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SailGP: Media Conference from Christchurch - Slingsby not happy at Practice cancellation

by Richard Gladwell/ 16 Mar 14:57 PDT 17 March 2023
A general view inside the Adrenaline Lounge speak to the media during a pre-event press conference ahead of the ITM New Zealand Sail Grand Prix © David Gray/SailGP

The Media Conference from the Christchurch round of SailGP took place Friday morning at Lyttleton, the venue for the regatta.

Today's Practice Racing was cancelled yesterday on the basis of an adverse weather forecast, and that decision attracted some adverse comment at the media conference from Australia's Tom Slingsby. The top skipper on the Season 3 leaderboard had only recently arrived from training with the American Magic team in Pensacola, Florida - where earlier in the week he was sailing an AC-40, and had planned on getting in a day's practice racing before the two day regatta.

Overnight wind gusted to over 40kts, before easing back to a more manageable 9-10kts while the media conference was underway. However the breeze is from the NW to N in direction, which a very unpredictable condition in that part of the South Island. The race area is surrounded by the craggy Port Hills, which can accentuate any variation in the breeze, which is forecast to increase again this afternoon. Fresh, but sailable conditions are predicted for the opening day on Saturday.

An hour after the conclusion of the Media Conference, an "Orange" strong wind warning for the province, Canterbury, was issued by the NZ MetService, warning of severe N-NW gales with gusts of up top 120kph (65kts). The warning is one of several issued for regions in in the lower half of New Zealand. ["Red" is the strongest level of warning.]

The media conference was conducted by Jesse Tuke, brother of NZ sailor, Blair Tuke. An experienced broadcaster Jesse was one of the commentators on the 2021 America's Cup in Auckland and also the 2019 Olympic Class World Championships in Auckland.

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