Big swells force postponement of Barcelona opener
The eight Extreme Sailing Series™ teams will have to wait until tomorrow for their first taste of Barcelona action after huge waves forced racing to be postponed on the opening day.
Race Director John Craig made the decision to suspend racing due to the tall, steep waves rolling through the city’s stadium racecourse that would have posed a safety risk to the fleet.
Craig said that such a sea state, combined with winds of up to 25 knots, would have likely caused the super-fast GC32 catamarans to fall off their foils and nosedive into the wave in front, potentially leading to capsizes.
Instead the fleet will kick off the fourth Act of the 2017 global Stadium Racing tour tomorrow when the sea state will have subsided and the winds dropped.
“Unfortunately due to the sea state being incredibly steep, wave heights being really high and the big breeze, we’ve had to cancel today’s racing,” Craig said.
“Tomorrow’s forecast looks like it will be significantly lighter with a typical sea breeze filling in later on, somewhere between 10 to 12 knots, with less sea state.
“It would have been hard for any boat to race in these conditions – the reality is that when they’re foiling they’d be coming up and down off the foils a lot and burying the bows into the waves in front.
“The boats are so close together that it would be a dangerous situation and we’d be creating capsize opportunities, which is not safe.
“It’s a hard decision but it’s based on safety and maintaining the fleet to get through the rest of the event.”
The postponement has left the crews of the eight international teams even more revved up to get racing – and resume the battle for the top spot on the Extreme Sailing Series leaderboard.
“We were all geared up for today because we knew that big breeze was forecast but it ended up being right on the limit of what we can race in,” said Pete Greenhalgh, mainsheet trimmer with third-placed Omani outfit Oman Air.
“You couldn’t ask for more from a venue. It’s paradise here – great sailing conditions just a stone’s throw from an amazing city. We’re thoroughly looking forward to getting out there tomorrow and starting to chip away at the scoreboard.”
The excitement was even greater among the young Spaniards of wildcard home team FNOB Impulse, who are making their Extreme Sailing Series debut fresh from racing in the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup.
“We are so hungry to get racing in these amazing boats but we’re just going to have to wait until tomorrow,” said skipper Jordi Xammar. “We have a great team of young guys and we’re just super-excited to get out there.”
Racing was also postponed for the Flying Phantom fleet, which will go head to head in Barcelona after making an impressive debut at Act 3 in Portugal’s Madeira Islands.
GC32 racing will kick off tomorrow at 15:00 local time (UTC+2), while the Flying Phantoms will race from 10:00.
Fans around the world can follow the action through the live blog at extremesailingseries.com while those in Barcelona can visit the race village by the W Barcelona hotel on the Plaça Rosa dels Vents in Barceloneta from 10:00 to 19:00 local time.
Racing will be streamed live on the Extreme Sailing Series Youtube and Facebook pages from 15:00 to 18:00 on Saturday 22 and from 14:00 to 17:00 on Sunday 23 July.