A light, downwind start is the current forecast for the start of the Rolex Sydney Hobart Race on Boxing Day

Although there looks to be tame conditions forecast for the start of the Rolex Sydney Hobart Race, the chances of a spinnaker start on Boxing Day are looking more and more likely. While this is good news for race organisers and the lightweight yachts in the 57-strong fleet, skippers of the heavier boats are collectively groaning at the long-range forecast – and hoping that it will be modified over the next four days.

The 1300 start of Australia’s premier ocean race could see a spectacular spinnaker run down the harbour with the light sou’easter predicted to stay in for most of the afternoon before the north-easterly sea breeze kicks in later in the day. The first night at sea should be quite comfortable for competing crews with a 10-15 knot west sou’wester replacing the sea breeze and holding until a high that is currently centered in the Great Australian Bight descends on the racecourse.

Brett Gage a senior meteorologist commented on the forecast: “The quicker boats could ride the west sou’wester all the way to Hobart before the high moves in but for the smaller boats, it could be quite a long race.”

Should these conditions ensue, the big boat skippers could be collecting their fair share of silverware for handicap places while the small boat skippers are pulling the warm bottle of champagne from the bilges to celebrate New Year’s Eve at sea.