Record could fall in Sydney Hobart Race

Published on December 20th, 2018

In an early forecast prediction, the Bureau of Meteorology’s Simon Louis expects a little of everything in the early stages of the 628 nautical mile Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race when it starts on December 26.

“The long-range weather models show relatively light winds as the yachts leave Sydney Harbour,” notes Louis. “But with a 15-20 knot (and gusts to 35 knots) north to north-easterly winds which should continue during Boxing Day night and into the next day, with the breeze expected to go around to the west later.”

This scenario will leave some dead spots in between while also showing a weak trough over the far NSW coast throughout this period, with lighter and more variable winds off the far south coast and into Bass Strait, causing David Sudano of the Reichel/Pugh 51 Primitive Cool to quip: “Looks like we’ll need plenty of change for the parking lots.”

Sudano said that Primitive Cool, owned and skippered by John Newbold, would make the best of the weather which is favouring those in the 50- to 55-foot range – and the super maxis – apart from the sections where the parking lots lay in wait.

Andrew Cape, a veteran of 18 Hobarts and many Volvo Ocean Races, is navigating Christian Beck’s Juan-K 100 Infotrack. “It’ll be good when we get the big southerly change – it’s always a relief in a Hobart race,” notes Cape. “And if all goes to plan – although it’s still very early to say – the record could go in one day eight hours.”

In 2017, LDV Comanche set a new race record finishing in 1 day, 9 hours, 15 minutes and 24 seconds, beating Perpetual Loyal’s record of 1 day, 13 hours, 31 minutes and 20 seconds, set the previous year.

A veteran of 26 Sydney Hobarts with a win on Loki in 2011, Michael Bellingham, the long-time navigator for the Kerr 46 Patrice, says, “It will be interesting to see if we’ve got any breeze at the start – and if the north/easter has filled in. One day eight hours (Cape’s suggested record break time) – I was just trying to digest that…

“I think we’ll be looking at two days 12 hours for Patrice and I think the TP52s are about five to six hours quicker than that – but we’re not allowed to talk about them (including last year’s winner Ichi Ban) on Patrice. It’s certainly sub-two days for the bigger boats I think.”

Lindsay May, looking down the barrel of his 46th straight Sydney Hobart, this time on the oldest, heaviest boat in the fleet, Kialoa II, which took line honours with her original owner in 1971, has accepted that the going will be tough in the light weather for the 23 meter S&S yawl now owned by Patrick and Keith Broughton.

“We’re about 45 tonnes, so the light air is of course going not be favourable for us – but you live with what you get.”

Asked who he favoured to win the race overall, May, who has won the race three times overall, the latest as skipper of Simon Kurt’s Love & War in 2006 – and taken line honours on Brindabella in 1997 said, It’s one of the best fleets I’ve ever seen – it’s almost impossible to say. I guess if I’m pushed, Bush Paul Group (Mathew Short) is my pick. They have a very good – including the navigator Hedge (Glenn Cooper).”

How to follow the race… click here.

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Background: Eight-nine yachts will be chasing line honours and the overall Tattersall Cup win in the 628nm Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race which starts December 26, 2018. From Sydney Harbour, the fleet sails out into the Tasman Sea, down the south-east coast of mainland Australia, across Bass Strait (which divides the mainland from the island State of Tasmania), then down the east coast of Tasmania. At Tasman Island the fleet turns right into Storm Bay for the final sail up the Derwent River to the historic port city of Hobart.

Source: RSHYR media

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