The Audi Sydney Offshore Newcastle Yacht Race, organised by the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, is less than 48 hours away and the Bureau of Meteorology has issued its weather forecast for the fourth edition of the Race.
Stephen Ainsworth’s Loki, the current Audi Sydney Offshore Newcastle Yacht race record holder
Michael Logan, Senior Duty Forecaster for the Bureau of Meteorology, delivered the forecast of light east to south-east winds of 5-10 knots for the start of the race on Sydney Harbour, with the fleet experiencing 10-15 knots east to south-east offshore on Friday with a one metre southerly swell. This means that the race record of 15 hrs, 57 mins and 53 seconds, held by Stephen Ainsworth’s Reichel/Pugh 63 Loki, set in 2009, should still stand.
As the fleet makes its way along the Hunter Coast, it will have to contend with a south-easterly swell, with winds turning easterly up to 10 knots. For Saturday, the breeze will be from the east tending north- easterly 5 to 10 knots, then becoming south-east to south-westerly during the morning with a southerly swell of 1.5 metres.
For those yachts sailing on Saturday evening, conditions will freshen with winds tending north to north-easterly up to 15 knots during the evening.
'I think our record is safe for another year – it will be a tough two sail reaching race,' said Ainsworth after attending the race briefing this evening.
'The danger to avoid is getting parked up near Newcastle – the breeze will be light and flicky just like the Flinders Islet race in February this year. It’s not exactly ideal conditions but it will be a classic ocean race,' Ainsworth concluded.
The Audi Sydney Offshore Newcastle Yacht Race commences at 12 noon on Friday 8 April, with a fleet of 19 taking to the start line just off Steele Point, near Vaucluse.
This is the last race in the CYCA’s offshore season 2010/11 and current leader of the Blue Water Pointscore, Loki only needs to finish this race to be named the CYCA Blue Water Champion 2010/2011
For Colin Woods, owner of the Cookson 50 Pretty Fly III playing the wind shifts will be the key. 'It will be tough to keep the boat moving and try to find the lane of breeze; if we find that we’re going to do well.' Woods is currently placed fourth in the Blue Water Pointscore and is second in the Cape Byron Series (the ORCi division of the Blue Water Pointscore).
For Andrew Wenham, owner of the Volvo 60 Southern Excellence he is hoping to improve on his results from last year with his previous boat SES Inch By Winch, which finished second in PHS. 'It will be very light out there – we’d prefer the heavier stuff, but I’m happy just to be sailing.'
The 213 nautical mile Category 2 race takes the fleet to a laid mark around 20 nautical miles south east of Crowdy Head before the yachts head for Newcastle and the finish in the Hunter River.
The CYCA will be using a new satellite transponder for this event that will allow family, friends, club members and yachting enthusiasts to follow the race via the yacht tracking page of the race website.
Each yacht will be fitted with a Yellowbrick yacht tracker that will obtain a position using the Iridium satellite network. The Yellowbrick technology has been successfully used by other yacht races including the Fastnet Race and Pittwater to Coffs Harbour Yacht Race.
The Yellowbrick tracker units have access to over 66 satellites worldwide that will continue to deliver yacht positions to the race website every 10 minutes. Line honours positions and provisional handicap results can be viewed at any time from the Standings section of the race website.
Colin Woods’ Cookson 50 Pretty Fly III, currently second in the Cape Byron Series