The fleet for Australia’s largest bluewater regatta, the annual Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, which traditionally begins on Boxing Day (the day after Christmas), is in for a bumpy ride this year, weather forecasters say.
A Sydney Hobart race record appears to be beyond the 117-strong fleet in the 70th edition of the race. Adverse weather is predicted. The race will start under light conditions before the fleet confronts stiff, southerly head winds as the yachts move down the New South Wales coast.
The race record of 42 hours, 23 minutes and 12 seconds was set by Wild Oats XI in 2012.
"It is definitely a challenging weather situation, but so it is in every Hobart race," Wild Oats XI navigator Juan Vila told ABC News.
Taking on the southerlies early in the race should suit the American multimillion-dollar supermaxi Comanche, which is entering just its second race.
"Normally you wouldn't take a brand-new boat and have one of its first offshore races be the Hobart," navigator Stan Honey said. "But given the characteristics of the boat, we're happy with the fresh beating in the beginning.”