Expected storms force postponement of Rolex Fastnet Race 11/8/07

Race organiser have made a decision to postpone the start of the Rolex Fastnet Race start for 25 hours.

At a skippers’ briefing held at Cowes Yacht Haven at 1600 today, the RORC’s Racing Manager Janet Grosvenor made the announcement that in light of the severe weather that is expected over the next few days the race will now start at 1100 on Monday 13 August.

Chris Tibbs, professional meteorologist and weather router who’s been studying the progress of the frontal systems over the last week or so said that it’s a dynamic situation, commenting: “There is a cold front passing through tomorrow bringing fresh south-westerly winds but it’s the deepening low pressure system after that that’s most concerning. By Tuesday there’s likely to be 40kts of wind with gusts a third as much again at Land’s End on Tuesday. At this stage we have no confidence in knowing where this front is going to pass. Basically the chances of gale force winds reaching Force 8-9 and stronger is fairly high if the low continues to deepen. By Wednesday the wind will start to decrease but there will still be a strong north-north-westerly wind.”

According to Andrew McIrvine – Vice Commodore RORC – although the postponement won’t prevent low hitting the fleet, the delay will effectively keep the fleet back a bit in the relatively safer area of the south coast of England. If there are problems at least there will be more options to return to the safety of land; not an option they’ll have once they pass Land’s End.

Although there are competitors, those in some of the faster boats, who would like to see the race go ahead as scheduled, the general feeling at this afternoon’s briefing was relief, particularly those who’ve spent the week racing at Skandia Cowes Week.