The Bureau of Meteorolgy got it right. And the skippers and crew of the 80 boats contesting the annual Audi Sydney Gold Coast race wish they hadn't.
When the gun went at 1pm today, the morning's light southerly winds had swung to the north of north east and were puffing at a miserable 5-8 knots. Tony Donnellan's Reichel Pugh 47 Shamrock made the most of the breeze at the northern end of the line and was well in front of the maxis as they headed down the harbour.
Wild Oats X, starting at the southern end, was slow to get away, but by the time the first yachts cleared North head she had made her way to the front. Shortwave, Loki, Price Waterhouse Coopers and Lahana were in pursuit, with Shamrock well positioned and hugging the shorline.
This is a race that will take many twists and turns before the finish at Southport with yachts already spreading out looking for a wind and current advantage. Only time will tell if the inshore or offshore route is favoured.
To track the yachts, go to http://goldcoast.cyca.com.au/