Sydney Hobart race

Posted by: squared

Sydney Hobart race - 16/12/2004 17:23

Any of you gurus willing to have a stab at the conditions for the 26-30th yet?
Posted by: Craig Arthur

Re: Sydney Hobart race - 16/12/2004 17:31

Hi squared,

As yet, I'm not willing to attempt an indepth forecast, as the race is still a long way off. Certainly closer to the date I'll put up a fairly detailed forecast of my expectations (probably on Christmas Eve with a chance I'll update on Christmas Day or early Boxing Day, depends if my better half will allow me near a computer at the time wink ). I'll be making use of the numerical modelling I've been working on and I'd like to see just how well it goes compared to the BoM models.

At this stage, I'll hazard a guess at a fairly warm start, maybe low-to-mid thirties with a strong nor'east sea breeze starting up around 11am EDT. Expect a front to pass southeast Australia maybe overnight on Boxing Day or sometime on Mon 27th. Can't tell at this stage just how strong that front may be though.
Posted by: thermalben

Re: Sydney Hobart race - 21/12/2004 09:54

This period is really shaping up to be quite dynamic. A decaying SWT looks like pasing through Melbourne on Xmas Day, but with little effect in the lower Tasman beside a small increase in groundswell from an earlier incarnation of the storm. However, there is strong agreement between EC and GFS for a significant cold outbreak across the region sometime during Mon 27th. Such a setup would deliver very strong and squally SSW winds to the Syd-Hob course, along with very large waves. I'll be watching this space closely over the next few days - at this stage, it appears that the timing couldn't be any worse (or better, depending on whether you're interested in good yacht racing - or severe marine weather that's likely to be well documented for a change wink
Posted by: barstardos

Re: Sydney Hobart race - 21/12/2004 10:37

I was just looking at the models too and definitely looks like a major cold outbreak for the 27th with strong S-SE winds. Things could also get interesting for all the bushwalkers in Tasmania as potential low level snow and howling gales. I am also watching closely to see how much rain for western Tassie and if we will have the almost traditional flooding on the Franklin River for the Christmas-new year trips
Posted by: Milky06

Re: Sydney Hobart race - 21/12/2004 16:59

This has come out of today WeatherZone Breaking Weather:

Flashback - Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race
Scott Rowe, Tue 16:36 EDT

The 1998 Sydney to Hobart yacht race was marred by a series of tragic events that lead to the death of 6 sailors attempting to complete the race. The primary cause of what unfolded 6 years ago was a small, deep low that quickly formed in the Tasman Sea during the early stages of the event. The low helped stir very rough seas and gale force winds which battered the yachts and caused many competitors to pull out.

Early indications from models for this year’s event show a similar setup. A low is predicted to form in roughly the same location and at the same time as six years ago, but it looks likely not to be as strong as in 1998. Models are disagreeing this far out on the position and intensity, however it will prove to be an event to watch as Boxing Day approaches.

Posted by: teckert

Re: Sydney Hobart race - 21/12/2004 18:20

Interesting to note that it has disapeared from Breaking Weather less than 2 hours after it was posted. Probably a good thing... not the greatest piece of writing IMO... frown
Posted by: Gulf Lines

Re: Sydney Hobart race - 22/12/2004 18:33

I thought it was ok. I also liked the "ridiculous temps" as well (which was edited).

Seems that Scott might be a bit flamboyant for TWC. But I reckon he's great! Puts some life into the breaking weather stuff. laugh

Syd - Hobart - is not looking good for them. Time will be of the essence. I guess the sad thing is that the bigger yachts maybe back in port before the baddie arrives. The smaller guys may cop it tho! frown
Posted by: squared

Re: Sydney Hobart race - 23/12/2004 09:22

Thanks for all the replies.

Looks like the will be a considerable westerly componenent in the wind on the tassie coast for us at least until the night of the 28th
Does anyone think there will be any lee depression effect on the tassie coast? Would this bend the wind?
The EACC is better offshore but a little moderation of the wind/sea and perhaps a more favourable wind direction could make it worthwhile staying closer to Tasmania.

