The Rolex Sydney Hobart Line Honours race record is there for the taking in this year’s rce.
That is the view of Mark Richards, skipper of the nine-time Line Honours-winning maxi, Hamilton Island Wild Oats . . . so long as the forecast of downwind conditions prevail through to the finish, and that there is still a breeze down the Derwent River to the finish.
For the four maxis in the 628 nautical mile race, organised by the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia (CYCA), the forecast sets the scene for a lightning fast run down the coast.
The Line Honours record is 1 day, 9 hours, 15 minutes, 24 seconds, set by LDV Comanche (now Andoo Comanche) in 2017.
Richards and the Hamilton Island Wild Oats crew are not alone in smiling about the forecast.
Spirits are high on board the three other maxis in the fleet that numbers 109 boats – Andoo Comanche, Black Jack and LawConnect.
Mark Bradford, skipper of the Peter Harburg-owned Black Jack, which won Line Honours last year, predicts a nail-biting race between the maxis right up to the run down the Derwent River.
John Winning Jr, skipper of Andoo Comanche, was rubbing his hands over the forecast.
“We are pretty happy,” he said. “I was down in Hobart last weekend, checking out the local area and the Derwent and the forecast was for a good breeze down the Derwent, so that should be good.”
Chris Lewis, the American navigator on Christian Beck’s LawConnect, is thrilled about the prospect of a high-speed race south.
“It’s just going to be so incredibly exciting to see all the boats – not just us – ripping down the coast. It’s going to be quite a sleigh ride,” said Lewis, for whom this will be a fourth start.”