Less than three days before the start of the legendary Rolex Sydney Hobart Race; crews have been readying the yachts for many weeks and mother nature seems still undecided as to what she will dole out on the fleet this year. One thing is certain, it will not be easy; conflicting weather forecasts for tBass Strait will test the 88 yacht fleet and likely result in large swells. The larger yachts will certainly manage better, but will face the challenges earlier than smaller 30 footers at the back of the fleet. Canadian sailmaker Nick Beaudoin will be trimming headsails on the 100 foot Super Maxi Investec Loyal in their attempt to take line honours away from perennial winner Wild Oats XI. Australian solo round-the-world sailor, 18-year-old Jessica Watson, will participate in her first Sydney-Hobert as she skippers the youngest crew ever in the race's 66 year history. Although all ten members on board the pink clad Sydney 38 Ella Bache are 21 years or younger, they hold a significant level of experience with many Sydney-Hobart and Fastnet races under their belt. Should be exciting to watch; stay with us over the holidays with the best coverage from down under!
South of Tasmania, the Global Ocean Race fleet leaders are finally encountering easier racing condition; although sustained 25-knot breezes with 30+ gusts are still challenging, they certainly present a major improvement over regular 60-knots blasts earlier this week. As a result, the GOR 24-hour distance record was broken by race leader Colman and Goodchild on their Akilaria RC2 Cessna Citation; but the back of the fleet is catching up as the front slows down. There will be no rest for the Christmas holidays on board the yachts, as current weather forecasts will keep front runner teams on their toes.
The entire Volvo Ocean Race fleet is now off the map... That's right, except for Team Sanya who have suspended racing earlier this week because of rig damage, the fleet has entered the Stealth Zone to protect them from the threat of piracy off the African East coast. Team Telefonica has moved into the lead on a more easterly course, but we are not sure exactly where their are going, other than a safe heaven port, where the fleet will be loaded onto a lift ship that will take them safely to the Persian Gulf where they will resume racing.
Mark you calendar for the Toronto International Boat Show, January 14th to 22nd at the Direct Energy Centre; more details next week!
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