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20 August 2007, 07:20 am
Waiting For Wind
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Anna TUNNICLIFFE waits for the wind on the Laser Radial course

Qingdao International Regatta 2007
Qingdao, China

The wind refused to co-operate today in Qingdao, so it will be an early Monday-morning start for the sailors at the Good Luck Beijing Sinopec Qingdao International Regatta.
The forecasters predicted very light conditions in Qingdao today and they were proved correct as racing was abandoned across all 11 events. The spectators gathered on the Qingdao breakwater (before today it had already hosted 22,000 people!) did get a brief sight of Yuan Guo ZHOU (CHN) and Jian YIN (CHN), currently first and third respectively in the Men's and Women's RS:X fleets, but missed out on any racing. For Monday the warning signal has been moved to 12:00 and three races are now scheduled for the day across all 11 events.

Most sailors took to the water this morning to make sure that they were ready to start an hour earlier than originally scheduled. Weather predictions were that the wind would die as the day went on and the organizers wanted to take advantage of the morning to see if they could get an early race in today for all classes. As it turned out, the wind never filled in enough to attempt a start on any course. Sailors who were out on the water were sent in and those ashore continued to rest, relax, play games and guzzle electrolytes.

Sailors travelled back out to their race courses at about 12:30. Most of them were under tow and some of them remained attached to their tow boats and kept their sails down while they waited for the wind. Out to the west, where the Stars, Tornados, Ynglings and Finns are racing, it was overcast and the wind was patchy. The Laser Radials, a bit closer to the Qingdao Olympic Sailing Centre and in a little more sun, bunched up at the committee boat and were pushed over the line for a general recall. As race management boats moved around to try to anticipate the direction from which the wind would fill, sailors did everything from sunbathe in their boats, drift around with their coaches in RIBS suited up with umbrellas and bimini tops, to swim.

While the spectators may not be used to waiting for the conditions to be appropriate to race, sailors are used to travelling long distances and waiting for the right conditions in order to hold a fair sailing contest. At the two biggest sailing events this year, the America's Cup in Valencia, Spain and the ISAF Sailing World Championships in Cascais, Portugal, winds were too light or too strong for the competition to take place during some of the scheduled racing days. This year in Qingdao, the regatta organizers have built reserve days into the racing schedule to accommodate the vagaries in the wind and weather conditions.

Just after 15:00 all of the flags went up again and racing was cancelled on all courses for the day.

Four racing days remain, with 24 August also scheduled as a reserve day. With no racing today Great Britain maintain their very strong position. After winning four gold medals in Qingdao last year, the Brits again hold the top spot on four of the leaderboards this time round. Bryony SHAW (GBR) tops the Women's RS:X, whilst World Champions Sarah AYTON, Sarah WEBB and Pippa WILSON (GBR) are ahead on countback in the Yngling. Paul GOODISON (GBR) and Ben AINSLIE (GBR), both test event winners in 2006, lead in the Laser and Finn respectively.

Iker MARTINEZ and Xabier FERNANDEZ (ESP) are four points ahead in the 49er, whilst in the Tornado another of Athens gold medal winning crews, Roman HAGARA and Hans Peter STEINACHER (AUT), lead by six. At the top of the Laser Radial leaderboard, Jo ALEH (NZL) is currently highlighting a very strong Kiwi performance, whilst both 470 fleets are still very close. Treble World Champions Nathan WILMOT and Malcolm PAGE (AUS) are ahead in the men and Japan's Ai KONDO and Naoko KAMATA are showing their light wind abilities to lead the women. Flavio MARAZZI and Christen CHRISTOPH (SUI) also hold a narrow advantage in the Star fleet.



Men's 470

Women's 470



Laser Radial

Men's RS:X

Women's RS:X




Organizing Committee of the 2007 Qingdao International Regatta
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