Winds gusting up to 30 knots meant no racing for day one of the ACO Musto Skiff World Championship in Blairgowrie, Australia. At least, not grown-up racing.
The fleet of international sailors was suited and booted and just beginning to hoist mainsails when the postponement flag went up. Local competitor Richie Robertson is famed for his big breeze prowess but even he felt it was the right decision to hold off on launching into the white horses. "It's full on out there, we've got lots of days ahead of us to get this championship done, so it's the right call."
Blairgowrie Yacht Squadron is a beautiful place for whiling away the day, but of course there was some disappointment when racing was finally cancelled at 5pm. Instead there was a Le Mans race in club Optimists, with 10 Musto Skiff competitors pitted against each other in kids' boats. Some of the leading lights in the Skiff were surprisingly out of their depth in the lightweight Oppie, with some of the 90kg-plus competitors almost sinking their plastic bath tubs. It was Australian competitor Matthias Houvenagel who came out in front, ran ashore, beached his boat, sculled his schooner of beer, and lapped up the cheers and applause from the crowd on the clubhouse balcony.
The forecast for Wednesday is for strong winds, but about 5 knots lower than Tuesday, which should bring the breeze into range for the Musto Skiff. Having won the Australian Championships two days earlier, Arthur Brett must surely be one of the favourites for this world title, although the Western Australian was putting most of his win down to luck. Others aren't buying Brett's modesty though. He's a smart Laser sailor and a top flight coach, one of many sailors from other top-flight racing who have come to the Musto Skiff because they just love the boat. "I'm 56 years old," said Brett, "so everything I do now is because I'm passionate about the sport, and I love this boat. I'm not really measuring myself against anyone else, the Musto Skiff is a hard but fun boat to sail."