Flat calm followed by a 40 knot storm stopped any racing taking place at yesterday's opening day of the Delta Lloyd 470 World Championships, at the Hague, Holland.
After a delay kept crews ashore until 2pm, the Men's and Women's fleets eventually ventured out into a near mill pond. But with storm clouds looming and no start looking possible, the fleets were sent back ashore, just in time. The lack of wind proved to be the calm before the storm with driving rain and 40 knot gusts catching out some competitors before they got safely back to shore. Among those caught out by the sudden change in conditions were number one ISAF ranked crew Anton Dahlberg
and Sebastian Östling
Dahlberg explained what happened: 'When the wind came we were being towed and we were doing a change in the towing. The wind caught us by surprise and we ripped our sails. So we are looking for new sails at the moment. It wasn't the best way to come into the Worlds..."
For others the sudden violent downpour came as more of a surprise. Pakistan's entry in the 470 Men, Xerxes Avari
and Mehboob Rafiq
, have been sailing in the class for eight years and this is their third World Championship. 'We do get rain in Pakistan, but let's hope we get a better day tomorrow," said Avari.
Avari and Rafiq usually sail out of Karachi where they are currently trying to encourage more sailors into the class to race them. 'At the moment there are only two 470s and the other guy doesn't come out very much!" states Avari. 'So we mostly sail on our own, but we are trying to get a few more people involved."
In terms of local competition they have competed in Pakistan for the right to go to the Asian Games, where they finished "way, way down" according to Avari, who adds they are keeping their fingers crossed for a mid-fleet result this week off The Hague. 'It is good fun, but it is very competitive."
With better conditions forecast for today all the competitors and event organisers are looking forward to an exciting day of great 470 World Championship action.
For more information, visit the event web site: www.470worlds2010.com