Eight days out from the start of the Rolex Sydney Hobart race, a race in which a number of Irish sailors are participating, and there is no solid indication as to what weather pattern the 91–yacht fleet will experience. The race begins in six day's time on Boxing Day from Sydney Harbour.
Barry Hurley and Kenneth Rumball from Dun Laoghaire will sail again on the Beneteau First 40 Breakthrough, a fourth time for Hurley. The pair will join an Australian crew and were 11th overall in the 2014 race, the best result yet for Hurley.
This morning, Australia's internationally acclaimed yachting meteorologist, Roger Badham, had one message for all crews in the 628-nautical mile classic: "In the past two days the two main long range weather models have swapped their outlooks. That's come about because of the complexity of the developing weather. All I can say is, don't read too much into it yet because things are certain to change again."
However, Badham added that the one likely scenario at this time was that race record holder, Wild Oats XI, or one to the three other supermaxis in the fleet, could set a record for the course. "Today the indications are that there will be a solid north-easterly wind at start time, so the yachts should enjoy fast sailing south from Sydney. However there is the chance for an explosive frontal low to develop in the Tasman Sea the first afternoon. But it would only be short-lived; the big boats would be back on record pace very quickly."
The Oatley family's Wild Oat's XI will this year be going for her ninth line honours in 12 starts in the Hobart race. The 30-metre long "Silver Bullet" has broken the course record on two occasions, her latest mark being 1 day 18 hours 23 minutes and 12 seconds, which was set in 2012.
Badham's current projections indicate the first of the big boats will reach the finish line on Hobart's Derwent River in about one day 15 hours