A look at the 2008 Olympics venue: Australian David Kellett has a major role in making the Beijing Olympic Games sailing Regatta a success in 2008.
With a population of around 8 million for the city and province, Qingdao is in a large bay that faces south into the Yellow Sea from the large peninsula called "The Thumb of China".
Kellett, a past commodore of the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia and currently chairman of Yachting Australia's Offshore Committee, was a member of the initial bid inspection by' ISAF in 2000. Since then he has been to Qingdao several times, including last year's test regatta at the sailing venue, and twice this year to assess progress and for discussions with Chinese Olympic officials.
He will be back in August for the official pre-Olympic Regatta, along with Jerome Pels, ISAF's director of sailing, a staff position, and a team of race officials and measurers.
"This will be a full dress rehearsal fort the Beijing Olympic Games sailing events, at the Games venue and on the course areas designated for August 2008," Kellett told Offshore Yachting.
"The Chinese organisers have done an outstanding job in creating a venue well ahead of their deadline for sailing at Qingdao front what was originally, a shipyard about the same size as Garden Island on Sydney Harbour.
"They have built a large breakwater that encloses an extensive marina for keelboats and official craft, installed launching cranes, and have large launching ramps in front of the boar park.
"We expect 400 athletes from 70 nations to contest the 11 sailing classes, with the Olympic Village for the athletes within walking distance of the boat park.
"It's a fabulous set-up, everything within a security, complex, with the media centre located in what will in the future be a yacht club out near the breakwater overlooking the course areas and with improved access to the athletes after the racing.
"Significantly, ISAF has achieved a wonderful legacy' for sailing in China as they have built a National Sailing Centre, which includes dormitory accommodation, for future use.
"For the Olympics this will be the administrative centre and there is also an hotel on site. Ultimately there will be a 500-berth marina as well as a huge boat park," Kellett added.
Of the sailing conditions, Kellett was not quite as positive, admitting that conditions in this area off" the northern Chinese coast could prove testing for competitors and race management. There will be five courses, ranging from half a mile to five nautical miles offshore. "That's similar to Athens," he said.
"The summer sea breeze is a sou'easter and when it comes in it is fairly consistent, with rather choppy waters and a tidal range of four metres," the ISAF vice president explained.
"Last year (for the test regatta) we had 8 to 10 knots, sometimes lighter on which we probably should ,tot have had races, then two days of 15 knots and one day of 25 knots.
"I likened the sailing to that on The Solent in England--some days the conditions are terrific, other day's quite difficult in coping with light winds and a big tide. Most days will be hot and humid."
In addition to David Kellett and Jerome Pels, there will be an ISAF team of 60 officials, race committee members and measurers, along with 120 Chinese National Yachting officials involved in the administration and running of the sailing regatta of the Beijing Olympic Games.
"The venue is fantastic, the co-operation of the Chinese sailing officials and those involved in the construction of the facilities has been excellent," Kellett added.
"Although we may have had some problems with wind and tidal conditions our on the sailing courses, I am sure we will work our way through the pre-Olympics and the Olympics and provide the athletes with a fair and competitive regatta," he forecast.
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|Date:||Jun 1, 2007|
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