Any thoughts?
Posted by: inversion

Re: Sydney Hobart race - 23/12/2004 14:27

The models certainly seem to be agreeing on an active long wave trough (marked nicely on the 500hpa charts) resulting in a surge of cold air and a low pressure system forming between two slow-moving highs.

I think it's way too early to be able to accurately pinpoint the position, intensity and meso-scale effects of this low pressure system, but, going by the model agreement, we can probably fairly confidently expect strong to gale force winds at this stage (which are by no means abnormal for eastern Bass Strait)

However, mesoscale fluctuations can occur rapidly an unexpectedly in these sorts of systems, and so I will be keen to see what the meso-scale models do with the low, closer to the event

The lesson for this is indeed the 1998 event, where the broader-scale models didn't pick up the multiple meso scale low pressure centres which formed rapidly within the overall system and which strongly affected the wind intensity.
Posted by: Adiabatic

Re: Sydney Hobart race - 23/12/2004 18:24

Looking definantly like gales for this race, minimum 35-40 knot winds being an average and swells to about 5-6m. Some really rough conditions at this stage but it should be watched as invy said for changes to the meso-scale setup closer to the event, the chance that if the structure changes that winds will upgraded on the western side of this Tasman Low.

Karl smile
Posted by: majorowe

Re: Sydney Hobart race - 24/12/2004 01:00

I agree strongly with PaulM. I found the story informative and if it gets people interested in this sort of thing then that has to be a good thing. I am certainly going to watch what happens. Usually the leather and willow takes priority to the sea spray, but after reading about the 98 event and seeing the setup, I will pay more attention this year.

I would think 40C heat at 9:40am is ridiculous heat too.
Posted by: Craig Arthur

Re: Sydney Hobart race - 24/12/2004 20:04

Certainly not looking as nasty as it was 24 hours ago. GFS has backed off considerably on the strength of winds along the TAS east coast on Monday night.

There's a strong southerly current flowing along the NSW coast - probably somewhere around 4 knots over the shelf off Jervis Bay - Batemans Bay - Narooma. Mainly due to a region of higher elevation centred 36S/152E. A small depression in sea level off Gabo Island means the current is almost reversed once you enter Bass Strait proper. However right in close to Gabo Is, there appears to be a narrow jet of southerly current - mainly between Merimbula and the NSW/VIC border. East of Flinders Island, the current swings back around to a southeasterly current. It's at this time hard to say what's going on close to the Tassie Coast with regard to the current.

Synoptic pattern
A weak high will bedeveloping over the NSW coast in the wake of the southerly change, and a trough will remain along the NSW ranges into northeastern VIC. The ridge will be very weak across VIC, with a deepening low pressure system centred southwest of TAS. This low will move rapidly east on Sunday afternoon, with the associated change lying through central Bass Strait (Melb-Devonport) by around 9Z-12Z. At this time, the ridge off the NSW coast will have strengthened slightly, increasing the pressure gradient between it and the trough over the western slopes. By 12Z the low should be south of TAS and deepening (central pressure ~995 hPa).
LAPS is indicating the low won't intensify significantly as it passes south of TAS, but the high to the west will intensify to around 1028 hPa by 00Z Monday. The trough axis will be over the NSW south coast by this time, with a secondary weak trough lying over northeastern TAS. GFS on the other hand keeps the low significantly further south and faster-moving, although much deeper (~984 hPa).
Tuesday onwards:
The high pressure system should remain fairly slow moving in the Bight but will edge east, and the trough in the Tasman will deepen, so a persistence of the strong southwesterly flow can be expected. It should ease off slightly from the peak of the storm through Tuesday, as the high slowly edges east.

