Britain’s Quentin Stewart, racing under the burgee of the Guernsey Yacht Club, comes to the Rolex Sydney Hobart start line with Maverick 49, a Hugh Welbourn designed Infiniti 46r.
She has a canting keel and DSS foils – the only 40-footer to utilise twin foils when built in 2016.
Stewart was disappointed with 13th overall (despite scoring third in Division 2) in the 75th race in 2019, after looking to make the overall podium up until their last day on the water.
Stewart and Shaun Lane have been honing their tight crew work via the pair’s MC38, Lazy Dog, which won both the 2020 and 2021 Australian Championships.
Stewart has again enlisted the stars of the small boat brigade, such as 2012 Olympic Laser gold medallist Tom Burton, Tokyo Games 49er Olympian David Gilmour and Laser Olympic campaigner Finn Alexander.
On paper, they are serious contenders for an overall win – if the weather suits.
The forecast of southerlies and possible thunderstorms early after the Boxing Day start, and a series of transitions afterwards, have all but erased expectation of a record-breaking race.
According to Gabrielle Woodhouse, forecaster from the NSW Bureau of Meteorology, speaking at the long range weather forecast press conferenc, a trough is expected on Christmas Day, or later on Boxing Day, when the 628 nautical mile Rolex Sydney Hobart starts at 1pm.
The forecast makes for a challenging race where the 100-footers will find it hard to jump to a huge lead over the fleet early in the race.
The 2021 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race will start at 13:00 hrs (02:00 hrs UK) on Sunday 26 December.