Training for Angola

Durban

Optimist Squad Training off Durban over the last 4 days. Perfect Angola type conditions, A special thanks to Shellee Nel for organising, Claire Walker for coaching (my ears are still ringing), and to all the Durban guys for helping make it happen. Roll on African Champs in Oct.

Cal Tomlinson

Qingdao – last day

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Final day today and we headed out a little earlier as we had a protest to attend. Hamilton was protesting one of the Chinese sailors. However the protest was immediately thrown out as he had not informed the bridge of his intention to protest, even though he had informed the sailor and filled in a protest form and handed it to Race Control. Lesson learnt, read your Sailing Instructions.

It was a much better day for the South Africans, with Jared getting good starts off the bridge end in 5 to 6 knots. In the first race Jared cooked on the beat and reached the first mark in 7th which he held to the finish. In the second race he got to the top mark in 8th and held that to the finish as well, a very good performance for the day. The other also did better in some races. Hamilton 28 & 20, Ross 25 & 25, Eurios 19 & 38, Rivaldo 40 & 32. Damita unfortunately got sea sick and finished her first race but was not well enough to finish her second race so we too her to shore.

The final results were Jared 11th, Ross 28th, Hamilton 36th, Eurios 42, RIvaldo 44. The girls results were not posted as yet.

Prize giving and the closing ceremony was at a Hotel an hour away called the Palace and it was huge! The ceremony itself was worthy of the Olympics, let alone a sailing event. They Chinese paid special attention to the visiting teams and Rivaldo was interviewed on TV (Minor Celebrity Status). The sailors all put on their skits and ours was going well until the music froze half way through the performance but it was not a train smash, they loved it anyway. Bev did the gift exchange and received a lovely plaque from the Chinese.

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See you in two days!

Andre

Latest news from China . . .

Qingdao – Day 8

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HI All

Well today was a good but long hard day. The sun was out and the humidity and temperature was down making it quite pleasant here. There was also a good breeze most of the day.

We launched at 10h15 for an 11am start however on the way out the wind died and we had to tow all the boats including the Russian team who we were sharing with. The RO laid the course and started the sequence in around 3 knots of wind. It was a short course and most of our sailors didn’t get a good start. Jared capitalized on the run and made up a few positions and finished 18. Ross 30, Hamilton 34, Rivaldo 38, Eurios 49 and Damita 25 in the girls. Not a good start, our sailors were struggling in the super light winds. At the end of the race the RO put up the AP over H and we towed all the boats back in. As we arrived on shore a nice breeze picked up and half an hour later the RO sent us out again.

The second race was also the short course and the wind was around 5 knots. Jared had a cracker start and held his position to the first mark. He struggled to release his sprit on the reach and lost a place but made it up on the run and finished in 11th. Ross 30th, Hamilton 24, Rivaldo 38th, Eurios 44 and Damita 22.

The RO called for another race even though the wind was fading and the boys got going with Jared getting another great start off the bridge. The wind was now super light and flukey and they all struggled to keep moment. Jared finished in 14th, Hamilton a great 16th, Ross in 35, Rivaldo in 43, Eurios in 33 and Damita in 22.

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It was quite late when we got back to the hotel so a quick shower and dinner. The sailors are all now playing games with the Ozzies and Kiwis.

Final day tomorrow and I must say that as much as I miss home I have really grown to love this place and its people. I asked Rivaldo if he was missing home and he said no ways he just wants to stay here forever 🙂

Andre

Qingdao – Day 7

Well today was certainly interesting, but we got two races in so that was good!

I woke everyone half an hour later so they could get a little more sleep instead of standing around waiting for the bus. We arrived at the Olympic Center in a light rain which was quite refreshing. It was overcast and much cooler than before. After rigging and checking the boats we once again sat around waiting for the wind. We saw “Pallada” leaving harbour so we zipped out to say goodbye. Around 1pm Bev decided to take the sailors to a local Mall with our interpreter and we stayed in contact via cellphone in case racing would start. About an hour later the RO decided to go pricing even through there was still only 3 knots, so I called the sailors and they came running. We were on the start line in plenty of time still with around 3 knots.

