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Unsafe weather stunts Patton’s progress

Large seas and heavy winds forced race officials to abandon competition on day two of the Etchells World Championship 2012 in Sydney, Australia yesterday.

Winds as high as 36 knots blowing against the tide created very large seas, which race officials deemed to be unsafe for the 74-boat Etchells fleet.

“The conditions when we first went out were reading about 23 knots with a big set which was whipping up the seas to about a four metre swell; certainly unsafe for the Etchells sailors,” said regatta spokesman Ross Wilson.

“We were hoping on a forecast of the breeze easing for the day, but as we went out the second time, just before 1300 hours, we recorded over 36 knots. So it was an increase of another 10 knots and the seas were worse.”

Tim Patton, one of two local skippers competing in the regatta, added: “The problem is that the racing is on the open ocean with a very strong uncommon tide going against the wind. This creates these conditions.”

It is anticipated racing will resume with two races being held today.

“The forecast looks absolutely perfect and improving as the week goes on,” Wilson added. “We are confident we can get back on track.”

The remainder of the revised race schedule will see two races held tomorrow, another two on Friday and one on Saturday.

Patton, who is making his 24th appearance at this regatta, is currently 40th while Royal Bermuda Yacht Club (RBYC) skipper and Argo Group CEO Mark Watson is four places further adrift in the point standings.

The Etchells World Championship 2012 are being held in open seas off Sydney Heads and hosted by the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron.

Aussie Graeme Taylor currently leads the Etchells fleet in Sydney after two races.

Last year’s winner Bill Hardesty is not back to defend his title this year.

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Published February 22, 2012 at 1:00 am (Updated February 22, 2012 at 7:43 am)

Unsafe weather stunts Patton’s progress

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