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And now for the weather …

ONE thing is for sure - the weather is not going to please everyone this Christmas. If you are planning seafood and salad on the beach, your needs are rather different from those planning a roast and all the trimmings indoors.

The skippers of the 77 boats racing towards Hobart on Boxing Day will almost certainly experience a variety of wind speeds and directions.

After a maximum of 28 on Sunday, temperatures are set to peak on Monday, Christmas Eve, with a sunny morning and a maximum temperature of 30 degrees with hot north-east to north-westerly winds.

Christmas Day is expected to reach a maximum of 25 degrees with a southerly change expected.

A forecaster at the Bureau of Meteorology, Peter Zmijewski, said: ''There is a chance of a shower or thunderstorm on Christmas morning but this chance will diminish in the afternoon. On Boxing Day, there will probably be a shower or two but the late afternoon should be mostly fine or partly cloudy.''

The weather has been described as a ''dream forecast'' for navigators of the super maxi boats in the Sydney to Hobart yacht race.

Organisers say the race could start under spinnaker in a southerly wind on Boxing Day not seen since 2006. A Bureau of Meteorology senior forecaster, Michael Logan, said the southerly would turn to the north-east and lighten on day two. ''This year, we'll start with a headwind and there will be a lot of work to do once you get into day two,'' he said. ''The winds will make for much faster downwind sailing.''

If you were thinking of a white Christmas, the chances of that in London seem unlikely. Betting company William Hill has increased the odds from 3-1 to 4-1 predicting a ''wet and wild'' Christmas.