Big swell threatens fleet

A SEVERE front in Bass Strait could spell a premature end to Bendigo sailor Corvan Hughes' dream of completing his maiden Sydney to Hobart.

Swell up to 10 metres is forecast for Bass Strait this weekend, when Hughes' yacht Deja Vu is set to make the treacherous crossing.

Massive waves potentially reaching 12 metres are expected towards southern Tasmania.

Boat skippers are likely to face judgement calls whether to attempt the crossing.

Most of the supermaxi boats are expected to miss the worst of the weather.

At 3pm on Friday, six-time line honours winner Wild Oats XI had retaken the lead.

The Wild Oats XI crew overhauled overnight leader Perpetual Loyal and both vessels were headed into the strait.

Wild Oats XI is seeking a record-equalling seventh line honours crown alongside Morna/Kurrewa IV.

Deja Vu, with 65-year-old Hughes as helmsman, was back in 88th position overall on Friday afternoon.

The 38-foot yacht fell back a position from the early morning's standings.

Ninety-two yachts remained in the race after Audi Sunshine Coast and Dodo were forced to pull-out.

Deja Vu was in 10th position for PHS handicap honours on Friday afternoon and fourth in PHS division two racing.

Deja Vu's eight-man crew decided to attempt the Sydney to Hobart this year after success in shorter races to Tasmania.

In 2011, the Melbourne-based vessel sailed to a win in the Melbourne to Launceston.

Last year Deja Vu enjoyed a Melbourne to Hobart triumph.

The crew expected to work in three-hour shifts of four members on deck for the race, although all hands could be required for rough sailing in Bass Strait.

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