Day 2 at the Worlds - a thunderous affair.

Nothing much happened today at the ‘A’ Class Worlds in Sopot, apart from a boat getting stuck by lightning, three waterspouts and about 5mm of rain in 30 mins.  The previous day’s events had been studied and discussed.  Reigning champion Misha Heemskerk had pressed reset on his brain after his disastrous race 2 yesterday and was up for the challenge. All the boats were checked and all were ready to go.

But this area’s weather is only predictable in it’s unpredictableness.  The day stared fine and sunny, but by about 11am, big rain showers could be seen out in the bay.  Nevertheless, both fleets set off for their allotted 12pm start times.  The fleets floated about, some practiced foiling in the gusts, but the 5-9kt wind was pretty marginal.  However, the ‘Classic’ non-foiling boats were looking forward to getting higher up in the scoring as it was their weather.

Then the first cloudburst arrived on the Beta Fleet, the southerly of the two.  The South wind was bringing out across the bay some pretty nasty looking stuff.  The fleet had no choice but just sat there, in the deluge.  It then moved off to the Northern fleet, a mile or so away.  Then the first thunder was heard and lightning struck a nav buoy half a mile away.

Floating about in a thunderstorm, on a carbon boat with a 9m carbon stick on it was a bit of a worry.  The race officer decided to make the sign for all to get back to shore and await further instructions.  Those who didn’t see the flags were soon alerted to what was happening when all the press and coach support ribs suddenly shot off back towards the beach.

This was about the time that a DNA F1, sailed by a Polish sailor, received it’s lightning bolt down the mast.  Luckily the sailor was unharmed, but his boat started to smoke a bit and the starboard hull smelt of ozone and warm carbon.  On shore, people could see two big waterspouts on the horizon, and then a third started up.  The message was passed that all should securely tie all the boats down in anticipation of another storm arriving from the very dark grey thunderclouds all around.

To pass the time, people used the time to talk with overseas friends and generally sit about drinking cappuccino.   A couple of Poles, a Dutchman and an Aussie had an impromptu football match.  The whole scene was reminiscent of a prisoner of war film, where the prisoners organize a match to distract the guards from the escape.  Even the faces and haircuts of the players fitted this scenario perfectly.

However, the storm never materialized in the end.  The flags for the cancellation of the day’s sailing were eventually flown at about 4pm and all drifted away in preparation for the regatta dinner later in the evening.

Wednesday will now have 2 morning races.  Then all back in for the Gold and Silver fleets to be sorted and published, and then all out again for the first medal race in the afternoon.  The wind is promised to be 12-15kts, so it could be game on for sailing’s Formula One boats.