Postponement forced by bad weather at Etchells worlds allows Graham Bailey and team to complete repairs to damaged hull 25/6/07

The breezy conditions on the Solent this morning has led to an indefinite postponement at the opening race at the Etchells world championship. At 1000 this morning with winds gusting nearly 30kts combined with rough wind over tide conditions the race officer Tony Lovell and committee wisely ordered the fleet to stay ashore.

For one team – Graham Bailey, Stephen Bailey and David Heritage who’ve been working throughout the night to repair the damage to the hull of their boat Abitrator (see previous news story here) – the news of an indefinite postponement came as music to their ears. Chatting from Cowes this morning jubilant Graham Bailey told yachting world: “It’s really looking good for us at the moment, the boat’s in the shed, the heat’s on it and we’re just waiting for the repair job to cure before it’s sprayed over. If all goes well the boat should be ready for launching by 1500.”

According to Bailey they were very lucky not to have lost the boat yesterday. Apparently Peter Morton who was helping with the recovery of the boat yesterday said: “take your sails off lads, she’s going down.” Fortunately with constant pumping the team managed to get her back to shore under tow. Bailey added: “Yes it was pretty bad but the aft bulkhead held out which was the only thing that kept her up. Knowing that she could go down at any point, we towed her back to shore over shallow water.”

The weather (at 1130) remains windy with gusts of 35kts being recorded off Brambles Bank which means that unless things improve dramatically over the next few hours, the hopes for Bailey and team making the first race are looking more and more positive.

… Update at 1200

The race committee announced that all racing for the day at the Etchells Worlds has been cancelled. The wind has been gusting over 30 knots regularly through the morning and the forecast is for winds of up to Gale Force 8 this afternoon.