A record-breaking finish has been predicted for the 2017 Sydney To Hobart yacht race, with organisers describing the latest edition of Australia’s most famous nautical event as as “astonishingly fast race.”
Supermaxi yacht LDV Commanche is currently in top spot for line honours, followed by Wild Oats XI, Black Jack, Info Track (formerly Perpetual Loyal), and Beau Geste.
At 4am this morning, LDV Commanche was a solid 48 nautical miles ahead of where last year’s record-breaker Perpetual Loyal was at the same time in 2016’s race.
Even more stunning is the fact the six leading yachts were ahead of Perpetual Loyal’s pace this morning, leading some to speculate we could even see the leader’s arrival in Hobart before the clock hits midnight.
Discussing the need to balance racing for an insane record and racing to beat other rapid competitors, Commanche skipper Jim Cooney said “it would be very attractive to finish on the 27th rather than the 28th but we have to finish first to be able to do that.”
However, Wild Oats XI’s team said that predicted wind conditions seemed to favour their vessel in the final stretch, potentially setting up a tight finish.
The ABC reports early predictions saw Commanche crossing the line no earlier than 7pm. If her crew does miraculously make it across at the line 7pm, they’d be a full seven hours faster than Perpetual Loyal’s 2016 time.
Race organisers say predicted wind conditions to seem conducive to a record, but ominously reminded punters of the unpredictability of the race’s final stretch along the River Derwent.
What lies ahead in the Derwent? The Bureau of Met is forecasting north to north-easterly winds, 10 to 15 knots this evening. That would be enough for a race record, but it is the Derwent …
— Rolex Sydney Hobart (@rshyr) December 27, 2017
Blimey. Keep an eye on how this one pans out when the evening rolls around.