'Not normally like this...'
The Race Committee at the Perth 2011 ISAF Sailing World Championships abandoned all racing at 1350 local time today following a morning of loud thunder, lightning and sometimes heavy rain.
The forecast of electrical storms and gale force gusts, continuing through to evening kept the fleet sailors killing time in the boat parks hoping for an afternoon's start.
Despite looming dark skies, the Women's Match Racing kicked off on Fremantle's inner harbour at 1000 local time. The first match was one postponed from Sunday. On this occasion easterlies gusting up to 17 knots greeted the two Spanish crews for Tuesday's first flight. A change in the official race results later in the day gave the match to Silvia Roca and her crew instead of Tamara Echegoyen, as first posted in results.
Mandy Mulder and her crew won the second match by a very convincing 37 seconds against Peru's Tani Zimmermann Villanueva-Meyer.
In contrast, there was an exciting finish for Olivia Price when her team beat American Genny Tulloch by just one second.
The Race Committee had hoped that all fleet races would start at the earlier local time of 12 noon today. However this did not come to pass. The delayed races will be held on either Thursday or Friday which are nominated lay days, according to each class.
"Safety was the ultimate concern today," said Competition Manager Skip Lissiman. "The electrical storms posed too big a danger to sailors on the water."
The Skandia Team GBR trio of Lucy Macgregor, Annie Lush and Kate Macgregor had been due to resume their world title defence in the round robin stage of the women’s match racing today, but remained confined to shore due to the conditions.
“So far we’ve averaged 15 minutes’ racing a day since the start of the regatta which is a bit frustrating and means we have a lot more racing still to do,” explained Lush. “We still have plenty of time though, so it’s the right call and is good to keep the racing fair and safe.”