Audi Hamilton Island Race Week forecast and course changes

Audi Hamilton Island Race Week 2012 - FOG
A slow moving high pressure system continues to provide unusual weather including fog, high 91% humidity, shifty light winds and calm seas, which means the Audi Hamilton Island Race Week fleet is likely to experience a repeat of yesterday.

There’s been a change in the program for the Audi IRC Australian championship fleet vying for a brand new North Sails Code 2 spinnaker emblazoned with the Audi IRC Australian Championship logo for each divisional winner.

Rather than an islands course, regatta director Denis Thompson and his team have posted a change of schedule with the IRC classes now racing windward/leewards starting on the eastern course area.

‘It’s all about fair racing and given today’s going to be light and shifty we feel we have more control over a windward/leeward course. We can decide where and when to start them.’

Regatta forecaster Kenn Batt warns of another trying day and explains how a sea fog develops: ‘Expect low cloud cover over the islands this morning and possible sea fog areas caused by the dew point temperature at the airport being virtually the same as the sea water temperature.

‘The fog bank may delay the wind speed increasing to an acceptable speed range to race in and may also delay any left trend,’ said Batt.

‘Again the three biggest questions today will be 1. Will there be enough wind to race? 2. If enough wind, how far will the direction trend east during your race period? And 3. If so how quickly will this occur?

‘The ACCESS model is essentially telling us that today should be very similar to yesterday,’ adds Batt.

A peak gust of 11 knots and a temperature of 20.7 degrees recorded at the Hamilton Island airport overnight suggest there is little chance of a cool change and stronger winds.

Kenn Batt Update:

Latest Aerodrome forecast for the Island is

15007KT 9999 BKN005 (From 0900hr till midday wind 150deg at 7kn (ave) visibility >10km (ave) with broken low cloud at 500ft base)
FM240200 12008KT 9999 BKN015 (from midday till 1800hr wind 120deg at 08kn (ave) visibility >10km broken low cloud at 1500ft base
FM240800 12008KT 9999 BKN010 (from 1800hr wind 120deg at 8kn (ave) visibility >10km (ave) broken low cloud with a 1000ft base)
PROB30 2323/2402 0500 FG [30% chance of sea fog between 0900hr and midday reducing visibility to 500m (ave)]
PROB40 2408/2412 0500 FG [40% chance of sea fog between 1800hr and 2200hr reducing visibility to 500m (ave)]

A very good TAF given the current overall meteorological conditions and the recent weather history for the area.

Currently surface winds are:

Island: 140deg at 7kn (ave)
Hardy Reef: 110deg at 7kn (ave)

On the adjacent mainland coast, winds are somewhere between 160-120deg at around 2-6kn (ave)

I’m afraid that conditions will be very similar to yesterday.