January and February has seen several high wind and rainfall events on Waiheke. Photo Richard Jones

The 2018 Onetangi Beach Races has been cancelled over fears for extreme weather expected on the island this weekend.

Organisers say they have been forced to call off the annual race day, which was set for this Sunday (11 February), because of the high likelihood for strong winds and heavy rainfall on both Saturday and Sunday.

“It was a really difficult decision, and not taken lightly whatsoever,” says Event Organiser Michelle Barber. “It affects a lot of people and I wish it were the case that we did not have to cancel. We have worked very hard to get it to be a great event and unfortunately it is just out of our control.”

“Winds are predicted mostly from the northeast or the north, which is the most unfavourable direction for the beach. Unfortunately, there isn’t another favourable tide for this type of event on the beach until April, and at that point the weather will be even more unpredictable.”

“We have had experts in yachting and piloting look at the weather, and they have told us they would not sail or fly in the kind of weather we are expecting.”

MetService predictions show a broad area of low pressure descending over the upper north island moving into the weekend, bringing with it a band of rain and high humidity. Meteorologists have issued a weather warning for Northland and a weather watch for Auckland and the Coromandel Peninsula.

“We really want to thank everyone who was involved for all the hard work that has gone into the event up to this point,” Michelle says. “We have had a great response from people and we really wish it was able to go ahead.”

More in this week’s Gulf News

  • Richard Jones

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