COWES WEEKFOR the first time in five years and 100 race days, organisers had to cancel the Extreme 40 racing off Cowes due to the high winds and a strong tide.
Skippers described the conditions yesterday (Wednesday) as 'extreme', 'dangerous' and 'on the edge'.
There was a steady 25 to 28 knots, combined with a strong tide, and several boats competing in Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week were seen going back to port with broken masts.
Despite the tide turning at around 3pm, when racing was due to start, the strong winds showed no signs of abating and the sea state remained strong.
Racing manager Phil Lawrence said he expected the water to flatten out but the forecast he downloaded at 2.45pm indicated winds later in the afternoon would be gusting up to 38 knots and a full gale.
He said: "We waited for the tide to change but once we saw the new forecast it was definitely not sailable."
Event director Gilles Chiorri added the reason to cancel racing for the day was also due to the local topography.
He said: "We have sailed in very rough conditions with these boats, with up to 30 knots several times, but here in Cowes with the tide and the proximity of the rocky shore, we know we run the risk of a bad tack or a bad bear away and having a boat completely losing it. We have to accept that we have some limits."