Ocean Racing Club of Victoria
Richard Bennett

Peccadillo set to smash the 2023 Melbourne to Hobart Race Record for Multihulls

It’s been 30 years since a multihull has competed in the Melbourne to Hobart Yacht Race, and there’s every chance this year’s only multihull entrant might smash the existing race record if the weather forecast shared by Race Director David Schuller holds true.

Peccadillo, the Chris White 46 Mk II designed multihull from the Royal Melbourne Yacht Squadron, skippered by past Commodore Charles Meredith, will revel in the 30 to 40-knot westerlies forecast for the 2023 ‘Westcoaster.’

The previous multihull race record was set by Bagatelle in 1988 under skipper Lindsay Cumming in an elapsed time of three days, three hours, 35 minutes and 32 seconds (3d, 3hr, 35 min and 32 sec).

Peccadillo by Steph McD 1MB

First multiull entery in 30 years, Peccadillo. Photo by Steph McDonald

The fleet will start the race off Portsea Pier in a nice 10 to 15 knot southerly, but as they start to settle into the race, the conditions are forecast to pick up with the wind gusting to over 20 knots and two-metre seas as they close on King Island.

The tacticians are likely to favour a course east of King Island. As they make their way south, the wind is expected to shift slightly westerly, allowing them to ease sheets, and combined with the favourable current, they will make good time down Tasmania’s West Coast.

However, the fleet will need to be on their toes when they approach Maatsuyker Island, with the forecast predicting gale force westerly winds of 30 knots gusting 40 knots. Combined with a sea state of four to five metres, they can expect exhilarating surfing conditions for a super-fast Southern Ocean sleigh ride.

The three double-handed entries, Joker x2, Maverick, and Alex Team Macadie, will have their hands full in these conditions, but with good seamanship, reefed sails, and a whole lot of concentration, they should enjoy the ride.

Alex Toomey, skipper of the Sayer 12, Ryujin, is excited for the race.

“The weather forecast looks a little fruity with the weather models only just starting to line up and we are still a few days out, but for us, a lot will depend upon how cleanly we get out of the [Port Philip] Heads.

“I think, like most of the fleet, we hope to turn the corner before the front gets us.

“Our race plan is to hang onto the leaders in the upwind stuff and then stretch our legs in the lighter airs of Storm Bay and the flatter waters of the [River] Derwent,” said Toomey.

Ryujin sets sights on Melbourne to Hobart victory. Photo by Steb Fisher 1

Team Ryujin. Photo Steb Fisher

As is often the case, the winds are predicted to lighten in Storm Bay and the River Derwent, which will test the most seasoned sailors.

Line honours contenders are expected to reach Storm Bay around midday on Friday, with most of the fleet following several hours behind, and this should see the winning boat finishing in the very early hours of Saturday morning.

The monohull race record of 1 day, 17 hours, 28 minutes, and 59 seconds, set by Shortwave in 2008, is not threatened at this stage.

The race offers crews spectacular scenery, incredible bird and marine life, and challenging sailing conditions.

Michael Spies, winner of the 2023 50th anniversary race, considers the Westcoaster one of the world’s greatest ocean races.

The 435 nautical mile Melbourne to Hobart Yacht Race, organised by the ORCV with the cooperation of the Derwent Sailing Squadron, starts off Portsea Pier at 1pm on Wednesday 27 December 2023.

Head to the online tracker to follow all of the race action: https://race.bluewatertracks.com/2023-melbourne-to-hobart-westcoaster

 Alex Team MacAdie racing for Westcoaster glory. Photo by Steb Fisher

Alex Team MacAdie. Photo Steb Fisher
Jane Austin/ORCV media

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