There is a haze over the Bay of Cadiz at the moment, not generated by heat or mist, but by the continuing strong easterlies blowing sand offshore from the city side of the bay.
The forecast is for the Levante to drop steadily throughout today from a fresh to frightening 25 knots at the scheduled start time for the Europes, becoming 14-18 by the end of the day.
At the moment however, there is a steady 25 knots across race areas Charlie, Delta and Echo for the Star Yngling and Europe classes. Racing is postponed until the gradient breeze decreases enough to send sailors out on the water, and the Europes wait patiently on the vast slipway, tied down.
The strength of the Levante cannot be underestimated, and the dinghy parks, keelboat compounds and marina are all well protected against the hot breeze. Vast, sixty foot high concrete walls give boats and people alike, a measure of solace from the sand blasted across the bay.
When and if the Europes do get racing, both groups will sail on one Olympic trapezoid course, with one group, starting first, sailing the outer loop, and the second group sailing the inner loop.
We will have more news when the fleets are launched, and when the Levante drops.
With measurement concluding today for the men's and women's windsurfing events on the Mistral One-Design, the sailors are making their final preparations. With the wind blowing this morning, the sailors are revelling in the conditions.
In the women's event, there are a handful of sailors who have dominated at the top of the fleet for a considerable number of years. Strangely, many do not do so well at some of the top graded events, but when the pressure is on and the results really count they place where it matters.
Of course all eyes will be on the defending Gold Medallist, Alessandra SENSINI (ITA), who is renowned for scoring series of bullets. However, ISAF met up with one of the older forces to be reckoned with in the women's fleet Barbara KENDALL (NZL). Barbara has been competing at Olympic level since the women's event first made its appearance at the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona, where she took Gold. Since then, Barbara has not dropped off the podium, claiming a Silver in 1996 and then successfully defending her medal with a repeat Silver in 2000. So, is Barbara after the hat trick and a Bronze medal, to lay claim to a complete quiver of medals, or is it Gold she's after.
Aged 36, Barbara entered the competition with a world ranking of 45, but this was upped to 40 at the Rankings Release 11 September 2003.
Speaking on the pressure she feels at this Worlds, Barbara commented, "I am competing for different reasons now. I now compete because I want to, rather than because I have to," before adding, "I would rather be doing this [competing] than anything else."
Barbara was enthusiastic at the concept of the Olympic events all being held at the same time and commented that the Organising Committee, "Have done a really good job."
Barbara KENDALL (NZL) © ISAF