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They're Off: Yachts Set Sail In The 2018 Sydney To Hobart Race

All 85 boats took off from Sydney Harbour in their bid to be the fastest to reach the Tasmanian capital. 

Last year's winner Comanche and Wild Oats XI will continue their deep-seated rivalry in 2018 after Comanche successfully contested Oats' win after near mid-race collision in 2017.

All 85 yachts set sail from Sydney Harbour. Image: Steve Hart

Other supermaxi rivals Black Jack, InforTrack and Sun Hung Kai Scallywag will also tussle for a win. The first all-female crew of Wild Oats X is also set to have a solid crack at a win.

Hundreds of thousands of spectators lined the shore of Sydney Harbour to witness the start of the race.

Spectators gathered to watch the race start. Image: Steve Hart.

Wild Oats got off to a flying start. The eight-time line honours winner sped to a lead in the early minutes of the race, leaving other supermaxi rivals in her water whitewash.

Of course, that was just the beginning of this days-long race.

READ MORE: Yachts To Watch In The Sydney To Hobart

Prior to the race commencing, Sydney to Hobart's weather expert Roger Badham labelled this year's event the most difficult in 30 years.

While Wednesday's start saw slight to moderate winds, difficult conditions are predicted once the fleet hits the Bass Strait -- the body of water between Tasmania and mainland Australia.

Extreme and unpredictable winds have been forecast.

“Tactically, strategically, in terms of weather, this is one of the most challenging races I have seen in 30 years in terms of difficulty,” meteorologist Roger Badham said at the pre-race weather briefing.

READ MORE: Overseas Sydney To Hobart Racers Arrive In Town

The pre-race weather briefing. Image: Twitter/ Steve Hart.

The race typically takes teams under two days to complete.

Last year's winner Comanche set a new race record, completing the course in one day, nine hours, 15 minutes and 24 seconds.

Featured Image: Twitter/ Steve Hart. 

Contact Siobhan at skenna@networkten.com.au