Rolex Sydney Hobart: Getting ready for the Big Bash + Video

Brindabella
Rolex Sydney Hobart 2013 - Brindabella skipper Jim Cooney reports that the veteran maxi enjoyed a very successful second night at sea and is reveling under spinnaker in a brisk breeze this morning, but already his thoughts are turning to the big change forecast for later this evening.

A big west-southwest front is expected to move through Bass Strait bringing gale force winds and big seas.

While the race front-runners crawled in frustratingly light winds further south overnight there was breeze in the top half of Bass Strait and Brindabella made the most of it.

'We caught up 30 miles on the leaders,’’ Cooney said. 'It’s nice to get back in touch.'

At nine o’clock this morning he reported that Brindabella was reaching 15-knot speeds under spinnaker in 20 knots of wind and having a great time, with the intention of laying close to the Tasmanian coast to minimise the distance they have to go to Hobart when the change comes through.

They hope they will not be too far from Tasman Island when the front hits. Tasmania might afford them some shelter for a time, but when they turn into Storm Bay it will be full on.

'It will be a tough bash in the early part of it, but once we free up we will have to slow the old girl down,' Cooney said.

'We have done most of the things we need to do to prepare for the change. We have shifted the sails to the right places. The storm sail, the number five jib and the small sails are on the top of the pile. Depending on the severity of it we will start with the number five and see if we need to change. We’ll need to have everything prepared in the daylight hours.'

The good news in all this for Brindabella is that, even after midnight, there will be breeze in the Derwent River tonight as she does the final leg to Hobart.

'It will be strong all the way to the finish line,' Cooney said.

So far though the 2013 Rolex Sydney Hobart has been very benign. Only three of the 94 boats that left the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia’s marina have had to retire, so the crews will at least be fresh and rested when the front does come.

'I haven’t slept for such a long time in a race,' Cooney marvels. 'I got five or six hours off the New South Wales coast. And we’re dry!

'By tomorrow though we’ll be saying the Hobart always throws something at you.'