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The RO quickly set the course and start line and with 3 knots blowing got the start sequence going. With the current running straight through the line at around 1 knot and a headwind of 3 knots it was very tricky to hold still on the line but all our sailors managed it and we had no OCS under the I flag. Hamilton was the first South African at the top mark followed by Ross and then Jared. They were all middle of the pack. Jared took about 5 to 10 places on the run and the reach. Jared finished 23rd, Ross 33, Hamilton 37, Rivaldo 46 with Eurios just behind him but as he had forgotten to sign out when going on the water. We discussed this with the RO and asked for redress tomorrow. Damita had a good start but on the beat the little Chinese girls flew past her in the light winds. She finished off a credible 19th.

During racing the Jury was relentless with his whistle and sculling and pumping as well as this trick the chines use to scull once when tacking was penalized even though its not legislated yes, however the use the VMG (Velocity Made Good) rule during a tack to penalize them. This is something we need to teach our sailors to do.

The second race started in similar wind but they added a sausage to the previous course for some reason for the boys only. The Sailing Instructions have a 10 minute cutoff after the first finish so 50% of the fleet earned a DNF. I don’t like this as it demotivates the sailors at the back. Jared had a great race and finished 14th, Ross 20th, with the rest of the boys getting a DNF. Damita again struggled against the lighter and also earned a DNF despite getting another good start.

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Both Eurios and Rivaldo got seasick but Eurios managed to finish his race but Rivaldo went in which was not a train smash as with these rules they would have earned a DNF anyway.

We returned to the marina just after 5pm and packed away and took the bus home. Everyone is now watching the Olympics and cheering on Cameron Van Der Berg who just got a second place in his heat.

Andre

Qingdao – Day 6

Hi All

Not much to report on today. Very much a case of hurry up and wait. There was no wind on the course, however there was breeze on land which was quite strange. As a result it was a cooler day. The kids swam a lot and played with the other sailors. They are making life long friends here.

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The RO hung out until 3pm before calling it off then the kids were asked to do their perfomances for the closing ceremony again in country sequence.

We headed home for a dinner and they are all now in one room with a few ozzies and kiwis.

Some useless facts about China:

1) They seldom have stop streets or center lines yet traffic flows smoothly. I still haven’t worked out who has right of way. On the bigger intersection they have traffic light with timers on them telling how long you have to wait.
2) There are no beggers on the street.
3) There is no litter on the street.
4) There is no animosity or aggression to be seen anywhere despite a few horn honkers.
5) There is complete respect here for everyone.
6) For a communist state there is literally no military anywhere.
7) The price of food and goods in China is pretty much the same as South African.
8) The Chinese are fascinated with black people. Its like they have never seen a black person before.

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Ciao for now.

Andre

Qingdao Updates

Team Western Cape – Qingdao Day 5

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Ok so its 10pm and I have flu and feel like death, so excuse the typing errors.

Today we had a sail past where all the sailors sailed their Optimists past a big ship full of signatories. They are working really hard in Qingdao to make it the sailing mecca of the world and I think its working. What an amazing country and city. Communism? Sign me up now! This city could be any city in France or Italy, actually better.

The rain poured down this morning as we made our way to the regatta center and after an hour it subsided and we rigged up. There was a complete lack of communication, so we just followed everyone out into the bay and did what they did. It was quite a good sail and the sailors got some more experience of the conditions. We then returned, derigged and went for lunch. Surprise surprise we had spoons for once instead of chopsticks. Someone must have complained and we think it was the Ozzies.

After lunch we had a fantastic session with an ISAF judge from Malaysia who was on the water for the practice race and he took photos and video and pointed out many things that would be penalized in an actual race. He went through each rule that affected those transgression so even a baby could understand. I even learnt a few new things.

