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Storms stop Laser World Championships again

by Di Pearson on 9 Feb 2008
Laser Storm Day 3 Bureau of Meteorology http://www.bom.gov.au
More postponements at Laser World Championship being raced off the Australia east coast at Terrigal north of Sydney.

Racing was all set to go ahead on time at the Laser World Championship this morning; breezes were looking to be a stable south-east to south-west at 15-20 knots with a south-east swell of up to 2 metres on seas of 2 to 4 metres.

Although heavy rain periods were expected (and arrived early), isolated thunderstorms were also predicted and one arrived just as the boats started leaving the ramp - jury members came out blowing whistles calling the boats back to their Terrigal base.

Advice from Sydney was that a storm had hit the northern suburbs of Terrey Hills and Avoca and was on its way to Terriga,l along with a 70 degree shift in winds prompting organisers to bring the boats back to shore, more because of the shift than the storm, which is not as severe as predicted.

At 12.30pm, the boats headed out to the course again, officials confident racing will likely get underway after 1.30pm, once winds have stabilized.

“You get used to this, it’s part of our sport,” said Canadian Olympic campaigner Michael Leigh in relation to the cold, rain and storms.

Leigh, one of the top world ranked Laser sailors, did not have a good opening day yesterday. “I guess I got a bit nervous in the first race. I hit the weather mark and had to do a 720 and didn’t recover.

“In the second race, the wind faded on the left side of the course – where I was,” he said.

(90 minutes later the storm is now right over the race course. There is lightning and thunder and torrential rain. Are they racing, well we cant' see, visibility is not good enough at the moment. More soon. Sail-World )

Di Pearson reports an hour later 'We are supposed to be a sub-tropical nation, but here at Terrigal in Australia, it is getting ridiculous as torrential rains and storms continue to undermine the Laser World Championship.

The worst of the water seemed to have dissipated and the 160 competitors from around the globe were sent out to the course area at 12.30pm.

By 2.30pm NSW time, the fleet started to return to The Haven – and a haven it is in this weather, as storms once more lashed the east coast of Australia. “Welcome to sunny Australia,” someone sarcastically yelled as sailors dragged their Lasers up the ramp.

It’s cold and miserable for all concerned. Terrigal is normally a great holiday destination, particularly over the Australian summer – but not this week! Businesses would have to be suffering.

Only Races 1 and 2 have been sailed so far after officials were forced to abandon all racing on the opening day. All will have to sit it out again this afternoon and see whether any racing can be held. The weather radar does not look too welcoming at this stage.

Positive race officials are hoping that at least one of the Robson Civil Projects Races 3 and 4 can be held today.

Racing is set to get underway just after 5.00pm, when it is hoped that at least Race 3 will be completed in the three groups of the 160 boat fleet.

We will keep you posted.

For all information on the Gosford Sailing Club hosted Laser World’s, including mark roundings, photos and more on the Laser World Championship go to: http:⁄⁄aus08.laserinternational.org/

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