Day 2 of Sail Auckland started with the postponement flag hanging from the official regatta flagpole but at 1100 hours it was lowered, as there was a faint breath of air filling in on the Oceanbridge Sail Auckland race courses. A light northwest breeze came in and was eventually good enough for the race committee to start laying courses.
Charlie course (double handed and skiffs) got one race under their belt but were forced to abandon the second race of the day due to a 180-degree shift when a significant thunder and lightning storm hit the race areas. Torrential rain plummeted from the sky for 10 minutes and a squall cut through the fleet. It was over pretty quickly, but with its demise, the wind also vanished.
The officials on Bravo course (single handed classes) were struggling to lay a course in the oscillating conditions, and by 1400 hours still hadn’t managed to start a race.
On the Alpha course (Paralympic and RS:X), the RS:X fleet completed one race before the weather front came through however the Paralympics classes were unable to complete a race. The Kite boards were still waiting to get anything underway in a day that proved to be quite frustrating.
Late in the afternoon and with races still getting underway, Regatta Director Simon Manning commented that it had been a difficult day to be a Race Officer.
“As the storm came through Ian Clouston (Principal Race Officer) and I were in constant touch with the race management teams out on the water to ensure the safety of their people and the sailors. Ideally it would have been good to get everyone back onto shore at the club but we also had terrible conditions here so we had little choice but to advise the fleets to stay well away,” said Manning. “Each of the RO's faced different challenges but they all managed the situation very well.
“For the sailors it will have been a difficult day but in fact the past few hours since the storm went through have seen some settled conditions and good racing,” continued Manning.
Olympic Gold Medallist Jo Aleh, racing the 470 with Abby Goodwin came ashore saturated.
“Oh golly gosh the rain!” laughed Aleh after she had finally dried off. [Quote may have been altered slightly so as not to offend!]
Aleh, whose gold medal winning crew Polly Powrie was unable to race today, had consistent seconds across all three races with substitute crew Goodwin.
The only real drama was serious damage to Peter Lester's new OK Dinghy from catching his rudder on a submerged rock while sheltering near Rangitoto Island and he had to be towed in.
“I’m a bit disappointed!” said Lester when he returned to shore, “but that’s yachting!”.
The race committee intends to run an extra race on each course tomorrow, Saturday 28 February. The Flying 15 fleet will join the line-up from tomorrow as well.
For more information please visit the website www.sailauckland.org.nz.
– Sail Auckland Media