The forecasts for both the weather and the Ohio River have positively impacted Madison Regatta ticket sales in the past week.

Advance sales appear to be up over the past two years, said Regatta President Tim Torrance.

While final numbers will not be available until after race weekend, Torrance said he believed this year's race will be a success.

"It's hard to know for sure because we just don't have the numbers yet, but judging by foot traffic, sales appear to be up," Torrance said on Wednesday. "Internet sales, walk-up sales, everywhere is better than it has been the past two years.

"I think fans were waiting to see what the river was going to do and how the weather was going to be," Torrance said. "I think now you can see that the weather is going to be fantastic and the water is going to be great."

The Ohio River flooded out the pit area causing cancellation of the 2013 race for the first time since 1948. The year before, temperatures near 106 degrees made life miserable for those along the riverbank and many fans stayed home.

But neither of those problems appear to be an issue this year. The Ohio River water level is currently around 19 1/2 feet, 10 feet below what the Regatta considers its "drop dead depth" and a cold front that brought storms to the area on Wednesday will produce highs in the upper 70s the next two days and the low 80s on Saturday. The high is expected to be 86 on Sunday.

The river is forecast to drop to 16 feet by the first heat of racing on Sunday - almost the ideal depth.

"We've had such bad luck with the weather the past two years. We deserve a break," Torrance said. "The weather is going to be absolutely perfect over the next few days and we think it's going to be the best Regatta we've had in some time."

About half the H1 Unlimited hydroplane fleet arrived in town by Wednesday night and the rest of the boats are expected to be in town today. The boats will be set in the pits this afternoon and the pits will be opened Friday from 10 a.m. to noon for fans to see the boats up close. Admission is either a Regatta wristband or a $5 souvenir button that can be purchased at the gates.

There will be no on-water activity Friday but Saturday and Sunday will be action-packed. The Unlimiteds will test and qualify on Saturday with a "Dash for Cash" race tentatively scheduled for 4 p.m. In addition, the vintage Unlimiteds Miss US IV and Gale V will take to the water for exhibition runs.

All racing action will take place on Sunday with Heats 1A and 1B scheduled to start at 11 a.m., Heats 2A and 2B at 1:10 p.m. and Heats 3A and 3B set for 2:45 p.m. The Final Heat will be run at 4:05 p.m.