A new race record is unlikely to be set in this year's Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race, despite a windy and wet Boxing Day morning at the start line.
Hundreds of thousands of people are expected to line Sydney's shores on Boxing Day as boats of all shapes and sizes pack into the harbour, eager to follow the race out of the heads.
Spectators arriving early to secure those highly sought after spots along the harbour's points and bays should anticipate some wet weather. A small low pressure system developing off the New South Wales coast during the morning should cause gusty onshore winds and rain over Sydney.
The heaviest rainfall and strongest winds will occur early in the morning, most likely before sunrise. Despite conditions looking like improving by the start of the race, it would be a good idea to keep a rain coast or umbrella handy. Showers remain possible throughout the day.
Looking further ahead and outside the harbour, the fleet will exit the heads into a headwind before picking up a tailwind as they turn towards Tasmania. This north to northeasterly wind will fill their sails until the weekend, although it does not look strong enough to challenge the current race record.
The larger yachts will have a tailwind for most of the journey into Tasmania. However, any boats still racing from Saturday evening will sail into a southwesterly change before arriving in Hobart.
© Weatherzone 2013
15:10 EST Hot dry and gusty northwesterly winds ahead of a cooler change are causing severe fire danger over South Australia's West Coast, Eastern Eyre and Lower Eyre Peninsulas today.