Saturday, July 19, 2008

China Training Wrap-Up

We’ve just finished our final day of training at Yin Hai Yacht Club in Qingdao, China. This is the end of our last big training session before the Olympic Games! Our boat is loaded into a container, which will be shipped into the Olympic venue on July 22nd. The past two and a half weeks of training have been jam-packed but very successful. Most of the training days delivered the exact conditions we wanted for speed testing, equipment evaluation as well as mock races and starts. We’ve been working hard to get our speed and trim closer to perfect in light wind, lots of chop and current. Our speed downwind continues to be the strongest part of our race. As of today, we have finished selecting our Olympic Games mast, boom, spinnaker, rudder and centerboard. The boat work is finally complete and tweaked just the way we want for light wind.

One thing we have noticed during the past three days is more and more of the green algae popping up. Most of the Chinese military in charge of the clean up cleared out of the area a week ago, when the green goo was almost non-existant. Since they’ve gone, it’s seemed to have a bit of a resurgence. We’ve almost perfected the “less-than-three-second-goo-check” to clear our blades of the nuisance as quickly as possible during a race. If the algae sticks around, it will be crucial during racing to make sure it hasn’t clung to any part of the hull and blades.

We fly back to the USA tomorrow, one day earlier than we planned, for a thrilling event. We’ve been invited to the White House Rose Garden Lunch with President and Mrs. Bush. We are honored to be one of only a handful of Olympic athletes to receive this opportunity and we are ecstatic. After a day in Washington, D.C. we will fly to San Francisco for the US Olympic Team Processing.

This is where all team gear and opening ceremony uniforms are distributed. Following team processing the US Olympic Sailing Team will head to St. Francis Yacht Club for a send off party. Thanks in advance to St. Francis-This will be a fun evening for the whole team! We will then return to the East Coast for a few days off before returning to China on July 31. The final countdown to the Opening Ceremonies is on!

More to come,
Sarah & Amanda