Sunday’s forecast for the Boxing Day start of the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race is for strong southerly winds and rough seas.
But for all the crews the first step is to being cleared to start the race.
COVID-19 protocols require all Rolex Sydney Hobart crew and staff to undergo a PCR test within 72 hours of leaving for Tasmania.
David Witt, skipper of SHK Scallywag 100 and sailing in his 25th Sydney Hobart, said that his mind is focused on hoping all of his crew are cleared to start the race.
He added “We’ve got 18 crew. So, you know, any of us could get dropped out, testing positive, and that’ll throw a massive spanner in the works. That’s probably the biggest thing.”
The forecast for the start is for cloud cover and 10-15 knot southerly winds, increasing to 25-30 knots outside the Heads. Showers are expected with possible thunderstorms later.
The first night at sea is expected to be a bumpy one, with the winds turning to the south/south-east at 15 to 25 knots and one to two metre waves on a sea-driven swell.
Christian Beck, owner/skipper of the 100-foot LawConnect, one of the favourites for line honours, believes the first 24 hours will be crucial for the maxis and is relishing the prospect of a rough and tumble ride south.
“That’s our best conditions. We love a good hard southerly,” Beck said at the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia Friday.
Mark Bradford, skipper of Black Jack, is the only one of the three 100-foot skippers to have tasted line honours success in the Sydney Hobart, but as crew on Investec Loyal in 2011.
“Christian’s boat should be the best performer in the first 24 hours of the race,” Bradford admitted. “Then it will be a question of who can play catch-up the quickest after that.”
“But the boats are built for different things all together.”
“Ours is the best light air boat. Christian’s is the best heavier boat. And Witty’s boat sits right in the middle of both of us. So, yeah … luck comes into that.”
Visit the tracker page to keep an eye on the fleet as they make their way down to Hobart.