|Weather wreaks havoc|
|Feb 24, 2003
By Fiona McIlroy [Abridged]
Team New Zealand meteorologists Roger Badham and Chris Bedford's days are long and tedious, whether racing goes ahead or not. On each race day the weather tender heads out at about 9.30am and stays out there until racing starts or is cancelled for the day.
"Through it all our job never changes," said Badham. "We still have to get up at some ungodly hour to come in here and predict the weather - whether it's a fizzer or a goer."
Monday was a scheduled lay day, but after three unsuccessful attempts at getting race four underway the two crews agreed to race. The weather, however, did not, and light winds forced principal race officer Harold Bennett to abandon the day at 8.30am. [...]
Over the last week the wind has been very light and variable preventing race four from being raced.
Unfortunately the prognosis is not much better with a low pressure system, which has brought heavy rain to Australia over the last few days, winging its way across the Tasman and due to push the conditions out to the other extreme. Winds gusting to 40 knots are due to arrive on Wednesday and may prevent Thursday's scheduled race from going ahead.
"There's some pretty bad weather heading our way so we'll just have to wait and see," said Taylor. Three race days were lost last week and one so far this week.
In the recently completed Louis Vuitton Challenger series 22 out of 67 days were lost due to winds outside the 7-19 knot starting limit. There are no wind limits in the America's Cup match, but principal race officer Harold Bennett has said he will not start a race in variable conditions, which make the racing unfair.
The final scheduled race day is Saturday,
with three more reserve days taking the schedule out to Wednesday March
5. In the event that neither the defenders nor challenger have reached
five points by March 5 the rules state: "the schedule of races shall be
extended until a yacht has scored five points."