Latest forecast shows a lively start for the Sydney Hobart on Boxing Day 22/12/06

The Cruising Yacht Club of Australia is continuing to monitor the pre-race weather forecasts provided by the Bureau of Meteorology in the lead up to the start of the 2006 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race on Tuesday 26 December.

The Bureau of Meteorology’s updated forecast released this morning shows the weather leading up to race start is still very dynamic. The forecast predicted a strong low may form over eastern Bass Strait on Christmas Day with gale force south-westerly winds. However, this low is expected to have moved to the east by the time the race frontrunners reach this area.

The Bureau’s latest computer model guidance has the low slightly further south than described at the race media briefing on Wednesday. This will result in a more westerly, rather than south-west to southerly flow during the early part of the race. The low is expected to move away on a south-east path into the Tasman Sea during Tuesday and Wednesday and the gales near the centre will move out of Bass Strait.

The strong southerly winds east of Tasmania will generate an increasing southerly swell up the south coast of NSW later on Tuesday and Wednesday.

The race should start in a fresh to strong westerly wind with fresh south-west winds generally moderating along the NSW coast during Wednesday and local sea breezes may develop. Yachts approaching Bass Strait on Wednesday may see another burst of fresh to strong W/SW winds.

The Commodore of the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia said today that the Club will, as always, continue to monitor forecasts and consult closely with the Bureau of Meteorology in the lead up to and during the race.

“The Bureau’s latest forecast has the worst conditions moving east before the fleet reaches Bass Strait, however, the seas will still be steep,” said Commodore Lavis today.

“It will be a tough race and the fleet is always warned to prepare for and expect all conditions,” he added.