After the rules session we visited the Tall Ship “ Pallada” which was quite surreal. We were guided around by 12 year old who was very definitely in charge of us and rattled off the history and dimensions of the ship. Apparently that have kids as young as 7 starting on board.

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Then off to dinner with the Kiwis and Ozzies. The Restaurant is called “Lennon” and is owned by a Chinese Clipper sailor who has now retired. What a fantastic place in the heart of Qingdao. The sailors all bonding together was really heart warming. This morning on the drive down to the regatta center Damita befriended the little Russian girl called Dasha and you could see Dasha was in her element having another girl to talk to.

Back to the hotel and everyone in bed by 9pm. Trust me, they need it. Serious racing starts tomorrow at 10h30 local time.

Andre

Team Western Cape – Qingdao Day 4

Hi all

Today was a good day, log and hot, but enjoyable. We set off at 08h20 to the Marina and the sailors quickly set up their boats while I fetched the RIB. When I got back I tweaked each sail and checked all knots as the ropes given to us are prone to slipping and fraying. We set off at 10am for the start of the practice race with the Russian and the Chinese Coach also asked to join us. The Russians aren’t a very well oiled machine and I ended up coaching some of their sailors in order to get them to the start on time.

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The start was postponed three times as the wind came and went. There was a very strong current running directly through the start line towards mark one so many of the novices were struggling to keep behind the start line and this resulted in 2 recalls. The black flag came out and off they went. Jared had a great start as did most of the South African Team. At mark one Jared and Ross were neck and neck all the way down to mark three and four where they got tangled up in a huge mess of boats trying to round the mark and forgetting about the current and getting pushed onto each other. Rivaldo scored out of the mess and sailed around everyone. Jared finished 20th, Ross 21st, Rivaldo 22nd and Eurios 41 out of 63. Damita finished 17 out of 32 as she thought she was OCS but wasn’t. We all returned to shore and changed out clothes and headed off for a quick lunch and then a visit to the aquarium. However due to the lateness we missed the dolphin show, but it was still quite and experience.

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After an early dinner we were bussed to the Marina where an incredible stage had been set up. The sailors were marched onto stage as a practice and then seated again as the dignitaries arrived. Once the proceedings started Eurios and Damita went up to represent South Africa. Later we were asked if the 4 other members of our team would go up as well, an honour that only our team was given. Then back to the hotel for a well deserved sleep.

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Tomorrow we are taking the Optimists out on the water for a parade and drone video footage and then back in for lunch, whereafter we will be addressed but some celebrities and then get a chance to visit the yacht Pallada. http://www.globaltimes.cn/content/998647.shtml

Andre

Team Western Cape – Qingdao Day 3

Today was a tough one, I certainly have high respect for any coach travelling to these types of regattas with 5 or more sailors.

The day started out well with a nice breakfast and an air conditioned ride down to the Olympic Sailing Center. Once there we went to collect our boats, but there was some confusion about which boats we would receive, however Bev persisted and we were given 6 boats. However we were give training masts and booms with no ropes on them and a packet of ropes and blocks of various sizes. The blocks too were training blocks and no ratchets. I guess the light winds here means they don’t need them. With no manual included I had to “wing” it and finally managed to work out where each rope went. The Sprit system is a very basic system. We soon had a production line going and sorted out all 6 boats chop chop.

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The heat was intense today, just 40 degrees with incredible humidity. Dripping with sweat we walked down to the Regatta Center for lunch in an airconditioned room thank goodness. There were only chopsticks available, no spoons or forks, so the sailors had great fun in trying to eat rice and stew with them.

