Faced with forecasts of strong southwesterly winds, organisers cancelled day four of Louis Vuitton Trophy racing in Auckland today. The decision was made on Thursday night.
In the Viaduct Basin, flags and banners for the Auckland International Boat Show snapped and fluttered in the gusty early morning breeze as exhibitors checked the security of their signs, displays and tents. Winds were expected to increase in the afternoon. Today’s forecast called for winds ranging from 20-30 knots.
Principal Race Officer Peter 'Luigi' Reggio said it was important to protect the equipment and the crews from their competitive instincts.
"When we start getting wind that's steady above about 20-22 knots, that's getting pretty windy for this event,” Reggio said. “Remember we only have two race boats [plus a spare] here, so if we get significant damage the regatta is in trouble.
"But we're happy to race in winds approaching the higher end. Yesterday we had some gusts near 25 knots at times and the racing was spectacular. Hopefully we'll have more of that over the next few days."
Weatherman Roger 'Clouds' Badham advised that the sou’westers are here to stay – meaning robust winds on the Waitemata Harbour for the rest of the Louis Vuitton Trophy regatta.
“It’s a good forecast for the next seven days at least, with breezes between 10 and 20 knots in the big meteorological picture," he said.
Racing for Saturday is looking positive, with a soft breeze in the morning, picking up as the day goes on – to 15 knots early afternoon, then 20 later in the day.
The forecast is good news for spectators, with the courses likely to be inside the Waitemata Harbour – making perfect viewing from the land, the huge natural grandstand of North Head and along the city’s waterfront.
The pairings for Saturday are: All4One (NZL92) vs. Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL84); TEAMORIGIN (NZL92) vs. ALEPH (NZL84); Azzurra (NZL92) vs. Artemis (NZL84); Mascalzone Latino Audi (NZL92) vs. Synergy (NZL84).