All aboard for three days on Bass Strait

Brad and Maryke Barker with their son Tom before he ventures out on his 11th Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race on the St George Midnight Rambler.
Brad and Maryke Barker with their son Tom before he ventures out on his 11th Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race on the St George Midnight Rambler. CONTRIBUTED

THE forecast for the Rolex Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race, starting today, looks good for Gladstone sailor Tom Barker on his St George Midnight Rambler.

Strong southerlies of up to 30 knots on the first night will challenge the 117 boat fleet, but smaller boats are likely to be favoured later on.

The navigator of the yacht said tonight was going to be tough. "It'll be a good bash to get everyone into the race," he said.

"Throughout the second day the breeze will soften off quickly and hopefully that will slow up the bigger boats.

"The last part of the race is looking very fast with a downwind which suits our boat."

St George Midnight Rambler is a Jason Ker boat that was launched in 2011 and is a good all-round yacht. Most of the crew will work on shifts of two hours on and four hours off.

"I float because I am the navigator," Barker said.

"I have to be awake for the critical stages of the race, the tactical points, and make sure the crew is rested so they are 100% for day three."

In his 11th Sydney to Hobart, Barker said it can take more than three days to finish. "I haven't missed a race since I was 18 and the length depends on the conditions," he said.

"If we get a lighter breeze at the northern part of Bass Strait, it could take three-and-a-half days."

The 28-year-old started sailing in the Gladstone Harbour and was a member of the Port Curtis Sailing Club.

"My parents are long-term members of the sailing club and both have had stints as commodores," he said.

"I learned to sail with the Learn to Sail program and my mother was also heavily involved in that."

He moved to Sydney at the age of 18 for university.

"I really came to Sydney to sail and do uni on the side," he said.

"They put in a rule after the storm-ravaged 1998 race you had to be 18 to compete. As soon as I was 18 I was racing to Hobart."

Earlier this year the St George Midnight Rambler completed the Land Rover Gold Coast Yacht race, finishing 16th on line and first in its division.

Topics:  sydney to hobart

APLNG 'overly stretched' Origin's resources: CEO

LNG FUKUROKUJU is purpose built to carry LNG from the APLNG facility at Curtis Island to Kansai Electric facility in Japan.

Despite posting big losses this year, Origin confident in LNG

How she's reclaiming her femininity after losing breasts

INSPIRATION: Gladstone cancer survivor Lana Rhodes has taken part in the So Brave Project's 2017 calendar.

COURAGEOUS MUM'S heartwarming journey to reclaiming her femininity.

Meteor hunter pin-points explosion's ground zero

Wappa Falls Observatory astronomer Owen Bennedick is looking for more information about the meteor which sent shock waves throughout Gladstone and the state.

MORE than 200 witnesses have come forward with fresh information.

Local Partners

Artist unveils her island home

JEAN Kane's backyard has a unique and elusive history; but next week she's prepared to unveil it to travellers from across the country and world.

Your chance to win

Learn More

Barry Gibb is coming to Bluesfest 2017

FANS: Barry Gibb talks to a fan next to a cardboard cutout of his young self.

Aged 70, Gibb has re-launched his solo music career with a new album

Tim Finn headlining at Airlie Beach Music Festival

Music veteran Tim Finn from New Zealand will headline the Airlie Beach Music Festival.

Tim Finn: "It's the kind of festival that artists love"

WHAT'S ON: Fashion show, family events and live entertainment

Runway 7 Model and Talent Agency Roche Bailey.

Everything you need to know about what you can do in the region.

Selma Blair blames flight outburst on 'psychotic blackout'

Selma Blair

"I am someone who should never drink, and I rarely do"

Bob Dylan acknowledges Nobel Prize win

Bob Dylan has finally acknowledged his Nobel Prize win

WATCH: Trailer for Jackman's final Wolverine film released

First trailer for the last Wolverine film with Hugh Jackman.

Thrilling trailer promises a dark, dystopian finale for Wolverine

CCTV footage surfaces of Kim Kardashian West's robbers

The blurry footage shows three men on bikes and two on foot

Cathriona White's mother claims to have Jim Carrey's results

Jim Carrey and late ex-girlfriend Cathriona White

SHE claims Carrey exposed White to herpes, chlamydia, Hepatitis A

The Koi Boys are back with more covers and original songs

Former Voice contestants The Koi Boys have signed with Universal Music.

THE Voice favourites release their debut album today.

Push to sell homes that flooded Gladstone's market

Suburban housing in Glenvale, Toowoomba, Friday, October 17, 2014. Photo Kevin Farmer / The Chronicle

URGENT push to cash-up first home buyers investing in Gladstone.

New $200 million development will create 580 jobs

Cassie And Josh with baby Alfie and daughter Andee. They have bought at new Lennox Head development Epiq.

Majority of new positions will be given to Northern Rivers locals

Cherrabah's mega resort plans axed

PLANS for a massive development at Cherrabah have been scrapped.

What our mayor thinks of the new draft SEQPlan

The plan to use the innovative technology as part of the new Maroochydore CBD was cemented on site today when Mayor Mark Jamieson and Envac Asia Region president Chun Yong Ha formally signed the contract for the $20 million underground waste collection system.

New plan accommodates Sunshine Coast Council's vision for growth.

Dusit Thani finance crisis 'just a small hiccup'

ON TRACK: Springfield Land Chairman, Maha Sinnathamby, Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale, Developer Richard Turner and Springfield Land Deputy Chairman, Bob Sharpless, at the recent resort sod turning ceremony.

Property developer says project remains firmly on track

Heavyweight enters real estate market

Des Besanko principal and director of Raine and Horne Springfield.

Major rebranding which has seen two big name brands merge