At 1pm I collected the RIB and met the sailors at the slip and we headed out to sea. A few local Chinese sailors joined us on board to go and see their team mates practising. The Russians who were supposed to share a coach boat with us had arrived two hours late as they had overslept and had only entered restaurant as we were leaving, so we departed without them. We headed out to the racing area and did some drills in very light airs, probably around 3 to 5 knots which kept coming and going. After 2 hours we headed back in as we were told to return the RIB no later than 15h30 so it could be refueled.

The sailing is going to be challenging in these conditions as the wind is very light and comes and goes and the boat often bob around with the sails flapping going nowhere. It takes a lot of effort to concentrate and keep the sail set correctly and the boat moving forward. We practiced this today and will do more practicing tomorrow.

We were greeted back at the Marina buy a very grumpy Russian Coach, but we said “Hey, you were late” and they said ok ok. All good, but tomorrow on the RIB may be awkward.

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We returned to the hotel for an early dinner and now the sailors are practicing for their show that they have to present at the opening ceremony tomorrow evening.

The schedule for tomorrow is a practice race at 10h30 and then at 13h30 and I believe possible also a visit to the aquarium. Thereafter Bev is attending an opening dinner with the dignitaries and then we all go to the opening ceremony at 19h30.

I think the sailors will sleep well tonight, I know I will!

Andre

Team Western Cape – Qingdao Day 2

Last night we went to a local tiny Chinese restaurant where all the locals go. Language was an issue again with the older folk, but we managed to communicate with the young girl and got what we wanted. Menu’s are a no no in these restaurant, let alone a wine list. The food however was simple yet full of flavor and 5 hungry sailors wolfed down massive bowls of noodles and beef in a broth. After a quick walk back to the hotel everyone went to their rooms. The team from Taiwan joined our team in their rooms and all ended up having arm wrestling competitions on the bed. Lights out at 9pm and there were no complaints about that.

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We slept in late and had the strangest breakfast of my life. Very hard to describe what I was eating most of the times, but I did managed to find toast what was incredibly sweet and a fried egg. Lots of fish and vegetable dishes are the order of the day here. During breakfast we met the New Zealand and Australian team. The New Zealand Coach said the Lions are playing in the final this weekend, good to know, you can see I am not a rugby supporter.

We had a 1 hour video training session in my room with videos of the tracker from the 2012 worlds. I have been trying to teach the sailors what is will be like to start in a fleet of 50 plus boats. I think it sunk home but we will see come race day.

We arranged taxis and along with our interpreters Eric and Albert we headed off to the Buddhist Temple. Traffic was a nightmare as they are working on the underground forcing people to make use of their cars and bus system.

At the temple we saw the first beggars we have seen since arriving which was quite strange. Eric, although a non Buddhist was quite knowledgeable on the religion and told us that around half the country worship Buddha and the other half are basically Atheists. All over the place people were burning long incense sticks and praying, then when finished they would throw the sticks into the fire, so the entire place was full of this scented smoke. We were only allowed into one of the prayer rooms which I assume was reserved for foreigners. They were quite strict about where we could take photos and removing our headgear. I have to admit for a communist state there is very little evidence of this.

Lunch was served at the hotel which consisted of a very basic grilled chicken with rice and some sort of green bean with hash browns. Very tasty.

Bev bravely offered to take the sailors off to the beach in the afternoon to let them experience the waters here, I await her return while I have a power nap.

Bev has returned the and the trip to the beach was diverted to the Marina due to heavy traffic. They all visited the launching area and checked out the boats they will be using and got ice creams. All the sailors are in one room some calling him using whatsapp and some having fun from the sounds of the thumps coming from the room.

We had a Team Leaders meeting at 6pm and met the Russian team leaders Konstantin who is a very pleasant guy, actually thought he was South African at first, and the Coach Svetlana who looks like a bulldog and told me in no uncertain terms that she is driving the boat! I have attached tomorrows schedule to the email.

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Dinner was another interesting one, most dishes were unrecognizable, so the kids went straight for the prawns. I tried a lovely tomato and egg soup then some dumplings and spicy pork in cabbage.

