The crew of Indec Merit, competing in Saturday's Indec Consulting Melbourne to Hobart Race, have thrown down the gauntlet to Nokia competing in the Rolex Sydney Hobart Race

The annual 480-mile Indec Consulting Melbourne to Hobart Race start at 1200 on 27 December. David Gotze, managing director of Indec Consulting will be co-skippering the Volvo 60 Indec Merit, with previous owner Ian Treleavan. Gotze commented: ‘We are looking forward to a serious attempt at breaking the line honours record.’ As an added incentive the crew of Indec Merit have thrown down the gauntlet to Nokia who will be racing in the Rolex Sydney Hobart Race leaving Sydney tomorrow (26 December), with a keg of beer the wager for the boat that makes it to Hobart first.

Indec Merit broke the Gosford to Lord Howe Island Race record in 2002 with average speeds of over 12 knots. The predicted breeze for the Indec Melbourne to Hobart Race will potentially provide the conditions for the Volvo 60 to break the 7-year record of 1 day 23 hours 15 minutes and 38 seconds, previously set by Peter Hansen on Future Shock in 1996.

Prowler another boat that will be aiming to be on the podium in Hobart is part of the 17-boat fleet. Owned and skippered by Christian Jackson, who was recently awarded Rookie Ocean Racer of the Year at the CYCA in Sydney, Prowler was line honours winner in the 2002 Melbourne to Launceston Race, which uses the same start line as the Indec Melbourne to Hobart Race.

No Fearr, Phil Coombs’s Farr 39 will line up in Melbourne this year after racing in last year’s Rolex Sydney to Hobart Race and also attempted this year’s Melbourne to Osaka double-handed race.

2003 will be the 22nd consecutive Melbourne to Hobart race for veteran entrant Yoko who has been skippered in each race by owner Robin Hewitt. Yoko a Miller 51 will be battling for handicap honours in the PHD division.