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ISAF Sailing World Championships - Heavy thunderstorms cancel racing

by Dana Paxton on 7 Dec 2011
US Sailing Team - ISAF Sailing World Championships Perth 2011 US Sailing © http://www.ussailing.org
Perth 2011 ISAF Sailing World Championships fourth day of racing was abandoned due to dramatic and uncharacteristic thunderstorms rolling over Fremantle, in Western Australia. The event organizers made the call to cancel all racing for the day due to heavy thunder and lightning strikes, and a forecast that would continue through to the evening.

According to organizers, fleet racing boats had been held in their boat parks for the morning, awaiting news on the postponement of racing. By 13:50 local time, the Race Committee made the decision to call off racing for the day.

The only races completed on day four were in the Women’s Match Racing Group B sailing on Fremantle’s Inner Harbour. 'Team GetSailing' - Genny Tulloch (Houston, Texas/Sausalito, Calif.), Alice Manard Leonard (New Orleans, La./East Haven, Conn.) and Jenn Chamberlin (Washington, D.C.) – were scheduled in the first flight of the day and were narrowly defeated by a team from Australia, skippered by Olivia Price.

'We were behind at one point because we got a penalty on the second windward leg,' explained Tulloch. 'But we burned it on the third upwind and lead around the top mark. We had a nice lead downwind, but she was able to roll us and pass us. It was a tough loss. We would have liked to have sailed more matches.'

Tulloch’s Group B will return to round robin racing on Wednesday morning and the skipper, a two-time U.S. Match Racing champion, is prepared. 'I think we are really happy to go racing because we want to get into the rhythm of racing,' she said. 'We have to mentally stay calm. We have two races, three byes, then three races. We’re excited to have a full day scheduled of racing, but mentally we’ll be ready for anything.'

The Women’s Match Racing fleet was able to get out onto the harbor before the storm approached and enjoyed 17 knots of idea wind. But, by 11:20 local time, Women’s Match Racing was called off when the Race Committee became concerned about approaching lightning and its proximity to the competing Elliott 6m.

For U.S. Sailing Team AlphaGraphics athletes, waiting for sailing - regardless of storms or no wind - is part of the sport. At this level, they have figured out the best way to utilize the unexpected downtime.

Some play cards, some play Angry Birds, and some listen to music to stay in the preparation zone. And some work on the details of running a complex, Olympic campaign.

With U.S. Sailing's Rolex Miami OCR scheduled start on January 23, many athletes at this regatta are coordinating the logistics of shipping their boats, equipment, coach boats and assorted gear to Miami in time for the ISAF Sailing World Cup event. With a tight deadline to get boats to Miami, the talk around the boat parks this morning is shipping times to Miami. As soon as this event is over everything will be packed and headed out.

Fremantle is approximately 12,000 miles from Miami; as far away as you can get without getting closer. Before you know it, it will be time to pack up. Until then, there’s a regatta to complete. As soon as the famous Fremantle Doctor returns from vacation, we can get back to the real business at hand. Winning Worlds, qualifying the USA for the Games and selecting the US Olympic Team.

Racing in the Men’s 470, Laser Radial, Finn and Women’s RS:X classes continues on Wednesday, December 7. The Star, along with Men’s RS:X, Laser, Women’s 470 and 49er, race during the second week of this event.

To follow the live blog from event organizers and link to live tracking, please visit the event website. For class results click here.

For a roster of U.S. Sailing Team AlphaGraphics athletes competing in this event, please click U.S. Sailing Team website
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