Uncertainty and unsettled are the words surrounding the forecast for this year’s Sydney-Hobart, but the race record isn’t likely to be threatened.
Gabrielle Woodhouse, a forecaster for the NSW Bureau of Meteorology said it looks like a trough is going to move across the coast on Christmas Day or Boxing Day and the race is likely to start in southerly winds.
Depending the timing of the trough she said there could be north-easterly winds turning southerly during the early hours of the race.
“Once we see the southerly winds we are going to see couple of showers and there is a very slight risk we could see some thunderstorm activity up over the open water,” Woodhouse said.
“Once the fleet starts to move further south, the likelihood of seeing some showers and storms decreases quite rapidly and we’ll see generally cloudy skies with that ridge of high pressure.”
Woodhouse hosed down concerns when questioned about the possibility of more storms like the ones that buffeted Sydney last weekend.
“Yesterday (Sunday) we had some extra dynamics that played to really fast moving storms,” Woodhouse said.
“I’m not seeing the support at this point of time for a similar scenario on Boxing Day, but things can change.”
But she said as the race progressed, there could be a ridge of high pressure.
“This is going to provide a little bit of a challenge as we get into the latter half of Boxing day and during the 27th and 28th because those winds are going to be a little bit more light and variable,” Woodhouse added.
LDV Comanche’s 2017 race record of one day nine hours 15 minutes 24 seconds is unlikely to be threatened if the forecast doesn’t change.
“Its an interesting forecast, lots of uncertainties,” Chris Wild, navigator on supermaxi SHK Scallywag 100, said.
“With the forecast as it stands today it doesn’t look record conditions, particularly when you’ve got those transitions.
“What this forecast presents is opportunities to be in the wrong spot or be in the right spot. Its going to be quite a tactical battle up with the supermaxis.”
Asked for his take on the forecast, Tony Mutter, sailing master aboard supermaxi LawConnect said, “It all seems very unsettled at the moment, the models aren’t really lining up with each other.”