August 23rd – Qingdao,
Can you say back to back beautiful sailing days, well I bet if you asked 80% of the competitors and coaches if they thought it was probable they would have laughed, but guess what, two days in a row as good as any you will get anywhere. And surprise, surprise just in time for the medal races….. can you order these days up? No way but it happened and what an awesome spectacle, Not a soul would have believed we would be writing about quality sailing to wrap this event but it happened and hopefully many lessons learned for the potential in the future.
That’s not to say it wasn’t a predominately light air event, for it was, but what a great finish. If there is not another sailing day of this quality between now and next year at the start of the Olympics I don’t think you would hear too many complaints as long as we can reserve a few days like this for the games themselves.
Mike Leigh in the Laser class made Canadian sailors and Canada proud today with an outstanding medal race, text book start, conservatively aggressive first leg, jumping on opportunities that were presented and finally crossing the line as the victor on the day. With the worlds best anxious to overtake him, Olympic qualification in the balance for others, Mike persevered and owned the day. Well done mate! What can one say, perfect practice and execution for next year when it matters, ramp up the early event scores and we are celebrating an outstanding performance. The 8th place for this event is top shelf and of the quality that one measures when looking at the future.
The excitement on the day was truly worth experiencing, the Radial race came down to the last metres, the Laser race had as many twists as the Sea to Sky Highway and the Ynglings not to be outdone had 4 boats return at the start as the individual recall was hoisted only to find out that the one that didn’t return, the leader entering the day (USA) was in fact over and fell victim to the full wrath of double point scoring dropping from first to 4th and missing that ever elusive podium feeling.
The Olympics is bound to feel many of these same ups and downs only the emotion attached will be ten fold to that of this year’s event. Qingdao has much to offer and equally as much to take away, I am certain that no one will walk away with a medal next year without feeling the pressure of the games and the added uncertainty of a venue like Qingdao.
That’s it for me for this year, but stay tuned to the CYA pages for the unfolding drama of team qualification and drive for the podium in 2008.
August 22nd – Qingdao
What a day, absolutely unbelievable, myself and anyone else that may have doubted Qingdao was treated to a sailing day that would be second to none. A solid 12 to 18 knot breeze dominated the day, as the tide turned and started to push against the breeze the waves grew in great proportions. Bricks, walls,….. basically straight up and down breaking like surf on a beach, a whole new element to consider when preparing for this venue.
In the Tornado medal race Oskar Johansson and Kevin Stittle sailed a quality race, finishing up 7th in the race and 9th overall for the event. Oskar felt there were opportunities to have had a better race on the day but was particularly happy to have had the chance to compete in such a race here, not only in the medal race format but also in conditions so extremely varied from the rest of the week.
Mike Leigh of Vancouver is the lone Canadian that remains with an opportunity to move up the standings. After a clutch performance in the days final race Mike finds himself sitting 9th entering the medal show down with a legitimate shot of reaching 6th overall with a decent medal race performance.
Not to harp on the new found wind too much, but did I mention it was a great sailing day here in Qingdao today. Fans, and competitors were treated to a whole new dimension yet to have been experienced here in Qingdao. Is it a light air venue, perhaps, can it serve up some quality and challenging conditions, absolutely.
That’s all that is fit to print today from the Sailing City, a city that lived up to its name in spades today!
August 21st Qingdao,
The wind arrived…….. ok in reality it was 5-7 knots but wow, does your perspective change when you spend two weeks in big seas, lots of tide and very little wind. The "arrival" allowed the RC to claim the day and get every fleet in a position for medal racing. Now, I'm not in that end of the business but I am pretty certain after all the build up they were going to get us to medal racing pretty much no matter what, so it was nice that we could do it in acceptable racing conditions.
Team Canada had some definite highs and a few lows along the way. The Tornado team of Oskar Johansson and Kevin Stittle strung together two top 5 finishes and faulted up the leader board qualifying for the medal race in style, now sitting 8th. Mike Leigh also kept his medal race chances alive with a consistent day posting an 8, 17, 6 on the day and currently sits 11th a scant 8 point out of 4th place with the potential for two races tomorrow leading into Thursdays medal race.
On the outside looking in unfortunately we find Cooker in the Finn, both RSX teams and the 49er class reps, Lisa Ross in the Radial needs some magic but nothing is outside the question.
Medal race skipper, Oskar Johansson, says the wind was better today, even saw 5 minutes of double trapping but unfortunately that was on the way to the race course. Must have jacked him up as he had his day in the sun and looks forward to putting forward a solid effort in the Medal race.
