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AC35: Breeze on for Friday's opening day of racing

THESE DAYS WEATHER FORECASTING is pretty good three days out. Longer than that and it still seems more art than science, depending of course on the locale. Places like New Zealand, in the middle of the ocean, normally have more variable weather, and is more difficult to predict on an hour to hour basis, because of the large number of influencing factors. As you all know, Bermuda, like NZL, is in the middle of the ocean. With three days to go, the major weather-prediction models for Friday are pretty well aligned, and it looks like the teams will be using their heavy-air foils for Day 1 of the 35th America's Cup. The forecast at race time (1700) is for 21 knots gusting into the high 20s.

Courtesy of the website, the big picture for 1700 Atlantic Time (Bermuda's time zone) Friday....

Mark Michaelsen (USA, Rossmoor, CA), our good friend and SI's newly annointed Weather Guru (who does weather forecasting and yacht race routing professionally in addition to his day job selling DryUV team gear), will give us a special forecast for Bermuda on Friday morning California time. In the meantime Mark says, "With racing scheduled to begin on Friday at 1700 (5pm) local time in Bermuda, the weather Gods are smiling, at least for now. Rain remains just to the west and the combination of a SW/NE oriented front and a 1024mb high will create a nice sporty pressure gradient over the race course. My favorite models hold off the significant rain until after the racing concludes at 1900 (7pm) local time. I don't see the wind limit of 25 knots with a one-minute average being exceeded, although it could be close. Gusts are expected to be 29/31 knots which for these boats makes things really exciting, especially when mistakes are made."

Below,'s hourly forecast for Friday. At 1800, midway through the scheduled two-hour race window, it's showing a southerly 22 knots gusting to 29. That may be over the wind limits agreed for the regatta; watch for a post on all that later this week.

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