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Olympic windsurfers depart for China

Date Released: 7 August 2007
From: Jodie Bakewell-White

Olympic Sailors depart for China

A team of nine New Zealand Olympic sailors are on their way to Qingdao, China for the start of the 2007 Qingdao International Regatta known as the Pre-Olympics. Racing starts just over one week from now on Wednesday 15 August and is scheduled to conclude nine days following that.

For the kiwis this is a ‘dress rehearsal’ for the 2008 Olympic Games giving them the opportunity to experience the venue and sample the conditions under which the New Zealand team will sail in August next year.

The New Zealand team for the 2007 Qingdao International Regatta is made up of nine sailors competing in seven classes. The team includes…

Barbara Kendall – RS:X Women’s windsurfer
Tom Ashley – RS:X Men’s windsurfer
Jo Aleh – Laser Radial, Women’s one-person dinghy
Andrew Murdoch – Laser, Men’s one-person dinghy
Dan Slater – Finn, Heavy-weight dinghy
Hamish Pepper & Carl Williams – Star, Men’s Keelboat
Carl Evans & Peter Burling – 470 Men’s two-person dinghy

Four of these sailors have already been nominated to NZOC by Yachting New Zealand for inclusion in the 2008 New Zealand Olympic Team. They include Barbara Kendall, Jo Aleh, Andrew Murdoch and Dan Slater. Early nomination allows the sailors longer to prepare themselves for their ultimate goal of Olympic medals.

New Zealand has already earned a place in eight of the eleven Olympic classes for next year’s Olympic Games. With four nominations already made, more nominations to NZOC are likely following the selectors’ appraisal of key events to come in remaining classes.

Conditions in Qingdao are expected to pose a specific set of challenges with generally light winds, hazy skylines and a maze of currents to contend with. Significant work is being done by the New Zealand support team to best understand the nuances of the venue, and the test event starting next week will be significant in preparations for the 2008 Olympic Games.

About the New Zealand Team

Barbara Kendall – RS:X Women’s windsurfer
The four-time Olympian with three Olympic medals and numerous world titles to her name is on track for her fifth Olympic Games. In 2007 she has already won World Championship silver in Portugal, placed fourth in the European Championships and won the ISAF Grade 1 Princess Sofia regatta in Spain. Kendall turns 40 at the end of this month.

Tom Ashley – RS:X Men’s windsurfer
The 23 year old from Auckland, who finished 10th in the Mistral windsurfer class at the Athens Olympics, has adapted well to the new Olympic board - the Neil Pryde RS:X. This year he has won Semaine Olympique Francaise in France, Princess Sofia in Spain and the RS:X South American Championships.

Jo Aleh – Laser Radial
Aleh has three major medals under her belt in 2007 with a win at Kiel Week, Germany, silver at Semaine Olympique Francaise in France and bronze at Princess Sofia in Spain. Aleh is 21 years old.

Andrew Murdoch – Laser
Murdoch, from Kerikeri, Northland recently won World Championship silver in Portugal in a large and competitive Laser fleet. The 23 year old also medalled at Princess Sofia and at Semaine Olympique Francaise this year, where he finished 2nd and 3rd respectively.

Dan Slater – Finn
Slater, from Auckland has had a packed international season in 2007 in the Finn. Kiel Week, Holland Regatta and Semaine Olympique Francaise returned his best results with a 3rd a 1st and another 3rd. Slater is 30 years old.

Hamish Pepper & Carl Williams – Star
World Champions in the rookie year in 2006, the pair were 4th at this year’s World Champs in Portugal. It was the first time back in the Star together due Williams Americas Cup commitments; however Pepper has been on solid form throughout the year competing within fill-in crew. Pepper is 36 and Williams is 25 years.

Carl Evans & Peter Burling – 470 Men’s
Late additions to the team, the young pair are both just 16 years old. Graduating only months ago from the 420 class having won back to back world titles, Evans and Burling have shown potential in the Olympic 470 class already. A 6th place at the 470 European Champs prompted their inclusion in the team to sail in Qingdao.

About Qingdao

Qingdao is an eastern Chinese coastal city in the Shandong Province. It has a northern temperate zone monsoon climate and is located 690km to the east of Beijing.

The competition area is in the Jiangquan Bay, Fushan Bay and outside of Damai Island. There will be five course areas each with a diameter of one nautical mile.

The Programme

12 August – Opening Ceremony
14 August – Practice Race
15–23 August – Racing
24 August – Reserve Day & Closing Ceremony

The Event

* 11 races are scheduled for each event (class).
* Of the 11 races, 10 are scheduled as opening races and one as the medal race.
* The ten boats ranked highest in the opening series will be assigned to compete in the medal race.
* The scheduled time of the warning signal for the first race each day is 1pm.
* The courses and competition format will be as similar as possible to those of the Olympic regatta.
* More details can be found on the event website.

Scoring Overview

* When fewer than five opening races have been completed, a boat’s series score will be the total of her race scores.
* When five or more opening races have been completed, a boat’s series score will be the total of her race scores excluding her worst score. However, the score from the medal race will not be excluded.
* For the medal race, points are doubled.
* More details can be found on the event website.

Daily reports will be issued by Yachting New Zealand during racing in Qingdao. Reports will also be available on www.yachtingnz.org.nz

For more information contact

Jodie Bakewell-White
Communications & Events Manager
Tel: (09) 361 4023
Mobile: 0292 008 492

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