by Steph Juleff
The final weather forecast issued by the weather bureau does not bode well for skippers and crews competing in the Melbourne to Hobart Eastcoaster, Melbourne to Hobart Westcoaster and Melbourne to Launceston with strong wind warning and shifty breeze patterns expected in these races.
Mal Eaton’s Celeste with seconds to spare at the line - Ocean Race of Victoria (ORCV) Tassie Trio 2012
The final weather briefing for the Melbourne to Hobart Eastcoaster, Melbourne to Hobart Westcoaster and Melbourne to Launceston has thrown up some challenging weather conditions for competitors.
Currently, the location for the start point near Portsea is experiencing strong northerly winds, expected to stay in until some time between 11 and two, when a southerly change will then blow in through waters local to the heads. The weather bureau has issued a strong wind warning to accompany this change.
Race director Don Fraser has completed final safety checks for the fleet, inspecting equipment and rafts on each boat. The experienced crews will be well within their capabilities in tackling these conditions, however it could result in massive changes of strategy on deck as the race commences.
If the change comes through, the race could be pushing through south westerlies of up to 30 knots by early evening and could result in massive planning changes as crews take on the already difficult task of navigating their way through the heads.
The skipper that reads the weather best will gain a distinct advantage, and the start should see some serious action cutting through the three metre swells already being seen in local waters.