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"But we never have weather like this"

IT'S A STANDING LAUGH LINE in the sailing world. You go to a regatta and there's either too much wind, or not enough, and the locals throw their hands in the air and exclaim, "But we never have weather like this." Of course they do, but until there's a regatta no one pays much attention to the actual conditions. It's only when the same regatta takes place at the same time of year, year after year, that the locals and racers start to get a feel for the range of conditions that can be expected.

As in, "Remember, Julia, a few years ago when there was no wind at all on Sunday of the Rolex Big Boat Series so there was no final day racing? And last year it blew dogs off chains."

So don't be surprised to hear a few Bermudians, and regatta officials starting to say the same thing about Friday's forecast. As we reported yesterday, it's looking like breeze on, and actually peaking at race time Friday afternoon (1700-1900 Bermuda time, which is +1 hour to NYC, +4 to SF). The latest forecast is for 20 knots gusting to 32. It could be a knot or two more, or less, and that may make all the difference as to whether the max wind rules (there are also minimums, the so-called "Wind Limits), will prevent racing on Day One.

Those limits are currently under intense discussion in BDA, and recall that they changed before the start of AC34 in SF –the max was reduced for safety reasons. Run a race in a lot of wind? Wreck a boat or three and the rest of the series is jeopardized. Don't run a race when the conditions are marginal? You are being unfair to the teams who are prepared for, and fast in, those conditions, to say nothing of causing the TV guys – and sponsors – to go nuts for lack of a live show.

Now there's even rain in the forecast for race time Friday. ACTV will be wringing their hands, but they won't be sitting on them. They have been planning for months, including for lost race days even on Day One with plenty of filler cued up and ready to play in case of too little or too much wind. Besides, there's always the chance of a hurricane this time of year, and that could wipe out an entire week. So they won't be that unhappy about a little wind and rain.

Of course SAILING ILLUSTRATED will keep you abreast of all this as we get closer to race time on Friday. And come Friday morning we will have a proper weather update from SI's newly anointed Weather Guru, Mark Michaelsen. For now, we have this, courtesy of the normally reliable website

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