Sports people are fond of talking about things they can control - but for those whose brief is outdoor activities, one major element remains uncontrollable.

And yesterday the weather stepped in with gusty southeasterly winds to put the world rowing championships on the back foot from day one.

Just five races out of a scheduled 27 were raced yesterday before the opening heat of the lightweight men's double scull was pulled up ahead of halfway on the 2000m course.

So Fisa officials have come up with a plan to make up lost time today. If they're lucky, they will be back on track by tonight.

However it remains an "if". More winds, albeit with less strength, are expected.

The large elephant menacing in the back of the Fisa planning room, nonetheless, is a substantial storm tipped to hit the region on Thursday.

Team officials have been warned that day may prove unrowable.

"It is disappointing. You want your first day to go smoothly," championship chief executive Tom Mayo said last night.

Fisa executive director Matt Smith said a strong view among team officials was that racing should not have even started yesterday, let alone got under way.

Racing was put off for five hours, then the pin was pulled in early afternoon.

New Zealand's lightweight coxless pair of Graham Oberlin-Brown and James Lassche, who surprised with a strong display to win the opening heat and qualify straight to Friday's final, took an interesting tack.

"It's been like this for quite a long time and all the New Zealand crews are well prepared for this," Oberlin-Brown said of the conditions.

"But Fisa have run numerous of these events and they'll know what is rowable and what is not. It wasn't unrowable in our race."

The issue with conditions is broadly that the better they are, the happier the stronger nations will be. If conditions get rough, it can even things up from the weaker countries' perspective.

Plus, time lost early in the week is easier to make up than at the sharp end of the championship.

Thailand's head coach, Gay Horan, strongly criticised the decision to stop racing in the morning, offering the lesser lights' perspective.

"They only stopped it, I believe, because the big power countries freaked out and said 'this is unrowable, we can't row in this'," Horan said.

"And that's exactly it: they're not comfortable rowing in it because they always have perfect conditions.

"To stop it when they did was ridiculous, and then what makes it even more ridiculous is they tell us we can train. If we can train, why can't we race?"

As Smith was clarifying the position late yesterday, conditions were significantly better, but he said Fisa had not wanted athletes being messed about through the day.

"The rowers are all wet," he said at the time of the morning postponement.

"They've been warming up, they have to go back in, change their clothes, have something to eat, so we can't play with them every two hours."

New Zealand athletes will have a busy day today, being involved in 15 classes.

That includes all four defending world champions - Mahe Drysdale (single scull), Hamish Bond and Eric Murray (coxless pair), Storm Uru and Peter Taylor (lightweight double scull) and Duncan Grant (lightweight single scull).

* Racing will start at 10.05am today and the programme will include the heats unraced yesterday, along with events originally scheduled.

* Heats in 15 events, plus three adaptive competitions, will be staged.

* Conditions are expected to be better than yesterday, if still less than ideal, and better still tomorrow.