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The big boats of the Hobart fleet

On board the super maxi yacht, Lahana for the Solas Big Boat Race, one of the lead up events to this years Sydney to Hobart.

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Ragamuffin Loyal skipper Syd Fischer is tipping a drag race between Wild Oats XI and his boat in the battle for line honours in the Sydney to Hobart.

The two super maxis remain the favourites with Wild Oats XI having previously been first to reach Hobart on five occasions and Investec Loyal - as she was known then - claiming the honour last year.

"I think it's going to be a bit of drag race actually, because they are going to be watching us and were going to be watching them," Fischer said on Monday.

Crews prepare for the Sydney to Hobart yacht race on Monday.

Crews prepare for the Sydney to Hobart yacht race which begins on Boxing Day. Photo: AFP

The oldest competitor in the race at 85, Fischer is confident his boat is ready to go after an eventful leadup.

It required repairs to rigging after the mast struck Sydney's Anzac Bridge just under two weeks ago.

"We were struggling, we had a couple of problems that we've had to overcome but we're pretty right," Fischer said.

On board Lahana during the Cabbage Tree Island Race, November 16. Click for more photos

The lead up to the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race

On board Lahana during the Cabbage Tree Island Race, November 16. Photo: Dallas Kilponen

  • On board Lahana during the Cabbage Tree Island Race, November 16.
  • Curtis Skinner on board during the Cabbage Tree Island Race.
  • On board during the Cabbage Tree Island Race.
  • Captain Geoff Cropley hunting for boat speed on board the Lahana as she passes under North Head in the final stages of the Cabbage Tree Island Race.
  • The crew of Lahana before the start of the 2012 SOLAS Big Boat Day on Sydney Harbour, December 11.
  • The crew on board minutes after the start of the SOLAS Big Boat Day.
  • Tony "Steel" Hearder on board as they approach the start line of the SOLAS Big Boat Day.
  • The crew of Lahana after the start of the 2012 SOLAS Big Boat Day on Sydney Harbour.
  • Ninety eight foot super maxi, Lahana, leading the fleet in race one of the CYCA Trophy Passage Series on December 15.
  • Skipper Peter Millard on board in race one of the CYCA Trophy Passage Series.
  • Lahana in race one of the CYCA Trophy Passage Series.
  • The crew on board during the start of race two on Sunday, December 16.
  • Bowman Paul McEnearnery on board during the start of race two.

Eternally respectful of the influence of the weather on the race, Fischer was cautious about talking up his boat's line honours prospects.

"I think we're confident we've got a good chance, but I don't like overestimating a situation that you can't control," he said.

The fleet of 77 is expected to start in south-easterly breezes of around 15 knots on Wednesday.

The winds will lighten after a few hours but forecast northerlies will kick the fleet along on Thursday.

With a westerly change now likely to arrive earlier than expected on Thursday it may be hard for any boat to break the race record.

"The race record to us is a bonus ... it all depends on the conditions," Wild Oats XI skipper Mark Richards said.

"It's possible, the nor-easter may stay in for an extra three or four hours and that's a big deal in these boats."

Richards acknowledged for the record to fall, his boat would have to cover as much of the 628-nautical mile course as possible before the westerly change hits.

"Don't back off, push as fast as you can and hopefully you can sail the shortest course possible and the rest is in the hands of the gods."

There was nothing in the latest weather forecast to concern Fischer, who will be doing the race for the 44th time.

"I don't think we're going to get knocked around too much," Fischer said. "It will be a race in which attention to detail will be the main thing."

Richards emphasised it wouldn't be all smooth sailing, especially with southerlies to contend with on the first night.

"It's going to be big and bumpy and uncomfortable," Richards said.

The latest forecast still appeared to favour the bigger boats in the battle for overall honours.

"The overall winner is likely to come from a boat 60 foot or larger and it depends on who gets through some of those transition periods the best," said Matt Allen skipper of the 70-foot Ichi Ban.

AAP