Monday, August 11, 2008

Qingdao, Sopot. . . As expected on Day 1 of Olympics and Raceboard Europeans

Normal weather patterns held true on the first day of the Olympic Regatta for RS:X, and two races were held for both men and women. After only one day, the fleet is mixed up as is normal for regattas in light, shifty wind. It’s been posted that the wind has been at 8 knots, but that’s after calculating the “Qingdao Factor” which means the wind is actually 3 or 4 knots. If you take a look at the results, you’ll see a rough day for some great sailors. The Athens gold medalist, Faustine Merret, will have to fight her way back from a DSQ. Our Polish team is hanging tough, both sailors in mid-fleet. They’re used to dominating however, and will climb their way back up the ranks. However, the Chinese sailors are performing as expected and Jian Yin, the women’s rep, took two bullets on the first day. Ben Barger is also hanging mid-fleet. He hasn’t updated his blog yet, but I’m sure he’ll be posting regular updates.

NBC is doing a good job with their online sailing coverage, so stay tuned into them. They have a full section on sailing with a new update on the windsurfing. Fairly comprehensive North American reports are also found on Scuttlebutt and US Sailing. Also an entertaining read / rant is Sailing Anarchy, which recently posted their thoughts on Qingdao in general (“Enter the Draggin’”), and the re-attack of the killer algae (“Return of the Blob”). The Polish are updating their website as well, and just loaded a cool new video on YouTube. More NBC video was recently brought to my attention by Helen Van Gelder of the Baltimore Area Boardsailing Association.

Here on the other side of the Eurasia land mass, the Raceboard Europeans have just started. Raceboard is an interesting class because you really see a variety of equipment. Competitors have equipment dating from the early ‘90s that still works great. It’s really old-school and it’s great to see that there is a big, competitive fleet still.

Naturally, all the locals are scrounging their equipment from their friends in their quest for the fastest kit. I am using a new Bic Techno Hybrid 293 for the regatta, and my first day on it was today. It took me one race to get the equipment tuned up, and another half of a race to actually start racing and not worrying about the gear…but that’s how it goes and I’m expecting to do well tomorrow. My friend Max, on the other hand, borrowed a really fast longboard and an old, huge raceboard 9.5 sail. He is fast and leading the regatta, but he is also fighting the old sail the whole way! Conditions are classic Sopot…offshore, shifty crazed wind. It’s great for racing and it is really funny to see how the other competitors react to the conditions that I’m already very used to.

Lots of work to do, pictures coming in a day or so, and keep posted.

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