MLAPS has a light E/SE flow along most of the NSW coast on Sunday 00Z - around 15 kts (MLAPS is IMO notorious for under-predicting surface winds). Further south along the coast, with the developing ridge along the coast and the deepening inland trough, winds should trend around to the northeast in the afternoon, probably around the same speed. The synoptic set up doesn't look conducive to strong sea breezes, so it'll be mainly a gradient breeze and hence reasonably consistent offshore as well as in close. This also means the breeze should persist at a similar speed into the evening. Later in the evening I'd expect the winds to swing to the NW at around 10/15 kts, lighter and more variable inshore.
As the main trough crosses VIC, NNW winds will slowly build through the early part of Monday monring probably up to 20/25 kts by dawn. LAPS shows the wind change reaching Gabo Is by 8am EDT (21Z Sun), similarly with GFS. It's difficult to say just how abrupt this change will be, but I'd err on the side of a gradual turning. The change will push up the coast in the following hours, and should be at Sydney by midday (01Z).
Both LAPS and GFS are indicating it could shift around to the SW immediately behind the change too, before veering to the WSW for a few hours and builds strength to 30/40 kts.
As the low slows down into later Mon, winds will back to the SW again and should continue to build slightly to a peak of 50 knots. GASP indicates a much more southerly scenario and potentially stronger winds, maybe mean winds up near 60 knots but this'll be into Tuesday morning.

As always, gusts are likely to be up to 50% more, so anything up to about 60 knots is probable on Mon afternoon and evening.

I tend to think that Monday will see the worst of the conditions, as the high will begin to dominate by Tuesday. I'm less a fan of GASP in general and prefer the GFS solution.

Obviously, pretty big if it gets around to the south. With the current meandering around through Bass Strait and along the TAS coast, there's unlikely to be the steep waves develop that far south, so the bigger boats will fare better. Along the NSW coast though, there is a fair chance there will be some of those 'backless' waves due to the strength of the current. Sig wave heights are likely to be around 7 metres at the peak. Should be some huge surf along the NSW coast next week too. wink

I do think there'll be a significant lee trough off the TAS east coast if the low stays well south - that would lead to a more westerly flow across TAS and more likelihood of the lighter winds in close to the coast. If it's more the GASP/LAPS scenario with a dead southerly stream, then there's unlikely to be much protection along the east coast.

I'd be looking at getting as far south as possible before the initial change (obviously). That means getting offshore for the first few hours and out into the current. As the wind backs through to NW overnight Mon, track closer to the coast. I don't think it'll be too bad, as since the winds will be gradient as opposed to a sea breeze, they won't die out overnight. Only problem with that is it'll be a bit more flukey in close. I feel being in close early after the change will be better, as the seas will remain flatter but winds will be reasonably consistent across the track. Also, the core of the current is close to the coast near Gabo Is.

Crossing Bass Strait, there'll be no where to hide, because for a large part of the fleet, this is where they will encounter the strongest southerly winds. If the progs head for a more southerly stream on Mon/Tues, then heading towards the Flinders Group will probably be a slightly safer bet. If it's W/SW staying nearer the rhumb will be better to set you up for keeping off the TAS coast (avoiding the lee wave)a bit and in more consistent winds.
Posted by: bogong

Re: Sydney Hobart race - 24/12/2004 21:59

Very interesting read Craig - will watch the models and developments with interest over the next 72 hours...
Posted by: thermalben

Re: Sydney Hobart race - 25/12/2004 20:29

Great write-up Craig - I'm most interested in the time frame between 12Z Mon and 00Z Tues, with the potential for an embedded secondary front within the SW'ly flow. As you mentioned, this is the period most likely to deliver the most damaging winds, and the smaller boats trailing at the back of the fleet are likely to be hit hardest, especially if the wind veers more southerly in direction. EC is suggesting another burst of squally S'ly winds for the race region later Wed too!
Posted by: squared

Re: Sydney Hobart race - 25/12/2004 22:45

Well I asked for gurus.
Thanks everybody, for the valuable information. Keep your eyes on Loki and see if we get it right.
Maybe I should have asked for a magician instead.... eek
Posted by: terrified

Re: Sydney Hobart race - 26/12/2004 09:39

Gday to All; :wave:

Firstly,hope you all had a nice christmas.. :wave:
Posted by: majorowe

Re: Sydney Hobart race - 26/12/2004 18:11

Fantastic write up Craig, well worth the read.
Posted by: Thunderstruck

Re: Sydney Hobart race - 26/12/2004 21:29

Skandia is a top yacht and I tip it to win again....pretty much best goin round atm with a top crew.

