Strong winds force the 119-boat Melges world championship fleet to stay ashore yesterday 30/8/06

Strong winds on the third day of the Melges 24 World Championship in Hyeres forced the 119 boats from 14 nations to remain firmly tied to the dock yesterday.  The race committee initially announced a postponement until 1600 but the wind increased during the day with a steady 35 knots plus through the afternoon.  Around 1500 the COYCH race committee went afloat to inspect conditions prior to making a decision, however when the deadline came they had no option but to cancel all racing for today.

A change to the sailing instructions has been posted to bring the start of racing forward to 1000 today (originally scheduled for 1100) and the committee also has the option to run three races.  However, the forecast is for more strong winds so the competitors are bracing themselves for another day ashore sampling the delights of the town of Hyeres and the Cote D’Azur.

So far four of the six round robin races to decide the gold and silver fleets have been sailed. Once all six round robin races are sailed the minimum number of races for the championship will also have been completed. The regatta continues until Friday with a total of 12 races scheduled and the race committee have the option to run three races per day if conditions permit.

The overall standings remain as posted last night with DPR Partner & Partners of France, skippered by Philippe Ligot and helmed by Francois Brenac leading by 7 points. Jean Marc Monnard aboard Poizon Rouge from Switzerland and Paolo Cian, helming Sherekhan for Maurizo Cardascio from Southern Italy are both on 20 points with Monnard in second on count back. Chris Rast, helming Blu Moon for Franco Rossini from Switzerland is in fourth on 21 points and the local Euro Voiles Team, owned by Denis Infante and helmed by Christophe Barrue are just two points behind in fifth.  Second to 12th place are separated by only 10 points so the regatta remains wide open at this stage.