With gusts of 30 knots on the race course, racing yesterday was cancelled
“On the edge, then over it.” This was Extreme Sailing Series Race Director Phil Lawrence’s description of conditions in Nice today that resulted in the cancellation of the first day’s racing.
The forecast for today was 14 to 17 knots but the French Riviera over delivered, where the wind was blowing a steady 25 knots, with gusts of 30 knots throughout the day. That combined with a strong tide and rolling waves meant lots of bow down, hull flying action as the 8 Extreme 40s battled the elements to keep their 40ft catamarans upright.
Shortly after the fleet left the dock, Race Director Phil Lawrence made the call to postpone racing by one hour but the strong wind conditions showed no sign of abating, eventually resulting in the cancellation at 1530 local time – only the second time in the six year history of the Extreme Sailing Series that weather conditions has led to a race cancellation, the last being in Cowes, UK in 2011.
Phil Lawrence explained: “When we arrived on site there was already 20 knots of wind and building fast with large waves rolling through the course. As we were about to start racing, the wind jumped up to 25 to 30 knots with two metre breaking waves, so we postponed and sent the fleet back to the dock. Several boats sustained minor damage in the boat breaking waves, as they sailed in. When we made the final call to abandon racing for the day, the wind was a constant 29 knots with large gusts and the sea state was still worsening. We have added additional morning sessions on Saturday and Sunday to get the racing back on schedule.”
“This is some of the windiest conditions we have sailed in but the biggest problem was the waves,” said SAP Extreme Sailing Team’s Danish skipper Jes Gram-Hansen on coming ashore. “They were pretty big and that made it quite scary to do the bear-aways so it was the right decision to cancel the racing. These boats are difficult to sail and capsizing is a part of the game but we are ready and looking forward to tomorrow.”
For more visit www.extremesailingseries.com.
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