ISAF Sailing World Cup Melbourne - A long, cold day ahead

ISAF Sailing World Cup Melbourne 2013
The gales which hit Melbourne yesterday have abated somewhat for the fifth day of the ISAF Sailing World Cup Melbourne.

For those with longer memories, a repeat of the third day looks to be on the weather cards, with moderate winds, a big confused sea, brighter skies and sunshine.

While there will be many picture postcard images from today’s racing, what they won’t show are the temperatures. Which started in the low teens will only warm slightly as the day progresses.

Weather models show some consistency between the race course locations. A breeze which averaged over 20kts around 6.00am is predicted to ease for the rest of the day and is forecasted to get down to as light as 8-9kts average.

In sailing reality, with gusts factored in, the competitors should experience winds in the 10-15kt range for most of the day. At 10.00am one real-time observation point on Port Phillip close to the race venue at Sandringham Yacht Club, was showing winds of 15kt average gusting 18kts.

The sea state is not pleasant, with plenty of white water on the course, a result of yesterday’s strong winds, which continued for most of the night. This will become more pleasant as the breeze drops and the shallow Port Phillip waters flatten out.

Race officials will be playing catch up as best they can with the race schedule.

Most of the classes have completed a minimum series and most have also got to the point of the sailors being able to discard their worst race from their point score.

Those with the most leeway to catch up are the 49er and 49erFX, which have completed only four races. Their racing gets underway at 2.00pm, with an ambitious four races scheduled for today. They were only able to sail one race in the sea conditions that prevailed on Wednesday.

The two Paralympic classes, the SKUD18 and 2.4mR also only have four races sailed to date. They will also attempt to get more races underway at 11.00am today.

The first race session, started at 11.00am, featuring Nacra 17 (four races) and Men’s and Women’s RS:X Windsurfer (three races). At 1.00pm the Laser and Laser Radial are due to sail three races. The rest of the Olympic classes will start racing at 2.00pm with the Men’s and Women’s 470 sailing three races, Finn (three races), 49er and 49erFX (four races).

Racing also gets under way in the remainder of the Sail Melbourne Invited Classes, making for a busy day for race officials from the various partner clubs.

ISAF Sailing World Cup Melbourne website