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Oceanbridge Regatta: Wild weather forces cancellation of Day 1

by Eduan Roos/Yachting NZ 24 Feb 21:34 NZDT 24 February 2023
The race fleet stayed ashore for Day 1 of the Oceanbridge NZL Sailing Regatta © Yachting NZ

Auckland’s wild weather has seen sailing abandoned on Day 1 of the 2023 Oceanbridge NZL Sailing Regatta.

Principal Race Officer Ian Clouston made the announcement shortly before 2pm on Friday, citing safety concerns due to rough seas and strong wind.

Heavy rain warnings have been issued for several parts of the North Island, with heavy downpours and severe thunderstorms forecast for most of Auckland until 10pm tonight.

Clouston said winds of up to 30kn and rough sea state meant no sailing could proceed today.

Racing will be brought forward by two hours to an 11am start tomorrow to make up for the lost races, Clouston confirmed.

The forecast for Saturday is much lighter with breeze in the 6-10kn range expected.

The Oceanbridge NZL Sailing Regatta is New Zealand’s premier sailing event for Olympic and youth classes and is an opportunity for the country’s Olympic hopefuls to gauge their progress 17 months out from the 2024 Paris Games.

It is also a rare chance for our rising sailing talent to rig up alongside the top men and women.

“It’s not that often that our youth sailors do an event alongside our Olympic campaigners and that engagement is a special feature of this weekend," event organiser Sam Mackay said.

This year’s regatta is hosted by Torbay Sailing Club and will see more than 100 sailors battle it out across 10 different classes on three race courses.

Competitors include former world champion Tom Saunders and George Gautrey in the ILCA 7 (Laser) class; 49er FX Olympic silver medallists Alex Maloney and Molly Meech; and windfoiling star Veerle ten Have.

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