For thousands of Australia's offshore sailors Christmas Day is really just the day before Boxing Day and for every year since 1945 that has been the day that the Sydney to Hobart yacht race starts.
Some of the 2012 Rolex Sydney Hobart fleet at the turning mark
While for much of the world it’s still Christmas Day, it’s Boxing Day in Sydney and the day of the start of the 628 nautical mile blue water classic, the 69th Rolex Sydney Hobart race. Sunrise is at 6:43am
Yesterday afternoon the baggage carousels at Kingsford Smith airport in Sydney were awash with sail bags as crews flew in from the nether regions, Auckland, Melbourne, and Brisbane and beyond.
Last night there were lots of quiet crew dinners. This morning the queues will be up the stairs to the final weather briefings in the CYCA'a Freya Room, the traditonal pre-start rums, the media scrums and the dockside family farewells.
Later today, December 26th 2012, (Boxing Day) 1pm local time (UTC+11 hours) - 94 boats from every state and territory of Australia and New Caledonia, Hong Kong, Singapore, Cyprus, Germany and 12 Clipper 70's from the UK, will face the starter in three rows just off Sydney Harbour's Shark Island for the 69th annual race.
After lots of discussion and some foot stamping, about the start line wind direction, the weather gods voted and at 4am the southerly hit Sydney, blowing at almost 30 knot from the south off Botany Bay.
But it will swing quickly, its seems there will be a reaching start with the wind from the east south east blowing at around 15 knots, so it should be a supermaxi procession towards the Heads.
After that it will 'Will get messy' as meteorologist Roger 'Clouds Badham comments.
Now to Coffee before the Melee.