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24 March 2004, 10:36 am
Tropical Cyclone Grace Moving Away From Race Track
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FKP Sydney Mooloolaba Race

While the race start is still a week away, early weather predictions are that Tropical Cyclone Grace will not impact on the FKP Sydney Mooloolaba Race fleet.
The tail end of the extreme weather pattern is still causing problems for Sunshine Coast beaches with gale force winds whipping up huge seas.

A severe weather warning remains in place for the Sunshine Coast but Bureau of Meteorology forecaster Kenn BATT from the Sydney office says Cyclone Grace, which is now west of New Caledonia, is weakening and conditions will abate well before the fleet of 43 boats cross the finish line and enter the Mooloolaba Seaway.

At this early stage, the Bureau's two models are showing diverging weather patterns for the mid-week race but Kenn is expecting a fresh start on Wednesday 31 March, particularly if the Australian model is correct, with southwest to southerly winds of up to 30 knots.

One of the overseas models (from the ECMWF) is predicting fresh southeast winds but it is early days yet from a weather point of view.

After the first 24 hours of the 469 nautical mile race, Batt is expecting the winds to swing around more to the northeast and to abate, a prospect that would make Brindabella skipper George Snow particularly happy as he is hoping to celebrate the 10th anniversary of his race record of 44 hours 01 minutes and 43 seconds.

Skippers and navigators will be provided with a preliminary race forecast at the race briefing next Monday evening, March 29, at the CYCA and a final race forecast at the weather briefing at 8.30am on the morning of the race.
Lisa Ratcliff (As Amended By ISAF News Editor)
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