Post storm calm stalls Optimist sailors

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A race official looks out from the starters’ boat as Optimist sailors wait for the wind to arrive off Royal Varuna Yacht Club in Pattaya, Tuesday, July 18. (Photo/Matias Capizzano)
A race official looks out from the starters’ boat as Optimist sailors wait for the wind to arrive off Royal Varuna Yacht Club in Pattaya, Tuesday, July 18. (Photo/Matias Capizzano)

Pattaya – The second half of the individual series of the Optimist World Championship 2017 was abandoned Tuesday after a midday rainstorm followed by a fruitless four hour wait on the water for wind to return.  Most participants accepted the situation as out of the race committee’s control, but, in retrospect, wished they had waited just a little bit longer to call it a day.

“Full credit to the race team for giving it a go,” said New Zealand’s team leader Susannah Pyatt, happy the race committee at least tried to deliver.

“I think it was a good call the race committee postponed the launch, keeping us onshore until after the storm passed,” said USA coach Lior Lavie. “Then we had no wind, but we went out and waited and waited. The race committee made a good decision to send us in because another storm was supposed to come. Unfortunately, after abandoning the races, the wind picked up and the storm did not show, but this was not something anyone can control.”

Croatian coach Tina Mihelic was a bit more wistful. “It is what they decided. We didn’t have any races today, but I think the coaches are not so happy because after we returned to shore, there was nice wind and we could have done at least one race,” she said.

Local Race Officer Neil Dunkley said it is one of the risks in a sport that relies on nature to deliver. “If there is wind, we go racing. If there is no wind, we can’t go racing. It’s that simple.”

Sailors seemed to enjoy the chance to get to know each other better onshore and were accepting of the situation at sea.

As Russian sailor Roman Lutsenko put it. “It happens. And we are happy, because there was no wind.” Slovakian sailor Alex Malina simply said, “I want wind.” Another sailor joked that he fell asleep in his boat.

Hopes are the winds will return to get racing back on track on Wednesday for the final two days of competition.