Wild Oats XI will line up again in the Sydney to Hobart.
Wild Oats XI will line up again in the Sydney to Hobart. PAUL MILLER

Forecast indicates fast Sydney to Hobart

AN adrenaline-pumping ride down the NSW coast at the start of the Sydney to Hobart could result in a new race record in the 72nd edition of the famed ocean classic.

The long-term forecast for the race is indicating an ultra-fast start with nor'easterlies looking likely for the opening stanza of the race.

This will see the fleet fly down the coast after the 1pm start at break neck speed with the front runners on, or ahead, of record pace early.

But top yachting meteorologist Roger Badham is still unsure if a southerly change will end the supermaxis hopes of record glory.

"It's still to early to say for sure. There's just too much more detail to fill in yet,” he said.

"But it does look fast and at this stage, not too hard.”

That's good news for the fleet of 91 set to leave Sydney Harbour on Boxing Day.

Last year the fleet was hit by a strong southerly front the first night at sea which decimated boats.

Both Perpetual Loyal and Wild Oats suffered race ending damage in the tough conditions.

The US yacht Comanche also suffered damage in the storm but managed to race on to claim the fastest time honours.

Comanche opted not to return to Australia to defend her line honours crown with both Wild Oats and Perpetual Loyal determined to make amends for their early exits a year ago.

Wild Oats is the owner of the race record of one day 18 hours 23 minutes and 12 seconds which she set in 2012.

There is nothing in the early forecast to indicate there could be a repeat of the shocking conditions which claimed six lives in 1998.

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