Some of the bigger boats lead the field in Sydney Harbour just after the start of the Sydney Hobart yacht race Thursday, Dec. 26, 2013. Race officials are warning the fleet to expect gale-force winds and waves of up to 12 meters (40 feet) during the race that covers 628 nautical miles, or 1,163 kilometers (723 miles). (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft)
A 22-year-old record is under threat in this year’s Melbourne to Davenport yacht race.
With favourable wind conditions, a fast start is predicted in Sunday’s race which gets underway from Portsea.
A northerly is set to greet the Mornington Peninsular which should help the 22 starters who are expected to take full advantage of the conditions.
Once the fleet is clear of the Heads, the boats are expected to quicken thanks to a moderate south-westerly wind on the beam as they track south-east to the Tasmanian coast.
The battle for line honours is likely to be between Paul Buchholz’s Cookson 50 Extasea and Gerry Cantwell’s Carrera S.
Both boats could threaten the long-standing record of 19 hours 32 minutes and 56 seconds, set by Prowler way back in 1998.
The battle for handicap honours will also be intense, with contenders including Peter Davison’s Archambault 40 RC Arcadia, Matt Fahey’s Sydney 38 Faster Forward and Scott Robinson’s Sequest RP36, How Bizarre.
The Melbourne-Davenport is the only interstate yacht race on the sailing calendar over the Christmas period with the cancellation of this year’s Sydney Hobart because of the coronavirus cluster on Sydney’s northern beaches.