Good news for Dalton, now just 830 miles from Norfolk
Having reviewed all the latest weather models and following regular consultation with the skippers and their teams, Race Director David Adams has today set a new start date and time for the final leg of the Velux 5 Oceans. Leg three to Bilbao (Basque Country) is now scheduled to commence at 10:00 AM local time (14:00 GMT) this Wednesday April 18.
The noreaster storm which has been savagely battering the whole of the Eastern seaboard of the United States since Sunday is expected to intensify overnight into Tuesday before beginning to weaken. Race organisers and the sailors felt that a start on Wednesday morning offers the best solution to guarantee the safety of the fleet and allow the competitors to get away as soon as possible from Norfolk, Virginia (USA).
However, the start is still expected to take place in a strong northerly wind with large seas, and event organisers in Norfolk are therefore advising spectators not to go out on the water to watch the yachts depart for Europe. With the start gun set to fire at 10 AM, the boats will leave their home in downtown Norfolk in the early hours of the morning before heading up the Elizabeth River to the line, which will be positioned in open water off the Virginian coast.
The postponed start has also played into the hands of Graham Dalton. Ironically as the fleet has been storm bound at Waterside Marina, with winds gusting up to 50 knots, Dalton has been plagued by light airs. He has been making slow progress up the North Atlantic, but it now just 830 miles away from Norfolk, doing 11 knots. The Kiwi skipper is expected to arrive here Friday, within race rules, and set off for Bilbao after a required 72 hour stop over.