Qingdao / China, Olympic Tornado Sailing - On Thursday August 14 2008, the Dutch Tornado-duo Booth/Nieuwenhuis decided not to use the heavily discussed Chupacabra Code Zero during the Olympic regatta in Qingdao. That means they will leave their upwind gennaker onshore and take their normal seized sail out. As mentioned last week, it was a weather dependant call and the forecast does not look favourable for the smaller and flatter Code Zero. There will be three or four windy days and the breeze will come from the north, instead of the southeast, which is the predominant direction in Qingdao. The Tornado class will start racing tomorrow. Today’s practice race was cancelled due too a lack of wind.
'The risk is too big', said Pim Nieuwenhuis this afternoon. 'The forecast shows sixteen knots tomorrow and even more on Sunday. In that case, we have a better chance with the standard set of sails. Normally, the light breeze comes from the southeast, but for next week it looks totally different.' Their new sail was developed for typical Qingdao conditions. “We have always said that our decision would depend on the weather forecast”, declared Nieuwenhuis.
All teams are allowed to measure in two gennakers, including a spare one. The Dutchmen got a normal and small gennaker stamped and had to announce their final choice today at 6 PM local time. However, their American partners Lovell/Ogletree measured in two Code Zero’s and have no choice left. Nieuwenhuis: “By the end of the week, we will see who was right.”
Qingdao / China, August 10 2008 - On Sunday August 10 2008, the Dutch Tornado-duo Mitch Booth and Pim Nieuwenhuis are to complete the measurement procedures tomorrow. Today, the sailors presented their catamaran and widely discussed sail in the burning heat of the Olympic harbour in Qingdao. That means they plan to use the upwind gennaker at the 29th Olympic Games. The class measures looked carefully at the equipment. The Dutchmen have to come back tomorrow morning for the last details, such as correcting weight. As soon as everything is complete, the measurement can be concluded.
“It is progressing well”, said Mitch Booth this afternoon. “We have to finalize some details, but that is not unusual. We presented our small gennaker, which goes as planned. They started measuring the sail, but they haven’t stamped it yet, since the measurement is not final.” To the question whether the upwind gennaker is legal, Booth responded: “The ISAF announced that if the concept fits within the measures, it is fine. To us, it is more a question whether the sailing conditions will be ok. According to our forecast so far, there will be one or maybe two days above our range of eleven knots. The circumstances will be perfect during the rest of the time. Luckily we have one more day to monitor the forecasts.”
According to Booth, the Americans Lovell/Ogletree, training partners of the Dutchmen, will have their measurement on August 13th. The Australian favourites Bundock/Ashby will be next. Both teams have a code zero, but it remains the question whether they will use it. Booth: “I think they all look at us.”
The Olympic Tornado regatta will start on Friday August 15 2008.
Qingdao / China, August 9 2008 - Despite the commotion about the new ‘code zero’, Dutch Tornado sailors Mitch Booth and Pim Nieuwenhuis stick to their strategy. They plan to use the upwind gennaker, especially designed for the predominant sailing conditions in Qingdao. The final decision is a weather depending call. Their measurement is scheduled on Sunday August 10th, so they have one more day to monitor the weather forecast.
As revealed earlier, the upwind gennaker will give an advantage in speed up to 11 knots. However, on the downwind legs there will be a disadvantage with a significant smaller sail area. Booth: “But the advantage upwind makes up for the disadvantage downwind.” For every Olympic Games the designing process of the best possible equipment starts all over again. Booth explains how they decided to work on the smaller and flat gennaker: “In Qingdao the current has a big effect on the race course. We already know quite accurately what the current will be. And with the predominant wind from the south east, it means that in terms of percentage the upwind leg will take a lot longer than on a normal course without current. The lighter the wind gets, the bigger the change in percentage upwind/downwind will be.” If this is the weather forecast, the Dutchmen will defenitely use the code zero. Booth: “But if the wind comes from the opposite direction then the numbers will reverse and we might reconsider our strategy.”
Pim Nieuwenhuis expresses the fact that they did not use a loophole in the rules: “We just designed a different gennaker that complies with the required measures.” According to Booth, they don’t have any doubt concerning the legibility of the sail: “Two coaches and three professional teams worked on it for a year. We all know the rules very well and we asked ourselves every possible question. In case there was only a small doubt, we would not have wasted a year of testing and developing. I have no fear that it doesn’t come through the measurement.”
A lot of you have done a lot of catamaran sailing this season with the normal wear and tear on your boats. Sometimes the wear (or tear) is a little beyond the "normal" category. When that happens, don't forget your fellow catamaran sailors who might have the same situation in the future.
As you do your repair, or fix your problem, please take a moment during this stressful time to take pictures and make a few notes about how the problem happened, any warning signs, and how you fixed it.
Nothing fancy is needed, a phone camera, disposable camera, or professional SLR will all result in pictures to tell the story. As soon as you have the pictures, upload them to an album in the Beachcats Technical section of the photo gallery to help the next sailor with the same problem. You can easily come back later and add more detailed information to the pictures.
