A long range Ingles Sydney Gold Coast Race forecast from the Bureau of Meteorology today indicates Brindabella's race record set in 1999 may be out of reach to the two major contenders - the 98-footers Skandia and Konica Minolta - for another year.
The forecast for the start on Saturday at 1.00pm from Sydney Harbour is for a light south sou'easterly breeze of 5-10 knots, which is expected to freshen over the northern NSW coast through Sunday as the high-pressure system tracks northwards.
According to the Bureau, a south-westerly front with forecast winds of 15-20 knots is due across the race course either Monday or Tuesday, which is good news for the smaller boats chasing the handicap trophies.
"The different weather models I'm looking at are still a bit confused,"
according to the skipper of the 30-footer The Cone of Silence, James NEILL, "but at this stage it looks like there is something promising for everybody"
These conditions are unlikely to threaten the race record of 27 hours 35 minutes and 03 seconds for the 384 nautical mile race set by George SNOW and his Jutson 79 Brindabella in 1999 but the running and reaching conditions should mean a pretty quick trip north for all says CYCA Sailing Committee Chairman and Sailing Master on Ichi Ban, Roger HICKMAN.
"With the forecast freshening conditions in the north, the big boats should get rich quicker but with a front due through early next week, the hunt for the all important handicap honours should rest with the smaller boats.
"Typically this race is extremely cold but it looks like it will be a little more comfortable, although perhaps a bit wet, given the forecast south to south easters,"
Race crews from the 75 yachts expected on the start line this Saturday will be officially briefed by the Bureau of Meteorology on the race forecast tomorrow evening, Thursday July 29, at 6.00pm at the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia and then again on the morning of the start, July 31, at 8.30am.
Every yacht in the fleet will be tracked via the official web site at the address below that will display continuous positioning of the fleet and handicap placings as well as all the latest news.