Day 2 at the Boardwalk Hobie 16 Nationals – a day of frustration and triumph.
There is an axiom that weather forecasters need to take heed of – When the Port Elizabeth weather gods dish up any wind from the North we can be guaranteed that every single weather forecaster will get the wind speed, direction and timing wrong. Saturday’s wind was forecast to be a light 3 to 7 knots North Easterly swinging to East and dropping off in the late afternoon. At least they got the Northerly part right.
The race officials were out and on station having laid the triangular Course 7 in a fluky up to 4 knot North Easterly breeze with the top mark off of MacArthur baths, the reacher off Shark Rock Pier and the bottom mark to seaward. A reluctant fleet bobbed out to the start line and slow started the 2nd race of the regatta under the I Flag. It was agonising to watch – after all PE is known for wind. With the leading boat less than halfway up the first beat the race was abandoned and the fleet sent home.
And then commenced the wait. Opinions on what the wind was going to do were as varied as the number of people who had two way communications.
The north wind is Port Elizabeth is not dependent upon the weather to our west, one has to wait for nature to take it’s course. Nature will realise that there is an imbalance between the sea and land temperature and then take steps to remedy the situation. Or as I like to put it – Uitenhage will eventually warm up and send us some breeze.
At around 1:30 pm the wind started filling in from the North North West and the course was adjusted. Two races of just over one hour each followed in conditions completely different to Friday’s ‘hang on to your hats’ racing.
In the first race the line was relatively neutral with the fleet evenly split on their decisions of the favoured side of the course. The port side of the finish line was definitely favoured though.
All smiles from the finishers off the second race were affirmation enough that the Boardwalk Hobie 16 Nationals was off to a good start. The varied conditions are sure to present a good and fair challenge.
Sunday’s weather is again forecast to dish up light conditions – 7 knots West North West at 08h00, 2 knots West at 11h00, 2 knots East South East at rising to 11 knots at 17h00. Could be a long day at the office!