The Line Honours race record is there for the taking in this year’s Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, so long as the forecast of downwind conditions prevail through to the finish.
That is the view of Mark Richards, skipper of the nine-time Line Honours-winning maxi, Hamilton Island Wild Oats.
Richards made the declaration on the day prior to the start after Gabrielle Woodhouse from the NSW Bureau of Meteorology confirmed the forecast of north-easterly winds for the 77th edition.
Woodhouse said the race start in Sydney Harbour at 1pm should see north to north-easterly winds of about 10-15 knots, with an increase to 20 knots as the fleet turns south out of Sydney Heads. The winds should strengthen on day two and three, by which time the big boats should have finished in Hobart.
For the four maxis in the 628 nautical mile race, organised by the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia (CYCA), the forecast sets the scene for a lightning fast run down the coast.
The Line Honours record is 1 day, 9 hours, 15 minutes, 24 seconds, set by LDV Comanche (now Andoo Comanche) in 2017.
Richards believes the record could be beatable, so long as the northerly winds continue at strength and that there is still a breeze down the Derwent River to the finish.
The start of the race will be broadcast live on the official race website for viewers around the world.