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



The pacemaker cells of your gut

Restroom sign

Living Naturally: problems with the gut

Dunn eyes Millions for Group level push

TRAINING MASTERS: Matt and Keira Dunn at a Murwillumbah Racecourse race day.

Trainer eyes a cast of millions.

Pennant season out of sync?

SWING DOCTOR: Norman Carmichael, pictured with Julie Keegan, has sadly passed away.

Greg Kelly: On the mat.

Latest deals and offers

MOVIE REVIEW: Life on the Road

Ricky Gervais, Ben Bailey Smith and Foregone Conclusion (Steve Clarke, Andy Burrows, Stuart Baxter Wilkinson, Michael Clarke) in a scene from David Brent: Life on the Road.

Ricky Gervais has brought David Brent back to life on the big screen

Jessica Alba wants tequila shots served at her funeral

Businesswoman and actor Jessica Alba

There won't be mourning at this funeral

Tom Hiddleston's Instagram account hacked

Actor Tom Hiddleston

Thor star the latest celebrity targetted by hackers

Charlize Theron's son dresses up as Frozen character

Actor Charlize Theron

Star's son spotted dressed a beloved Frozen character

BOOKS: Food for thought in Caroline Beecham's latest novel

Maggie's Kitchen by Caroline Beecham is published by Allen & Unwin, RRP $29.99.

New novel reminds readers that bravery exists in many forms

TELEVISION: New show is a Survivor, for now

Jonathan LaPaglia hosts the TV series Australian Survivor.

WHAT happens when a new show with a big budget flops?

REVEALED: Pat Rafter's $18m Coast house on the market

Check out the photos of the Coast's most expensive property for sale

The "correction we had to have" in Gladstone's rentals

UPWARD MARCH: The rental vacancy rate in Gladstone has improved for the first time in more than a year, providing a confidence boost in the market.

Vacancy rates improve with signs that things are getting betterF

ISLAND FOR SALE: Cheap Fraser Coast island drops price again

Suna Island in the Great Sandy Strait will be auctioned by Ray White Hervey Bay on Saturday morning.

This is the cheapest island you will find for sale in Australia

How a family home can fit on a 250sq m block

This is what you can build on 250m2.

Here's the floor plan of a home built on 250sq m

Investors eye Gladstone's $4m island with resort approval

UP FOR SALE: Turtle Island is on the market.

CHINESE and Sydney investors flag interest in Gladstone island.

Take a sneak peek at this $19m Whitsunday mansion

Mandalay House features a private helipad.

Mandalay is currently on the market with an asking price of $19m