|MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA-(11-1-2005) Racing in all classes was abandoned at Sail Melbourne today due to high winds that at times gusted up to 30 knots and blew a consistent at 27 knots by mid afternoon on Port Phillip Bay.
Sandringham Yacht Club, conducting the Olympic & Invited Classes regatta of Sail Melbourne, took on a carnival like atmosphere, as close to 200 sailors, along with coaches and others waited on shore to see if conditions would abate.
Yesterday, weather officials predicted hight winds and a hot day – they got it right.
This morning around 7.30am, winds were already 16 knots and steadily increased throughout the day. Officials were kept on their toes measuring wind on the various courses.
‘It’s alright for the older more experienced sailors, but not so good for the younger ones here – and there are lots of younger ones trying out at their first Grade 1 event’, commented Victor Kovalenko, the Head Coach for Yachting Australia.
Kevin Wilson, Principal Race Officer for the event, spent most of his day checking wind pressure, wanting the sailors to have a day on the water, but at the same time not wanting to send them out in unmanageable conditions.
High winds won in the end; Wilson called it off and the many sailors from Australia and overseas made other plans on an unusual day off, which did not include water activities.
Sail Melbourne, which started on December 27 with other titles around the various clubs, has suffered from unseasonal weather throughout the regatta to-date, but foreseeing what today would bring, race officials added an extra race to the schedule yesterday in all but the Mistral Sailboard class, so that racing is actually only one race in arrears.
Tomorrow looks more user friendly with 20-24 knots predicted on the Bay and officials hope to add an extra race in which will put their race schedule back on target.