The sailors are running around exchanging caps with the other teams. Bev cleverly brought along a bunch of spare caps to swap. At 8pm we will have another briefing in my room on what to expect tomorrow and what to take down to the water. We will be issued boats, rig them up and then have a light lunch and then go onto the water for free practice with the Russians.

Andre

WC Oppies in China

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6 Western Cape Optimist sailors arrived in China on Monday to participate in the Qingdao International Optimist Training Camp & Regatta. This amazing opportunity has been made possible by the Western Cape Government Department of Cultural Affairs & Sport (DCAS).

Nations competing: New Zealand, Russia, Japan, Singapore, Korea, Australia, South Africa and 10 teams from China. Total of 202 sailors participating.

Team Western Cape:
Rivaldo Arendse (Milnerton Aquatic Club)
Eurios Horne (George Lakes Yacht Club)
Ross MacKinnon (Milnerton Aquatic Club)
Damita Olsson (Milnerton Aquatic Club)
Hamilton Slater (Zeekoe Vlei Yacht Club)
Jared Tyler (Milnerton Aquatic Club)
Bev le Sueur (Vogelvlei Yacht Club) – manager
André Wollheim (Milnerton Aquatic Club) – coach

Departure


The events and sailing schedule:

Schedule

Tuesday 2 August

Here is a quick report on our trip so far.

We left in very high spirits from Cape Town and had a very pleasant flight to Dubai on a Boeing 777. The sailors all watched dozens of movies and played games on the on board entertainment system. A few had never flown before so the take off and landing were priceless to watch their faces. We landed at Dubai late evening and didn’t have time to explore before we took off again for Shanghai, this time on an Airbus A380. Most of us slept during the flight and as we traveled through the time zones and lost 6 hours we were woken up with lunch. We landed in Shanghai and the heat and humidity were very obvious however we were whisked into the air conditioned airport. We collected our bags and then went to find our sails.

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This is where the troubles began as the language barrier was an issue. English is now compulsory in schools in China now but most of the adults don’t understand a word. Bev went off to the baggage enquiries while we waited by the oversized baggage and the kids played a variety of soccer and rugby for about two hours. Finally they gave us a form and said they would send the sails to Qingdao when found. We went through and found a Chinese restaurant and had a wonderful authentic Chinese meal. We then went to the gate for our next flight only to find it delayed. They could not give us a reason for the delay or a time that it would take off and other flights for Qingdao were taking off. After a discussion with our contact in Qingdao we were reassured that this was perfectly normal for China. After a 5 hour delay we boarded a small airbus and it appears the Captain put on the Turbo as our 1 hour 40 minute flight became 45 minutes.

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We were met at the airport in the early hours of the morning by a delegation of Chinese led by Meng (pronounced Mung) and had a 40 minute drive to the hotel where we were checked in. The rooms are first class and the air conditioning a welcome relief. Qingdao is a huge city and makes Cape Town look tiny. Massive apartment blocks everywhere with beautiful gardens in between. Our hotel is in the “new” district of Qingdao built around 20 to 30 years ago as part of a planned expansion. Bev and Damita decided to go explore while myself and the boys had a shower and hit the bed around 6am.

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We all woke up at 12 and headed down for a lunch of KFC burgers and chips. We were assigned two 17 year old local high school boys as our guides and they showed us the way down to the Olympic Sailing Center. They were both quite knowledgeable about the Olympic Village and gave us a brief history. We were then shown the sailing area where we would sail from and the Optimists we would be using. The sea was very flat and calm with a mild ten knot easterly blowing across the bay. The boys were full of questions about the local sailing here. As we were walking back we passed around 20 local young children dressed in sailing gear heading for a sailing lesson. We headed back to the hotel for another shower and some relaxing time. We will be going to a local Chinese restaurant later for some local cuisine.

André Wollheim – Team Coach

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