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Wild Oats XI tips race record could go

AAP logoAAP 22/12/2016 Adrian Warren

Wild Oats XI navigator Juan Vila says the weather forecasts for this year's race suggest his supermaxi's existing Sydney to Hobart line honours record could fall by three hours or more.

The forecast appears to favour big boats in the battle for handicap honours.

North to north-easterly winds of 15 to 20 knots, freshening to 30 knots, are forecast for the start of the race on Monday.

A gusty south south-westerly wind change is then tipped to move up the southern NSW coast late that day.

North to north-easterly winds are set to return sometime on Tuesday and strengthen on Wednesday, with a west or south-westerly change on Thursday or Friday.

Spaniard Vila, who is about to embark on the race for a third time, said different weather models suggested the winner could finish in around 38-39 hours.

Wild Oats XI set the present record of one day 18 hours 23 minutes and 12 seconds in 2012, in one of her record eight line honours wins.

Her average speed then was just 15 knots and earlier this year she averaged 21 when she set a new mark for the 350 nautical mile Brisbane to Keppel race.

The top speed the yacht has recorded to date is 35 knots.

"It (the prospect of a race record) is exciting because that means if you get there first, you might have double satisfaction - to win the race and then set up a new record,' Vila told AAP.

"The record could be in danger and obviously we need to make sure we're there first because that means we keep our own record."

Adrienne Cahalan, the navigator aboard the TP52 Ragamuffin, said competitors from last year would have learnt a lot after the southerly that saw numerous retirements on the first night.

Cahalan, who will become the first female to do the race 25 times, said people would have learnt about not being too greedy in leaving their spinnaker up too long before the front comes through.

"If you looked at when the boats retired, it was in the first three or four hours of that southerly hitting and getting past that point is going to be tricky," Cahalan said.

"On this forecast it is favouring the big boats, because they will be under spinnaker, they don't have the risk on the 29th of the next front coming through."

One boat attacking this year's Hobart with out any spinnakers in her sail inventory is the revolutionary supermaxi CQS.

"At the moment the weather forecast looks reasoanably good for us," CQS skipper Ludde Ingvall said.

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