< Marine Matters issue 19 available now
22.12.2014 00:13 Age: 3 yrs

Sydney to Hobart yacht race: ocean currents best in ten years

Ocean current data indicates the likelihood of ocean currents being more favourable to yachts this year than in any of the last ten years.

Sydney to Hobart current map 21 Dec 2014


The yachting world will be focussed on Southeast Australia from boxing day as the annual Sydney to Hobart race sets off for another action-packed journey down the east coast of Australia. One of the crucial factors in the outcome of the event is the state of the coastal currents and all entrants will be keenly watching predictions of current behaviour.

Australia’s Integrated Marine Observing System (IMOS) maps ocean currents and temperature every day of the year.  Developed by Dr David Griffin of CSIRO, the IMOS Oceancurrent website uses the best available real-time ocean data to provide useful information for scientists and the community.  At this time of year, ocean currents between Sydney and Hobart are of particular interest.

Dr Griffin has been updating the Oceancurrent website based on his analysis of real-time data from a variety of sources. In his 20 December post to the site Dr Griffin says, 'It's possible that the ocean currents will give yachts more of a boost this year than in any of the last ten years. Indeed, if the current holds steady for the next week, which is possible but certainly not guaranteed, the Sydney-Hobart yachts could benefit from about 2kt of southward flow for about a third of the distance.'

The University of Tasmania (UTAS), lead institution of the IMOS collaboration, has a particular interest in the outcome of the race this year.  UTAS is sponsoring Tony Lyall’s 52ft Cougar II in this year’s Sydney-Hobart race, and the boat will be a hot chance for a podium finish on handicap if he and his crew read the lanes on the ocean – the ocean currents – correctly.

Updates on the ocean currents leading up to the race can be followed at the IMOS OceanCurrent News:  http://oceancurrent.imos.org.au/news.htm


Tim Moltmann, IMOS Director: 0407 558 004

Dr David Griffin, Physical Oceanographer, CSIRO: 0408 253 697