If you are currently struggling with a problem on your boat, check out the Beachcats Technical and you might find a solution.
(QINGDAO, August 4) -- The Olympic Sailing start-off ceremony will take place in the Qingdao Olympic sailing center park starting at 7:00 p.m. on August 9. Officials in charge of planning the event promise that it will be, "the largest, most organized, most artistic, most exciting and most beautiful ceremony ever," as reported by the Qingdao Morning News.
The ceremony is will be made up of three parts: an enactment of "Raising the Sails in Qingdao", a performance of "Love in the Seas" and a brilliant firework display at 10 p.m. to end the ceremony. Some 2,000 actors will participate in the ceremony, along with 20 Qingdao singers.
On Sunday August 3rd, Coen de Koning and Jeroen van Leeuwen won the 2008 Nacra Championships. The flying Dutchmen took the last three bullets on the final racing day. Xander Pols and Tjiddo Veenstra (NED) won silver, followed by Team Boskalis Sascha Larsen and Christa van Helden (NED). Their battle for podium positions was full on, as they were on equal points going into the last race. A fleet of 29 competing teams enjoyed three days of medium to strong wind conditions off the Belgian coast of Duinbergen at the Royal Belgian Sailing Club.
“It was great”, said helmsman Coen de Koning while rigging down their Nacra Infusion. Today, they had a perfect second start on port tack and took the lead by far. De Koning: “Sascha wanted to do the same in the third race and we tried to avoid that by closing the gap, but we hit the pin end and had to take a penalty turn.” Meanwhile, Pols and Veenstra were smoking to the top mark. De Koning and Van Leeuwen went to the left to make up for their loss: “I saw a wind shift to the left and decided to tack earlier to anticipate, which worked out well. Also because many people over stood the mark.” The Dutchmen rounded the upwind buoy in second position and overtook Pols and Veenstra on the second run. De Koning: “We are absolutely happy with our results. This season’s focus was on the F18 Worlds. After winning the title, the pressure was off and it was mentally hard to stay focussed on other events.” According to Jeroen van Leeuwen, they are now aiming for the highest podium finish at the Dutch F18 Nationals in September.
Duinbergen / Belgium, July 31 2008 -- With one day to go, the organization of the 2008 Nacra Championships expects about forty to fifty entries. Twenty-six teams, representing seven countries, signed up so far. The newly crowned F18 World Champions Coen de Koning and Jeroen van Leeuwen (NED) will be present as well. From Friday August 1st until Sunday Augustus 3rd, the catamaran sailors will compete for the Nacra titles in three classes based on the ISAF rating. Racing takes place on the North Sea along the Belgian coast of Duinbergen (Knokke), with the Royal Belgian Sailing Club as host. A maximum of twelve races are scheduled. The weather forecast looks promising with a breeze of 13-17 knots from the southwest.
“I am happy with the process”, said Gunnar Larsen from Nacra Europe. “Our goal is to revive the ‘Nacra feeling’ of the nineties. In those days, you really did not want to miss any Nacra event.” Although it is about the competition on the water, Larsen emphasizes the significance of the pleasure onshore: “We like people to enjoy their time on the beach and on the course. Drinking a beer in the evening is as important as the battle around the cans next day.”
Last week, Dutch Team Zwitserleven Booth/Nieuwenhuis revealed its revolutionary sail for the Olympic competition in China. Because of the expected light winds in Qingdao, the Tornado duo focused on developing a special gennaker. It is a lot flatter and smaller then the regular gennakers used on the Tornado. That allows the team to use this sail upwind in anything under 12 knots, something which is impossible with the traditional gennaker. Mitch Booth and Pim Nieuwenhuis believe that this will give them a big edge over the other competitors in the predominant light breezes of Qingdao.
”This afternoon, we were able to show its potential for the first time”, said helmsman Mitch Booth on Monday evening. After several days of unusual strong winds, today the conditions were perfect for the new sail, 5-10 knots with plenty of chop and current. These are the normal conditions for Qingdao and Mitch Booth commented: “We sailed laps around the other five boats that joined us on the water and I think they will be scratching their heads tonight. We are fully stretched on the wire in 5-7 knots of breeze, while the other crews are still sitting on the hull.” For months Booth and Nieuwenhuis kept their sail secret while developing it with designer Jay Glaser (USA) and sailmaker Ullman Sails Italy. They worked together with the teams from the USA and Puerto Rico to test and develop. No other competitors where allowed near the training facilities to keep the sail secret as long as possible.
It looks like a long-time catamaran regatta normally held at the Lake Charles Yacht Club in Lake Charles, LA has folded it's tents. I was told by a club officer that the regatta was cancelled by the yacht club board last week.
I had called to get a correct date since there were various reports that the regatta would be held the same weekend as the Hobie Midwinters East at Panama City and I was trying to decide which way to go. Now it seems there is no date conflicts on the gulf coast, so all Hobie sailors are free to head to Panama City for a great event.
Gulf Coast catamaran sailors will no doubt miss the Deep South regatta, which was well known for hospitality and a giant crawfish boil on Saturday night. reminisce about past Deep South Regattas in the Event Forum.