Racing abaondoned for Race 5 today.
'The sea was angry today my friend' as George Castanzza of Seinfeld fame would have put it.......
Thursday 15th January 2009
The race committee Chairman Iain Murray and his committee Hugh Leicester, Bill Cromarty, Roger Mathews and PRO Peter Moore, together with the Regatta Chairman and Flying Eleven National President David Price sitting in, held a meeting at 7:45am and studied the weather predictions for today from an unrivalled source, as well as the BOM and local Costal Patrol. It was expected that the breeze would build over the day, expecting 35kts+ around 2pm from the south. At Eden, this is a land breeze.
The Flying Elevens possessed a very well credentialed RC with Iain being past VP in charge of safety and rescue of the eastern seaboard and an unsurpassed sailing experience as chair, Hugh Leicester the past 5 years being 2IC for the Laser Worlds, Bill Cromarty the Tasmanian Flying Eleven President and National Race Committee member for the past 3 years, Roger Mathews the TBYC Commodore with a wealth of local knowledge and experience and of course Peter Moor with a list of achievements and race officer credentials without equal.
The interpretation from all this information was that the breeze would go from a varied swinging 6kts to a steadier 14-18kts by noon. Understandably, much discussion took place and a decision was made to post the AP over 1 at to allow the breeze to establish and enable the course to be set without undue delay for the kids on water. The AP over 1 went up at 8:30am.
By 9:30, the PRO and the TBYC team were having considerable difficulty setting a proper course. The fleet were crossing back and forth witnessing the start boat swing back and forth 30deg every few minutes. The wing mark was also significantly dragging with the TBYC support boat attempting to re-set it in very trying conditions.
By 10:15, we had our first start sequence underway. The wind fluctuating 12-14kts was still swinging 20deg+ but the fleet were raring to go. Inevitably after two general recalls and an incident with a boat hooking up the pin end line 40 seconds before one start, the race got underway at 11am.
As the fleet advanced to the top mark, the swell increased to 2-3 meters and the chop from a very quickly building southerly, the crews found themselves fighting much harder than the preceding races of the regatta as they chomped there way into the conditions on starboard. Once tacking to port, the fleet arguably had one of their most thrilling moments they will ever encounter riding down the face of these waves at breakneck speeds.
Nearly all the fleet tackled the first work from the left. However, 1340 Xlr8 James Vandervoort and Mitchell Webb B16'SC had dived off early to the right and by the top mark, had established themselves as the lead boat with 1368 Cotton On Scott Cotton and Max Vos ASC sliding in from port tack just astern.
"The sea was angry today my friend" as George Castanzza of Seinfeld fame would have put it. The condition were now monumental and the PRO issued the instruction for his top mark boat to immediately fly the blue and white checkers and abandon the race, and get the fleet back to shore.
As the committee boats trawled through the fleet, there were many faces of disappointment but with a clear understanding that it was time to head back to Quarantine Bay, and get on with it asap.
All boats returned safely, including the support boat personnel who looked as though some of them had swum back to shore.
The AP went up after another RC meeting with the observation the wind was abating rather than building as predicted. Unfortunately, by the 2:30pm announced cut-off, the 14-19kts of the last hour was up to 22kts and it appeared the chances of another abandonment was again likely so racing was officially abandoned for the day. Of course, soon after 2:30pm the breeze dropped off, however it continued to swap sides in 30-40deg shifts.
Racing is scheduled to recommence early Friday morning not before 9am.