Punta Ala – While the forecast indicated that it might be sailable, the opening day of this 11th RC44 World Championship was blown out with the northerly winds off Scarlino, Italy regularly reaching the high 20s and gusting into the high 30s. After a wait out on the water the race committee sent the boats back to the Marina di Scarlino to see if conditions would abate and when instead the wind built, soon after 1400 racing was abandoned for the day.
44Cup Principle Race Office Maria Torrijo explained: “We knew the forecast was for strong wind, but we didn’t expect it to be SO strong – we were expecting a maximum of 22-23 knots, but we had gusts up to 39. The average wind was very high as well – there was no way we could start a race. It was not even marginal.”
America’s Cup winning helmsman American Ed Baird, tactician on John Bassadone’s Peninsula Racing, was in no doubt about the PRO’s decisions: “When we left the dock we had 15 knots-ish; by the time we got sails up and got moving it was in the low 20s and we went for a little sail around the race track but then the low 20s became the bottom of the wind and the top was around 30. And it increased from there. It was just too windy for these boats…”
Even with no racing, the crews took their nimble RC44s hooning up and down the race track, causing broad grins all round.
Tomorrow the forecast is for marginally lighter conditions and to capture the most sailable part of the day, racing will commence two hours earlier, ie at 1000 CEST.