• Jason Regan

LawConnect the boat to chase to Hobart

Forecast strong southerlies are set to give LawConnect the early edge over rivals supermaxis in the line honour battle in the Sydney-Hobart race.

LawConnect during the 2021 SOLAS Big Boat Challenge on Sydney Harbour. (AAP Image/Dan Himbrechts)

LawConnect looms as the boat to chase in the battle for Sydney-Hobart line honours, with the forecast strong southerlies on the first night potentially giving it the edge over the other two supermaxis.

The Bureau of Meteorology predicts winds of around 15 to 20 knots come start time on Boxing Day afternoon, with the possibility of some thunderstorm activity offshore.

South to south-easterly winds of 15 to 25 knots possibly getting up to 30, are forecast for later on Sunday afternoon, with the potential for strong wind warnings.

"We love a hard southerly to start with because that's our best conditions, perhaps gives us an ability to get out a little bit," LawConnect skipper and owner Christian Beck said.

David Witt, skipper of Hong Kong supermaxi SHK Scallywag 100, suggested the key to success would be be finding the right balance of how hard to push the boats in heavy conditions, with the risk of suffering race-ending damage.

"100-footers don't like to go upwind in 25 to 30 knots, so I think you've got to stay in the race for the first 24 hours, that's probably the biggest part and then see what happens," Witt said.
"In the first part of the race you can put the pedal down and lead and break and you're out.
"You don't push the pedal enough, you are too far behind."

Lighter more variable breezes forecast for Monday evening and Tuesday would favour the third supermaxi, Black Jack, which is representing Monaco.

"Christian's boat should be the best performer in the first 24 hours and then us," Black Jack skipper Mark Bradford said.
"I guess its going to be just who can play catch up the quickest after that.
"The (three supermaxi) boats are built for different things altogether, ours is the best light air boat, Christian's is the best heavy air boat and Witty's boat sits right in the middle of both of us."

All of the 93 boats in the fleet still had one hurdle to overcome on Friday, as they awaited the results of crew PCR tests taken on Thursday.

"We've got a crew of 18, any of us could get dropped out testing positive and that will throw a massive spanner in the works," Witt said.

Crew members have been advised to ensure they can be reached by NSW Health if they should be identified as a close contact while on their way to Tasmania. This will ensure they can take any required precautions on arrival, such as testing or quarantine.

To ensure participants meet their obligation to register, the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia Club is requiring each yacht owner to make a declaration in the days before departure that all their crew have been approved to travel and have provided the required vaccination and testing evidence via Tas e-Travel.