Loss inspires Oats action

Wild Oats
Wild Oats

OCTAGENARIAN Syd Fischer's first Sydney to Hobart was in 1963, and it was almost his last.

He was in an 11m boat called Malohi which almost came to grief on rocks called the Hippolytes off Tasmania's east coast.

Thankfully the boat's owner, who was laying on the bow to keep a lookout, spotted the rocks at the last minute through a thick fog.

They were the days when the crew navigated by a compass in the bottom of the cockpit ... as well as a healthy dose of intuition.

Fischer has experienced everything Mother Nature can throw at a sailing fleet in the intervening years, including being turned back five times.

He also enjoyed the thrill of crossing the line first in 1988, 1990, 1992 and again last year with Investec-Loyal, and will be on board Loyal again in this year's race which gets underway at 1pm Sydney time today.

With the weather forecast being one of the best in recent years, Fischer was able to enjoy yesterday's Christmas lunch ahead of what could well be the fastest race in the history of the event.

"There's nothing in this forecast that poses any real threat to the fleet. It looks as though it's going to be a fairly easy race," he said.

"I don't think we're going to be knocked about too much."

Skippers and navigators from the 77 competing yachts have been told the race would start in a fresh sou-easter which will provide a spectacular run under spinnaker down Sydney Harbour.

The breeze is tipped to lighten off once the fleet makes progrerss down the NSW coast, before a 20-knot north-eastern swings in on Thursday morning which will allow for a lightning-fast run down to Tasmania for the bigger boats.

Unfortunately for the smaller vessels, the wind is forecast to swing westerly on Thurdsay night which will make it tough for them over the concluding stages of the race, and could even make it possible for the line honours winner to also take handicap honours.

The skipper of race favourite Wild Oats XI, Mark Richards, summed up the likely strategy of the supermaxis by saying, "It'll be peddle to the metal - don't back off - and take the shortest route to Hobart."

Topics:  sailing sydney to hobart sydney to hobart yacht race

The Ipswich stamp fair has it all licked

RARE METAL: Dave Roberts with his aluminium Tongan stamps from 1965.

Ipswich stamp fair will feature rare and unusual stamps

Culture feast brightens city

COLOUR: This year's Diwali Festival was a hit.

Diwali Festival embraces happiness and joy

LETTER Monty Python circus with squirrels marrying squirrels

Squirrel in Yellowstone National Park during summer.  - User Contributed

God help us with the current crop of egomaniacs in Canberra

Local Partners

Top floor teams take out The Block's terrace week

Kim and Chris pictured on their winning outdoor terrace in a scene from The Block.

RIVALS Kim and Chris and Julia and Sasha tie in final week of work.

Bob Dylan slammed as 'arrogant' for Nobel silence

Nobel Prize winner Bob Dylan.

Singer the controversial winner of literature Nobel

Shannen Doherty reveals fear of dying in post on chemo

Actor Shannen Doherty shared this image of her lying in a hospital bed after a chemotherapy session.

Actor has been fighting cancer since 2015

Eddie Redmayne's stage fright on latest Harry Potter film

Actor Eddie Redmayne stars in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.

Actor felt like kid again when he got to film with a wand

Salma Hayek: 'Trump planted story because I turned him down'

Actor Salma Hayek is the latest woman who says U.S presidential nominee Donald Trump acted inappropriately.

Salma Hayek latest woman to accuse Trump of misconduct

Brisbane snake catcher shows who's the Boss

Brisbane snake catcher Julia Baker returns in season two of Snake Boss.

Hit show Snake Boss is back for another season

Hit songwriter's Noosa mansion on market

SPECIAL PLACE: The Cintamani estate is going to tender, marketed by Tom Offermann Real Estate.

Is this Queensland's best property?

Kiwi siblings snap up Dotcom mansion for $32.5m

The new toy company owners of the Coatesville mansion want replace any controversy with positivity and fun. Photo / Barfoot and Thompson

The trio paid $32.5 million for the property in June

New $200 million development will create 580 jobs

Cassie And Josh with baby Alfie and daughter Andee. They have bought at new Lennox Head development Epiq.

Majority of new positions will be given to Northern Rivers locals

Cherrabah's mega resort plans axed

PLANS for a massive development at Cherrabah have been scrapped.

What our mayor thinks of the new draft SEQPlan

The plan to use the innovative technology as part of the new Maroochydore CBD was cemented on site today when Mayor Mark Jamieson and Envac Asia Region president Chun Yong Ha formally signed the contract for the $20 million underground waste collection system.

New plan accommodates Sunshine Coast Council's vision for growth.

Dusit Thani finance crisis 'just a small hiccup'

ON TRACK: Springfield Land Chairman, Maha Sinnathamby, Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale, Developer Richard Turner and Springfield Land Deputy Chairman, Bob Sharpless, at the recent resort sod turning ceremony.

Property developer says project remains firmly on track