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Barring a tropical low, all settled for Sullivans

by 19 Jan 2008Regatta 20080 comments

MetVUW weather chart

Colourful Tropics: The ‘brightest’ rain activity indicated in a week’s time, but (so far!) safely to the east, is 20 mm in a six-hour period. Weather and Climate Service

A week away from the Mahurangi Regatta, the venue looks set to stay at Sullivans Bay.

With the wind rising this morning and 35‍ ‍knots and heavy rain forecast to peak tomorrow night, it is somewhat reassuring to see that MetVUW’s charts for 26 January, regatta morning, show a mere 10‍ ‍knot maximum over the entire North Island.

At least from the perspective of the beach events being able to stay put a Sullivans Bay.

A seven-day forecast, however, is a huge stretch given the variability of Aotearoa’s weather. As MetVUW puts it:

Clearly reliability will decline with the length of the forecast—experience and time will tell how significant this is. We wouldn’t advise anyone to take the seven-day forecasts literally but hope that these longer forecasts will provide some useful indication of how things might develop.

Certainly there is scope for a tropical low to spank Sullivans should the big high-pressure system that is still in the Indian Ocean not have to heft to hold it off. But nor there is any need for the editor’s alter ego, Lance-Corporal Jones, to panic just yet.

Since reviving the regatta in 1977, the invidious regatta morning ritual is for the three unfortunates to rise particularly early, listen to a weather forecast and confer by phone as to whether conditions are such that the radio cancellation service needs to be instructed to announce the demise of the beach events.

Postponements were occasionally attempted, but were not particularly successful.

From 2005, another ritual was revived. Historically, if the conditions were unfavourable for Sullivans Bay, the regatta was held at Scotts Landing. With strong easterly weather forecast, and a marquee due to be erected at Sullivans for the launch of the Mahurangi Action Plan, it was time to reflect on the wisdom of the traditional, flexible approach.

For the first time since the regatta venues became part of the Mahurangi Regional Park, the decision was made, with parks operations management, to hastily redirect the set up to Scotts Landing.

And so, the Mahurangi Action Plan had the unintended but very beneficial effect of improving the regatta protocol—had it not been for the planned large-scale after match function, the beach events would simply have been cancelled.

The decision on switching the venue was taken on the morning of Wednesday before, to allow the move to be publicised in the Thursday edition of the Rodney Times.

All the average outdoors event organiser asks for is an unequivocal forecast:

Give us perfect weather, or give us a howling gale and torrential rain so we can spend the day in bed, recuperating from occupational stress.

Particularly spare the organisers the 2006 situation, in which the easterly blew hard the day before and the day after, but sulked on the day…

…when the shoreside regatta could have safely been held at Sullivans.