Skandia from Konica Minolta again, Nicorette not far behind them in 3rd.

For anyone interested there is a nice tracking site here of the positions of all the yachts.

TS cool
Posted by: terrified

Re: Sydney Hobart race - 28/12/2004 05:40

Morning to all;

The Super maxi "SKANDIA" was forced to retire from the race after damaging the keel. eek

Posted by: terrified

Re: Sydney Hobart race - 28/12/2004 09:24

Konica Minolta another casualty eek

Posted by: Adiabatic

Re: Sydney Hobart race - 28/12/2004 15:05

Least there have been no loss of life yet, the crew from Konica Minolta had to be picked up by a police boat from St Helens which was on standby.

Enter at own risk indeed eek

Karl smile
Posted by: Thunderstruck

Re: Sydney Hobart race - 28/12/2004 22:32

Very rough seas, u just DONT MESS WITH BASS STRAIT!! eek frown

Sad but reality, tackle it at ur own peril, 98 footer or not. IMO smarter tactics would have been to hug the coast, like Nicorette has done and didnt succumb to the seas....tho Skandia wasn't helped by the 300kg sunfish!

Konica was called Zana last year as well I think. It has been retrieved, but Skandia has been lost to the great ocean wilderness...tho I think a tug may be sent to retrieve it....

TS cool
Posted by: terrified

Re: Sydney Hobart race - 29/12/2004 06:41

Morning to all;

The only Super Maxi left in the race "Niccorette" has taken line honours this morning..

Niccorette has only won due to the unfortunate mishaps from the other 2 Super maxi,s even though i was hoping Nicorrettte was going to win..

I certainly hope they find "Skandia" before she sinks..

Take Care to all

Posted by: Craig Arthur

Re: Sydney Hobart race - 29/12/2004 08:42

I don't think it's so much 'Don't mess with Bass Strait', moreso the advance of the technology used aboard the boats. A great quote I remember from the designer of several of the world speed sailing yachts was 'If it doesn't break, it's too heavy'. The boundaries are always being pushed, and when the yachts get to one of the toughest testing grounds, that is when things will break.
Posted by: terrified

Re: Sydney Hobart race - 29/12/2004 08:50

I totally agree Craig on what you wrote.

Posted by: Sonde

Re: Sydney Hobart race - 29/12/2004 14:11

Craig, I am getting jack of these yachties. This year has not been bad weather or bad seas at all, not by any standard of the sea, yet again, half the fleet have "retired hurt". The problem I have with the design of these boats, and the foolhardy, indeed arrogant attitude of those who build, buy and sail them, is that they are not "seaworthy" to begin with, they are really racing skiffs that have just grown and grown, and been sent / taken where they do not belong. Think driving a toyota corolla across the simpson desert instead of a landcruiser and you might get the drift.
Posted by: Craig Arthur

Re: Sydney Hobart race - 29/12/2004 15:07

I can see your point of view, but don't entirely agree with it.

One of the modifications to the rules following '98 was that all crew had to radio the race committee when they reached Green Cape, indicating their intention to cross Bass Strait. At the time many of the boats reached this point, the leading boats were reporting 60 knots plus in their skeds. A significant number of the retirements decided against crossing Bass Strait based on these reports, as opposed to equipment failures. In previous years, the leaders were often less likely to correctly report the winds they experienced, which meant the slower boats would be more likely to cross. Also keep in mind this is the first decent blow since the '98 race, so there were certainly a few nervous crew on the boats.

