The Race Committee of the Royal Ocean Racing Club have taken the decision to postpone the start of the 1800nm Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race 2014 by 21 hours. The new start time will be 0900 on the 11th August 2014.
The Sultanate of Oman's MOD70 Musandam-Oman Sail gearing up for the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race - Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race 2014
The Race Committee took this decision after receiving advice that the low pressure system known as Bertha is moving more slowly than previously predicted, with the result that the forecast winds for the start and the immediate period afterwards includes sustained winds of 40 knots with gusts in excess of 50 knots in the English Channel.
The advice is that this delay will allow time for the severe winds to abate as the low pressure system moves North East.
Sidney Gavignet, French skipper of the MOD70 Musandam-Oman Sail project that is focussed on creating a generation of sailors from the Sultanate of Oman, fully supported the decision. With a 50/50 crew mix of highly experienced offshore professionals and less-experienced Omani crewmates onboard, safety is paramount and the extreme speed of the trimaran would have put the team in 45 knots for 30 hours shortly after the start – as explained by Gavignet:
'Had we started today, given the speed of the trimaran, very soon after the start we would have had more than 35knots and during the night 40knots and from Sunday night until Monday evening we would have moved with the low pressure in the centre of the North Sea which would mean that we would have had constant 40-45knots.
'Considering the risks – the boat and the people – and the fact that we are a team of mixed ability with some very experienced crew and some semi-experienced guys who are still learning the boat, we fully support the decision to postpone the race start to Monday morning.
'Looking at the weather tomorrow morning, the low pressure will decrease in terms of intensity. We will still have a chance at a very good lap, still very close to the course record but with between 15 and 35 knots which is much more manageable.'
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