The Finn, Star, Tornado, 49er, RSX and 470 classes all take on the medal races tomorrow, with the Yngling, Laser and Radial wrapping up the opening series events.
More tomorrow from the "Sailing City", sail with heart, sail to success……
August 20th – Qingdao
Patience – “patience is a virtue” – I have often preached patience and realize within the sailing world we must surely test all of our respective partner’s patience in some way or another. Qingdao has taken this to a new level – wind or lack there of, it was once again the topic of discussion around the boat yard, in the athlete lounge and for that matter pretty much anywhere you could find a sailor to talk to.
To the complete credit of the Race organizers, today they waited, no pulling the plug early, no long and arduous waits on the water in 30+ degree temperatures with humidex ratings somewhere in the mid 40’s, simply the task of killing time ashore and then re-focusing your efforts to put up some solid scores. The winds did cooperate in some regard with a gentle breeze finally covering the complete race area with a 4-6 knot sea breeze. Some courses were fortunate enough to steal two races, while others racing against the shadow of darkness stole a single race, all important to everyone concerned as we fight to get in enough races to kick in the much talked about “Medal Races”.
Canada’s hopefuls didn’t light it up today but then again they didn’t sail themselves out of contention either. Chris Cook in the Finn, Oskar Johansson/Kevin Stittle in the Tornado and Mike Leigh in the Laser all lurk just outside the medal race target, and each team looks forward to raising the stakes tomorrow to find a way into the now infamous final race. Conditions look like they may even cooperate for the race committees with forecasts suggesting breeze in excess of 6 knots throughout the day.
As a side bar we are all quietly hoping that is 6 real knots and not 6 “Qingdao knots” as they have already affectionately been named. These “Qingdao knots” are those forecast by the weather gurus in an effort to keep everyone’s spirits up, by my math skills a Qingdao knot is about ½ a North American knot and definitely less than a ¼ of a true European sailors knot. Whether it is a Qingdao knot or not, everyone would be happy to see any pressure at all, particularly something that allowed the scheduled races to be executed.
As things wind down the pressure winds up, so stay tuned to this thread to catch all the action as it happens here in Qingdao!
Shut out again,
The only goalie I know that can string shut outs together like this at major events is Brodeur and last time I checked he didn’t sail. Unfortunately the wind Gods did not look kindly upon the sailors in Qingdao today. Although the committees made valiant efforts, and a few even began some sequences in earnest, a race was not in the books for today.
Although far from desperate the committees across all the courses are starting to feel the impending deadlines to get races in. With 6 races required to move on to the medal races and inkling of desperation is starting to creep into the decision making. Nothing outlandish yet, but if another shut out is thrown one can only imagine the questions and ideas that will start racing throw the organizers minds.
Unfortunately the weather pattern doesn’t call for any significant breeze increases for tomorrow but one can only hope and deal with what is dealt. Racing has been re-scheduled for 1200 noon for all classes with 3 races scheduled across the board in an effort to get somewhere near to schedule. All one can do is wait and prepare to deal with whatever conditions might arise. That’s it for now from Qingdao!
August 18, 2007, Qingdao
After a day ashore the RC decided to venture forth and take a chance on the breeze. A good call as it turned out, although many had projected a day with less opportunities to race than yesterdays “shut out”, 2 races were completed across most every course.
No it wasn’t spell binding heavy air, not even surfing conditions, but you know what for a 3-6 knot breeze the racing really wasn’t that bad. Constant direction with a little current to add elements of surprise and all in all a pretty decent day. OK I just re-read that, a decent day of racing in 3 knots of breeze? Well you know what this is what is being served up, we all need to learn to revel in these days just as much as those 12-20 knot days because like it or not the Olympic sailing venue is what it is, and the breeze on a typical sea breeze day is not going to rip it up. The top competitors and best prepared are going to win, those searching for magic or illusions to help them perform beyond realistic levels should look to alternate avenues for satisfaction. Challenging yes, impossible no.
Patience, perseverance, and dedication to ones individual pursuits, or more concisely the Olympic words of Citius (Faster), Altius (Higher), Fortius (Stronger), whether it be light air and current with crazy bumps or anything else, the fastest, the highest and the strongest sailor will invariably come out on top. As a team we continue to strive towards that highest step on the podium, only a few, actually only eleven teams will make it to the top step but if you don’t shoot for the stars you will certainly never make it amongst them.
Enough pontification for today, with the majority of classes lagging behind in the schedule race for tomorrow has been bumped ahead by 1 hour, and 3 races have been scheduled for all but the Laser and Radial classes, definitely a moving day if ever there is one.
For complete results on the day please go to www.2007qdregatta.com