ISAF Sailing World Cup Melbourne: Fresh to Frightening for Day 4

Thursday - wild weather day 2013 ISAF Sailing World Cup - Melbourne Sail Melbourne

Fresh breezes look set to prevail for the fourth day of racing at the ISAF Sailing World Cup Melbourne.

As competitors arrived at the Sandringham Yacht Club, they were greeted with a cold handshake from the 20kt southerly breeze.

An eye-flick out on the water showed there were plenty of sheep in the paddock - a piece of sailing idiom indicating that there were plenty of white breaking waves on Port Phillip.

According to Predictwind.com, the forecast for Port Phillip winds is that at 9.00am they would average 20kts and build throughout the day.

Officials on the water, at 9.30am reported winds gusting over 25kts. Forecasts produced by Predictwind.com are average wind strengths only and gusts are usually 5-8kts higher. Factor that into the average speeds and you have reality for the competitors.

The sea state is the critical factor, and yesterday’s seas of 4-6ft were on the top of the range for some classes, the 49er fleets in particular. Sea conditions today are worse, and are not expected to improve.

Winds are expected to increase to as high as a 29kt average later in the afternoon, and racing is not expected to take place today.

Strong winds and advancing weather cells forced the cancellation of racing on Day 4 of ISAF Sailing World Cup Melbourne

Officials have hoisted the postponement ashore for all classes, and they will wait to see if there is a moderation in the conditions.

Had racing started on time, the 49er and 49erFX would have started at 11.00am to sail four races and catch up on their race schedule, after dropping one race because of the sea condition yesterday.

The other classes scheduled for a start at noon, were brought forward an hour, also to 11.00am, however it seems unlikely they will race today.

Despite some very confused weather patterns on Port Phillip over the past two days, Predictwind.com has been accurate in the strength, direction and timing of changes – and that pattern is expected to continue today.

Hurry up and wait, to use another piece of sailing idiom, seems to be order of the day.

Postscript: At 12.20pm today the faced with an increasing breeze and approaching weather cells, organisers decided that discretion was the better part of valour, and signalled that there would be no racing today.

Officials expect racing to continue tomorrow, Friday in 16-18kt southerly winds, easing a little in the afternoon. Their expectation is that fine weather will again prevail on Saturday. All classes have completed a minimum series to constitute a regatta, the objective is to ensure that all classes have sufficient races to be able to have a discard.