- Associated Press - Friday, April 28, 2017

DAUPHIN ISLAND, Ala. (AP) - Mobile Bay’s largest annual sailboat regatta, scheduled for Saturday, has been postponed due to forecasts for rain and windy conditions as a precaution against the type of deadly storms that struck in 2015.

The postponement of the 59th Dauphin Island Regatta came two years after a fleet was left battered by a weather front as it swept over Mobile Bay. Six people were killed.

Mayor Jeff Collier told Al.com (https://bit.ly/2ptYdHK ) that while he hated to see the race postponed, participants’ safety comes first. The National Weather Service is forecasting a 30 percent chance of thunderstorms Saturday with wind gusts as high as 25 mph.

“They are just trying to do what is best for everyone involved,” Collier said.

The sailors died when a thunderstorm with winds near hurricane-force slammed the coast at the end of the Dauphin Island Race in 2015, overturning multiple boats. About 100 boats carrying 470 people were on the water at the time and a search for missing victims went on for days.

This year’s hosts - the Buccaneer Yacht Club - intends to reschedule the race but a make-up date has not been set. However, the party that accompanies the race, including live music, libations and food, is still on.

Collier said the postponement of the race shouldn’t create major disruptions for the city.

“It’s not a big deal,” he said. “We hate to see it happen, but we understand decisions going into this are being made for the right reasons.”

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC.

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