be exchanged and took care of some hemming on pants that must have been designed for the NBA basketball stars. That’s it for today from the Sailing City.
August 2 - Qingdao
It feels more like the games are imminent as the first Canadian boats completed measurement today, making them official and in a funny way kicking off the action. Chris “Cooker” Cook was second up in the Finn cue and made quick work of measurement only to be somewhat stymied by a missing regatta-supplied sail sticker, no worries though as the Chinese promised to have this remedied for tomorrow.
The lions share of the Canadian squad will complete measurement by the 6th of August with only the Tornado at a later date on August 13th as their racing doesn’t officially get underway until the 16th.
Another decent day of sailing here in Qingdao with a variable offshore breeze that provided solid conditions, albeit quite Qingdao-like as the leftover swell for the breeze of two days ago continues to make things interesting.
More to come as more develops.
August 1st - Great Wall of China
Every day presents something new in Qingdao, today’s weather for example was a stark contrast to the previous days big breeze reminding everyone of the light conditions with big seas that many had come to expect. Everything being equal the breeze did eventually fill in and a good day of sailing was available for all.
Then it all changed again, the fog rolled in thick as pea soup and the rains returned, such is life here in the “Sailing City”. An interesting item discovered on water today was the exclusion/inclusion zone barrier. Most everyone is likely quite familiar with the Great Wall of China, 6400 km long taking 11 Centuries to complete, well in Qingdao we have the equivalent on the water - The Great Exclusion Zone of Qingdao - a reported 30 km stretch of barrier - not sure how long it took to build but it is impressive. This thing is truly a barrier, keeps the Olympic traffic contained and the commercial traffic on the outside.(Please go to www.sailing.ca to view photo)
Measurement begins tomorrow for team Canuck, with Cooker (Finn) the first of our athletes to go through the process. A true sign that competition is only just around the corner. Christmas came for the team yesterday with the Olympic clothing arrival. Interesting would be a good description, comfort second to none, style ….well not my style but we are stylish.
Lisa Ross (Radial), Gordon Cook and Ben Remocker (49er) arrive today bringing our contingent close to capacity with only the Tornado team (Johansson/Stittle) and Laser athlete (Mike Leigh) as those to yet arrive.
That’s all that is fit to print for today….. more to come and the focus will soon turn to the task at hand.
July 31 - Qingdao, evening
Well the Canadian Team continues to take form here in Qingdao, tonight we had one of the highlights of the trip so far when we were hosted to dinner by BST China (Bombardier). BST China is a solid supporter of our Olympic program, they have provided us with a state of the art workshop container and then one upped themselves in hosting us at a beautiful dinner tonight.
Dinner was hosted at the local version of Marineland, a beautiful location on the waterfront with Sharks swimming beneath our feet at the entrance to the restaurant. Dinner at Marineland?? guess what the greatest meal I have had in China, out of this world sushi, every fish dish you could imagine including live lobster on the table. We were treated to a Chinese delicacy of Shark fin soup and many more incredible dishes. BST was our proud host and treated us like royalty and have become our Chinese based cheering squad, a wonderful feeling. Many thanks to BST and their support of the Canadian Sailing Team.
On the prep front, we were treated to the tail end of a typhoon today, winds a solid 20 to 25 knots with unbelievable seas, who said Qingdao had no wind.....!! Not a lot of sailing going on although a few hearty souls did brave the gargantuan waves and trying conditions. Winds to abate over night with a solid 14-18 forecast for tomorrow. Just imagine a few days of this during the games to mix things up a bit!
Enjoy the shots, (and yes that is a shark between my toes) more later. KD