The announcement was made with less than 48 hours to go before the fleet of skippers were due to set sail for Bilbao, Spain and complete their solo circumnavigation of the planet. Speaking following a briefing with skippers, teams and sponsors, ADAMS concluded, 'It was clearly not an easy decision to postpone the start of the third leg, but we felt it was absolutely necessary in order to guarantee the safety of the skippers and the safety of the local community here in Norfolk.'
ADAMS continued, 'We spoke to the best weather experts in the country and leading local meteorologists who know the regional patterns and impact of these storms. At the same time, we worked closely with the skippers and sponsors to share information and reach a decision that was best for the race and the teams. Although the skippers regularly battle big seas and strong winds in the Southern Ocean, we did not want to jeopardize their safety at the outset. The horrendous storm in the Bay of Biscay at the start of the race vividly illustrated what is possible when you underestimate nature and the power of the ocean.'
Race organizers have not set a new time for the start but will review the situation every 12 hours and make their decisions as the weather develops, in constant consultation with meteorologists from across USA and Europe, as well as the skippers and their teams.
Currently Norfolk sits in the middle of the vicious low pressure system. Virginia is still on Tornado Watch and has issued a Gale Warning. The forecast for Monday is winds between 25 to 30 knots, gusting 45 knots, and holding through until Tuesday. Race organizers and the skippers will continue to meet but a start on Monday looks unlikely.
The VELUX 5 OCEANS is the longest race for any individual in any sport. Over the first few days, the fleet will make their way along the northern coast of Spain to Cape Finistère where they will turn south towards the Southern Ocean. However, all of the skippers know that this race is a marathon and not a sprint. During the 30,000 miles sailed in the VELUX 5 OCEANS race, the yachts will encounter some of the most extreme sea and weather conditions on the planet.
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