QINGDAO: Qingdao's clear weather and brisk winds ensured smooth sailing competition over the past three days as spectators in the harbor cheered sailors from all over the world.
Thousands of fans have lined the 534m-long spectator breakwater at Qingdao Olympic Sailing Center since the competition opened on Aug 9.
"This is our first time in Qingdao and we came here to see our daughter's performance. We like the sea here very much," said an Italian couple surnamed Conti, whose daughter Guilia Conti is teamed with Giovanna Micol in the women's 470 class.
Eighty-two-year-old Zhang Shunlan came to Qingdao with her family.
"The Olympics is a grand event and I am thrilled to watch the sailing competition in Qingdao," she told China Daily.
"China did a great job to construct such a long breakwater, which allows spectators get so close to the sailing competition. I love sailing and used to have a boat myself," said David Miller, an American who has been working in Qingdao for eight years.
"This is the first time in history for the public to watch from such a vantage point. It can accommodate 8,000 to 10,000 spectators," noted Sun Lijie, vice-chairperson and general secretary of Qingdao Olympic Sailing Committee. Finals will start on Aug 16, which falls on the weekend, so more locals are expected to rush to buy tickets.
Altogether 60,000 tickets will be available for watching the competition. More than 50,000 were sold by Aug 9.
Visitors are also watching the races from six ships that can hold 640 spectators every day, all of 8,000 tickets for which have been sold.
The ships set out to sea from 12:45 every day. Many spectators on the ships are well equipped, holding telescopes, cameras, sunglasses and sunscreen.
Local resident Chen Tianqi bought a telescope to watch from a ship.
"It is very exciting for me to see how the athletes are competing so clearly," he said after disembarking.
People can also watch the races from May 4th Square and Music Square, both near the competition venue. "I do hope my son can remember the Olympics and the sailing competition," Song Zhengqiao, a Qingdao resident, told China Daily, as he held his 1-year-old son in his arms. "The sailing event is fantastic. We hope our national team can win some medals and I also give my best wishes to China," said Anna Surnakova from Russia.