Thursday, January 14, 2010

Weathering the storm

A wind storm hit Valencia today, causing BMW ORACLE Racing to batten down the hatches at its team boatyard to ensure none of its equipment was damaged ahead of the 33rd America's Cup Match next month.

The storm force winds are the result of a fast moving low pressure system to the north of Valencia.

Although the team was prepared for strong winds, the severity and frequency of the stronger gusts was a massive challenge to the shore team. All other work at the boatyard was put on hold and all hands called on deck to keep the tent structures standing.

As of late afternoon, with the wind having eased somewhat, none of the wing-sail, the trimaran, or any other sailing assets had been damaged.

The forecast is for some stronger wind squalls again overnight, so the team is now shoring up the damaged tents and preparing for another onslaught.

Thursday's wind has certainly been a major weather event. Gusts of wind in excess of 60 knots were recorded at Valencia airport near noon today. The wind has eased slightly over the afternoon but overnight strong gusts of wind are still possible. The forecast for Friday is much better.