Grundig Xena, Sean Langman’s Open 60, is on hold again, this time there’s too much wind to begin their assault on the 24-hour world monohull distance record

A savage storm off Sydney has forced the organisers of the Sydney to Gold Coast yacht race to postpone the start until tomorrow. As a result the bid by Sean Langman and the crew of the Open 60 Grundig Xena to set a new world mark for a 24-hour run under sail has gone on hold until then.

Race organisers at the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia in Sydney said this morning that a forecast for a storm with winds gusting to 60 knots and seas up to 15 metres left no option but to postpone the start of the 380-mile coastal dash until 1000 Sunday. It is the first time in its 57-year history that the club, which also hosts the Sydney to Hobart race, has been forced to postpone the start of a major offshore event because of bad weather.

Meteorologists advised club officials this morning that the low pressure system that had formed off the coast north of Sydney overnight was continuing to intensify. They had issued a storm warning for waters south of Seal Rocks, which is about one-third of the way to the Gold Coast.

“We’ve had the record attempt on hold for more than two months because there has not be enough wind and now, when we’re ready to go, there’s too much,” said Langman. “But we can’t complain. The conditions out there are quite dangerous and the club has to take everyone’s safety into consideration. The good news is that forecast indicates the conditions will still suit a record attempt tomorrow.”

Given strong running and reaching conditions it’s possible that the first yachts will reach the Gold Coast in less than 20 hours. That would eclipse more than seven hours from the race record. As well as going after the race record Langman hopes that the weather will hold so that he can continue on from the finish and go after the world record distance of 467.7 miles in 24 hours.