Racing In The Extreme Sailing Series In Sydney Today Was Cancelled - Because The Weather Was Too Extreme

Australian Olympic champion Tom Slingsby is skippering Oman Air and was out training on Sydney Harbour before the weather worsened. Photo: Lloyd Images.

Sydney’s continued wild weather forced the organisers of the Extreme Sailing Series to cancel the first day of racing in the global competition.

It’s only the third time in the seven-year history of the competition that racing was cancelled because of the weather.

With a 30-knot breeze, gusting to 45 knots, Race Director Phil Lawrence said the conditions were unmanageable.

“Unfortunately the weather forecast was very accurate. As predicted the breeze built to over 30 knots at the scheduled start time. The very experienced Extreme 40 sailor Mitch Booth was on the water with the Land Rover Extreme 40 beforehand, and he confirmed it was quickly building and too gusty for the boats to race safely. Tomorrow the conditions look lighter, so hopefully we can get this show on the road,” he said.

Even local sailors as tough as 2008 Olympic champion, Nathan Wilmot, skipper of GAC Pindar, agreed with the decision.

“It would have carnage had we gone out. We would all look a bit silly if we went out there and capsized, broke masts and no one was able to go out tomorrow,” he said.

The Extreme Sailing Series is an annual, international series, involving eight teams on 12-metre-long Extreme 40 catamarans, which have a crew of five and a top speed of around 40 knots (74km). It’s like Formula One on Water, including the spectacular crashes.

The short course races last 15-20 minutes and are designed for spectators to watch from the shore in stadium seating. Sydney is the eighth and final city in the 2014 season. The racing is scheduled to continue on Sydney Harbour over the next three days until Sunday and thousands are expected to visit the race village in the Royal Botanical Gardens over the weekend. Racing kicks off around 2.30pm.

You can also watch it online at Extreme Sailing Series.

Here’s a taste of what the racing is like.

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