Batten down the hatches and take your winter woollies! That was the advice the Bureau of Meteorology gave to crews at Sunday's briefing for the Telstra Sydney to Hobart Race which starts at 1pm on Boxing Day.
Andrew Treloar, senior forecaster with the Bureau in Sydney, told a packed race briefing in Sydney that light to moderate winds have been forecast for the spectacular start from Sydney Harbour on Tuesday, and as they sail down the New South Wales South Coast overnight. However, once they reach Bass Strait the fleet could encounter strong, possibly gale force south-westerly headwinds.
The major influence of the weather is a cold front expected through Bass Strait on Boxing Day (Tuesday) night with a further series of fronts embedded in the south-westerly airstream through to Thursday. As the bulk of the 82 boat fleet crosses the Strait on Wednesday, the strong west to south-west winds, probably reaching gale force, are forecast for waters south of Gabo Island.
The Bureau of Meteorology forecasts that as the fleet sails across Bass Strait and down the East Coast of Tasmania strong to gale force winds should tend more southerly, bringing cold air, possibly even snow on Tasmania mountains. However, the good news is that the Bureau has forecast a sunny day in Sydney for Boxing Day, with a light south-easter battling against a morning land breeze for supremacy Ð if the south-easterly wins, then the fleet should have a sparkling spinnaker run to the Heads. During the afternoon, the southeaster will freshen before backing to the north-east or north-west overnight and with a three knot southerly current running, the fleet should still have a fast run down the East Coast of mainland Australia to Bass Strait Ð with some tough sailing ahead.
Further information including weather forecasts from: sydneytohobart.telstra.com
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