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13 October 2002, 07:21 am
Leg Two Start Delayed
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Around Alone
Brixham, Torbay

You wouldn't know it to look out of the window, but today’s noon start time for Leg 2 of the Around Alone has been postponed by 24 hours because of the weather.

Right now it's a beautiful evening in Torbay with the lights around the harbour reflecting on the calm water, but that's all about to change. It seems according to the weather experts at the British Meteorological office and the US Navy that a nasty easterly wind is due to pick up this evening bringing with it a driving rain. They are talking about Force 6 winds at noon Sunday when the race was due to get underway.

Cynics might scoff at the thought of weather being the cause for the race delay given that these boats are designed and engineered to sail around the world, but it's not that the boats can't sail in a gale, it's that they will not be able to get off the docks. The yachts have to be towed out of the marina because their engine shafts are sealed for the leg, and the tow boats are not able to manage especially with a strong easterly wind that brings a large swell into the harbor. So with that as a given, race officials have decided to do the prudent thing and postpone the start by a day. "It's absolutely the right thing to do," said Race Chairman Sir Robin Knox Johnston. "Our main concern is to not have any damage to the boats and so if it makes sense to delay the start a day, that's what we will do." We will bring you a weather update tomorrow morning, so stay tuned.

John Dennis (Bayer Ascensia) voiced the reaction of the skippers: "It's a smart decision. We've got a long race around the world, so why take a chance on some very violent weather which might damage our boats getting out of the harbour. The other thing is that we will now have Kojiro starting with us, as he thought he would have to start 24hrs later due to his keel damage."

Brad Van Liew (Tommy Hilfiger Freedom America) added: "We needed a decision now on the best available information. Robin's main concern is that we get away safely from Brixham, it's up to us to make sure we get ourselves to Cape Town."

Tim Kent (Everest Horizontal) was also delighted with the decision: "There's no point going out in this kind of weather. It's not that the boats cannot handle this kind of weather in the open sea, but here in the bay it's the interface between land and sea that makes it dangerous."

Brian Hancock
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