by Di Pearson
Laser Worlds 2008 - Lasers wait under a darkening sky
First the Start boat broke free from its mooring and was beached. Then, the first day of racing at the Laser World Championship, being sailed off Terrigal, Australia, was abandoned at 3.30pm with reports of more thunderstorms on the way up from Sydney. On the premise that things can only get better, officials will attempt to sail races 1 and 2 tomorrow.
Earlier in the week the start vessel for the championship broke its moorings in big winds and seas off The Haven at Terrigal, in the late hours of the evening and washed up on the beach. On loan from the Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club on Sydney’s Northern Beaches, the motor boat was swamped by waves was on the beach semi-submerged throughout the night and the following morning before it could be recovered.
With the boat back in action, racing was due to start earlier today with the Australian Laser Dealers Qualifier Races 1 and 2, but they were postponed due to extremely light shifty breezes. Then organizers sent the 160 competitors from 56 nations on the water, only to have them return when severe south-easterly winds and a thunderstorm arrived.
Sailors waited patiently ashore and just when the thunder, lightning and rain appeared to have dissipated, weather forecasters said another severe thunderstorm had hit Bankstown in Sydney and was headed north, expected to hit Terrigal along the way.
The situation gave organisers no alternative but to abandon racing for the day at around 3.30pm, as apart from the high winds, a lightning strike could prove fatal.
Race officials hope the weather will improve tomorrow when they plan to sail Races 1 and 2. From there, a decision will be made as to whether any extra races will be sailed to make up for the loss of one day's racing.
Sailors packed their boats quickly and departed The Haven at Terrigal on the NSW Central Coast quickly.
Waiting in the boatpark
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/