Langweerder Wielen; Friesland, The Netherlands
I like to go out at least an hour before the first start to get a feel of the wind and conditions. Our lake is not that big, so we have plenty of time to find the right place to lay out our starting line and 'report'-mark and check all the buoys and marks.
During that hour a big squall came trough and in front of that the wind increased even more. We measured Beaufort 6 (about 25 knots). That made me decide to at least leave the youngest - least experienced group - ashore. With the appropriate signal hoisted at our regatta office, the Flits C could stay in - for now.
I was still hoping it would settle down during the day.
But it didn't!. It got worse. Only after a rain shower (or dark cloud) had passed, the wind died down a little and came below 15 knots. But later that day we measured wind speeds up to 30 knots, that's Beaufort 7!
A lot of sailors decided for themselves the wind was to strong and did not go out at all.
We ticked off 110 boats sailing passed the blue 'report' mark next to the starting vessel. Out of 175 entries.
More then a third decided to stay ashore. Well, that does not help in any way to build confidence in a Race Officer, I can tell you that three times.
Of those 110 we started in 18 classes, only half (55!) finished. Either because they themselves decided it was to much or because of capsizing or because of gear failure, they went in without finishing the race.
Mind you, we could see some crews having the time of there lives, with full planing and vibrating hull, 'screaming' across the water. But for others it was just survival.
Consulting the weather guys and seeing the conditions, made me decide soon enough to leave the Flits C ashore and not start them that day. But I doubted the whole day if we should have gone out - or postponed or ... well you know.
With less then one third finishing, I still have those doubts.
My three rescue boats (besides the six of the youth classes) had a very full day. And even the finishing vessel (a converted fishing boat - with a nice flat deck to work off) stayed out after finishing to help to recover a sunken G2.I tried to get a feel from the sailors but received very mixed signals....
Sunday was - fortunately - a perfect sailing day. Nice breeze between 10 to 16 knots and only one rain shower which lasted all of five minutes.
According to the rules I did nothing wrong - but still.....