Sport

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



REVEALED: The suburb where snake bites are 'common'

Tigger was bitten by an eastern brown earlier this month in Collingwood Park.

VET'S tips on how to know when your pet has been bitten

How a teen who stole $45,000 ended up with $11

Money.

Thief jailed for taking thousands from Ipswich employer

VIDEO: Instructor has a harsh lesson for honking drivers

HARD LESSON: Pro Driver owner David Cullen is encouraging drivers to be patient.

Why honking at learner drivers isn't helping anybody

Local Partners

MOVIE REVIEW: Trespass Against Us a 'tender' crime film

Trespass Against Us doesn't follow the classic crime drama trajectory, because at heart, it's really a story about fathers and sons.

Crocodile, hippo fears as I'm A Celeb filming hit by flooding

Flooding hits the set of I'm A Celebrity ... Get Me Out Of Here!

Fears crocodiles and hippos could infiltrate I'm A Celeb camp

Small screen users make switch to smaller screens

In this photo taken Oct. 16, 2013, a girl plays Supercelll's Hay Day game on an iPad. The Finnish 'Clash of Clans' mobile game maker Supercell said Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2014, it plans to launch its third game next month on a tide of soaring revenues and profits. The new game, 'Boom Beach,' will be launched in March. It's been tested in Canada and Australia, ranking fifth in both countries' iPhone app store lists, according to the company. (AP Photo/Lehtikuva, Milla Takala)  FINLAND OUT

The digital age generation makes the switch

Nadia visits Coast to escape Married At First Sight drama

Married At First Sight's Nadia Stamp takes a breather from the show's drama at Mooloolaba.

MAFS bride unwinds on the Coast ahead of commitment ceremony

‘I didn’t stuff it up like you have’: Plibersek on Q&A

“I didn’t stuff it up the way you have stuffed it up, George”: Tanya Plibersek.

Plibersek lashed out at Brandis to plenty of applause

MKR cheating scandal: Alyse and Matt hit back

Matt Jenner shows his MKR rivals the curry paste he and Alyse used.

Alyse and Matt Jenner have hit back at claims they cheated on MKR

The spare part that forced the ABC off air

Aunty's showing her age ahead during new IT roll out

Why ABC Coast FM has taken so long to resume local programming

Popular island resort sells to loaded international investor

OUR PICK: Chris Foey's colourful shot of one of Gladstone's great tourism hot spots, Heron Island.

International investor snaps up piece of Gladstone paradise.

Expert: Why renters, home buyers may struggle

Matusik Property Insights director Michael Matusik.

What's next for the city's housing market

Massive seaside development of 3200 lots

DESIRABLE LIFESTYLE: The masterplan for the proposed Elliott Heads Estate.

"There's nothing else left along the coastline of Queensland now"

Potential home buyers punished for doing the 'right thing'

Should I go to university or buy a house?

50 more high rise buildings planned for Brisbane CBD

Height limits have been scrapped for Brisbane CBD

800,000 more people expected to work in city over next 20 years

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!