One of Daniel Forster’s favourite shots of the Rolex Sydney Hobart
The Bureau of Meteorology gave its race outlook to skippers and crews today at the official race briefing, which must be attended by four crewmembers from each boat.
When the 1pm gun sounds this Sunday, 26 December, the 87 boat fleet can expect a light harbour start to their 628 nautical mile journey. The first of several fronts is expected to hit the fleet during the first night, with winds dialling up to 35 knots and squalls driving the wind strength higher.
The bureau’s NSW regional director Barry Hanstrum told media that crews should prepare for tough conditions.
“Things will change very dramatically on Monday evening with the arrival of an old fashioned southerly buster off the New South Wales coast,” said Hanstrum.
“There’s a 20-30 knot southerly wind expected to be around Wollongong at 8pm and that will herald a period of strong winds and rough seas for the next 36 hours or so.”
Conditions should temper by Tuesday, which will slow the boats at the back of the fleet and potentially rob them of a chance to be rewarded for the hard slog south with a trophy haul at the finish, once finishing times are corrected to produce the overall winner.
Bass Strait has a reputation: it’s where cold wind from the Southern Ocean meets with the warm waters and air of the Tasman Sea over a shallow shelf.