Sydney to Hobart ‘could be closest in years’

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The 2013 Sydney to Hobart is set to be one of the closest and most exciting in history, according to a leading race official.

With variable and shifting weather conditions expected on the journey south, the Commodore of the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia says this year’s battle for handicap honours is set to be very tightly contested.

“It is so wide open. This will possibly be one of the most exciting ever races to watch,” Howard Piggott told AAP.

“It is going to develop on the racecourse and the weather will play a very big part.

“The weather will come through in patterns. There will be a weather pattern on the east-coast of Australia and that will definitely change when they get to Bass Strait, then (there will be another pattern on) the east coast of Tasmania.

“How they handle the transition between these weather patterns will mean a lot more boats will come into the mix.

“It should be great race. Even those competitors who fancy themselves as hot favourites are still pretty hesitant because there are so many opportunities.”

According to weather forecasts, the race could start under 10 to 15 knot nor-easters on Boxing Day, with the winds freshening as the fleet makes it way down the NSW south coast.

The north to north-easterly winds are expected to get up to around 25 to 30 knots on Friday, before the first significant change later that night.

The wind is forecast to move around to the west early on December 28.

“The weather looks favourable for safe yachting heading south to Hobart,” Piggott said.

“There will be challenges. There might be southern fronts but these boats are ocean racing yachts and this is the challenge and adventure they want.”

The Commodore nominated Patrice, Ichi Ban and Beau Geste as among the boats to keep an eye on.

© AAP 2014
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