There are a small number of yachts in which the design is 'as fast and as light as possible' - these are the guys with more dollars than sense. No doubt about it, the Sydney to Hobart is one of the toughest ocean races in the world. The newer technology such as canting keels has only recently been permitted in the race, and the past few years of relatively 'calm' conditions lulled people into a false sense of security, so they were possibly thinking they could get away without rigorously testing the equipment. Grant Wharington (skipper/owner of Skandia Wild Thing) is quoted as saying he didn't know what went wrong with the boat's keel - IMO a sign the technology wasn't thoroughly tested. There were in the past couple of months other cases of canting keels running into problems.

Your thoughts are backed up by some others, too. Why not insure the boat? A premium of $700,000 was apparently quoted for Skandia Wild Thing, compared to the estimated cost of salvage of $600,000. Obviously the insurance industry don't want to get too close to the action either.
Posted by: Sonde

Re: Sydney Hobart race - 30/12/2004 10:37

Even parachutists get better insurance deals than that, and for good reasons.

I have to disagree with your line of argument Craig.

I am in fact glad to see that the insurance people are telling these wankers to take their plastic fantastics and shove them. They know what is important. They have been insuring vessels from tankers down to fishing boats etc for years and years. They know that the sea is dangerous. They have their own engineers and naval architects to "inspect and survey" a vessel before they categorise it, determine the risks, and set a premium. They can very definitely see the inherrent dangers, the inherrent weakness, ie, the gross design compromises, indeed, the straight out ignorance of these yachties, very few of whom are engineers, or naval architects themselves, and are simply deciding that it is not in their interests to deal with idiots, and are declining to do so.

The trouble with yachties is that they are after ONE thing, speed. They forget that all designs of all machines are balancing acts, and in the evangelistic pursuit of ONE GOAL, are REPEATEDLY compromising other well know and vital considerations, to the extent that, the overall package now becomes fragile and dangerous. They are not falling for the bull**** arguments about developing new materials and new technologies etc. The insurance companies can see the bull**** argument for what it is, ie, simply conjoured as a feeble attempt to justify and or legitimise the stupidity of these wankers, and are simply walking away from them. I am no fan of insurance companies generally, but in this case, "good on them".

Put bluntly, these boats should not be allowed off-shore. Why should my tax dollars be burned up in buying and operating a special police launch, simply to provide a SAR service for these wankers, once a year ? I object most strongly.

And I nearly forgot, since when did a race rule concerning a radio schedule or a reporting procedure become a mittigating DESIGN issue ?
Posted by: Thunderstruck

Re: Sydney Hobart race - 31/12/2004 13:20

Agree Craig but I do feel that some underestimated what could have happened in Bass Stait thats all. I know every precaution is taken to ensure a safe crossing to Hobart, but the Devil's Meridian will remain I guess.

Dangerous stretch of water thats what Im getting at (when condits are fav for very rough seas of course)

TS cool
Posted by: addicted to sails

Re: Sydney Hobart race - 18/12/2005 20:29

Anyone got a prediction on this years Sydney to Hobart race yet?
Posted by: FarrSports

Re: Sydney Hobart race - 18/12/2005 23:14

I am with you ATS.

We have several mates doing the race this year on 3 boats from SA. I have done two Lincolns on Pale Ale Rager. They are doing their 8th S2H and we follow every piece of news and weather via net and TV.

A short crew of 6 took Rager to Sydney last week - and they did the journey just under 5 days! Top speed seen was 27kts - that's when the spray covered the speed log! Some slick trip and no damage.

If the weather-heads in this WZ group come up with some news, I will listen with great interest.

Mike, Adelaide
Posted by: Thunderstruck

Re: Sydney Hobart race - 24/12/2005 16:44

Im tipping Skandia from Wild Oats for this one.

TS cool
Posted by: addicted to sails

Re: Sydney Hobart race - 25/12/2005 18:49

I got my money on ALFA for line honours but watch for the famous Tow Truck to steal the handicap result. Go LUCI !!
Posted by: Thunderstruck

Re: Sydney Hobart race - 25/12/2005 22:11

Ok my top 5 in order, tho all 5 maxi's will have a chance of winning it, lead may change a fair few times.

1) Skandia
2) Wild Oats
3) Alfa Romeo
4) Konica Minolta

TS cool