BENDIGO sailor Corvan Hughes will achieve a lifelong ambition on Boxing Day when he competes in the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race.
Hughes, 65, is the helmsman for Melbourne-based yacht Deja Vu, which is coming off wins in the Melbourne to Launceston event in 2011 and Melbourne to Hobart last year.
"This race has been on the bucket list for a while,'' Hughes said.
"I love my sailing and this race is a fantastic opportunity."
Hughes and his crewmates sailed Deja Vu north to Sydney last week.
"We experienced 50 knots of winds with 40 foot waves and we were running at about 17-and-a-half knots which is the fastest Deja Vu has ever gone,'' he said.
"It was exhilarating."
The weather forecast is for northerly winds this week, which should make for fast sailing.
"We're going to experience some strong northerly winds, so that will push the fleet down the coast pretty quickly,'' Hughes said.
"There's an expectation that the big maxi boats will break the race record and get down to Hobart in one day and about eight or 10 hours which is phenomenal.
"If the forecast is as predicted, we're hoping to get to Hobart inside three-and-a-half days."
Deja Vu, a 38-foot yacht, will have a crew of eight.
"We have four crew up on deck and four down below resting,'' Hughes said.
"We do three-hour shifts and change over. If we get tricky conditions we might call for all hands on deck."