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Sydney-Hobart Race: A "Spinnaker Weather" Forecast

Rolex Sydney-Hobart race weather its kite time

The Rolex Sydney Hobart, traditionally one of the toughest ocean races in the world, should present its most amiable face this year.

The Gearing up for the start of the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race 2007

Barry Hanstrum, regional director of the Bureau of Meteorology told skippers at this morning's final weather briefing that the race will start today in a 10 to 15 nor-easterly breeze and that as the fleet progresses south the breeze will strengthen. By sunset they should be flying under spinnakers in a 20 to 25 knot sea breeze.

It will be an ideal start for everyone, particularly the maxis, which should open up a big lead on the fleet. But their hopes for a record run to Hobart will fade at around 4am Thursday morning when Hanstrum expects a front to move in, presenting the 82 strong fleet with a morning of upwind beating in a moderate 10 to 20 knot southerly.

By Thursday afternoon the winds are forecast to swing back to the north, and are likely be pretty fickle for a few hours. The challenge for navigators will be avoiding the patches of no wind at all.

By Friday morning the northerly breeze should have freshened considerably, giving the leading yachts a brisk final leg to the Hobart finish line.

It looks a great handicap race for the 50 and 60 foot boats. The maxis will not get a big enough jump on the fleet before the first front to threaten the double, line honours and handicap, while the smaller, slower boats will encounter another southerly front on Saturday. Even this front is expected to be pretty mild. Enough to possibly rob them of a handicap place, but posing no danger to boat or crew.

'Champagne sailing,' was how CYCA Commodore Matt Allen summed it up this morning, 'if you can avoid the parking lots.'


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