Wild Oats XI navigator Adrienne Cahalan says the weather forecast for the Sydney to Hobart offers her boat the best chance in several years of breaking its existing race record.

The long-range Sydney-Hobart weather forecast has stirred excitement among competitors on the bigger boats, while their smaller rivals are bracing for a rough ride.

Bureau of Meteorology forecaster Michael Logan said on Friday he expected a southerly change on Christmas Day with south to south-easterly winds for the Boxing Day start, gusting up to 20 knots outside Sydney heads.

Logan said winds would then back around from the east through to the north east during the fleet's first night at sea and freshen up to around 20 to 25 knots on the second day and night, with a possible westerly change as the faster boats approached the finish.

Both Cahalan and Wild Oats XI skipper Mark Richards were excited by the forecast, with the former believing it could provide the right mix to break the boat's 2005 race record of one day, 18 hours, 40 minutes and 10 seconds.

"There's a lot of transitions to manage in this race, but it's the first time for a long time - in seven years - we've had the possibility (of breaking the record)," Cahalan told AAP.

"A lot can change between now and Hobart but, having said that, the basic structure is in place which sets up some northerlies and that's good."

Richards, the boat's captain for each of its five line honours victories, was effusive but characteristically succinct when asked about the forecast.

"Very, very favourable," Richards said.

Carl Crafoord, the navigator aboard one of the other three super maxis Lahana, felt his boat's handicap prospects would be enhanced if the forecast proved correct.

"With the weather window on the 28th, if we can get in before the westerly or south westerly change that evening, it gives us a good chance on IRC," Crafoord said.

Crafoord is chasing a record of his own.

He is looking to overhaul the record for the most Sydney to Hobart overall wins for a navigator, which is held by Stan Darling with five.

"I've won four as a navigator, so I'm trying to beat his record," Crafoord said.

If the forecast proves accurate, the smaller boats could get the worst of the conditions.

"It's not looking too flash for the smaller boats because we'll contend with a lot more upwind conditions," said Sean Langman, skipper and owner of Maluka of Kermandie, the fleet's smallest and oldest boat.

"Certainly it's a big boat race.

"It will be rough for the smaller boats."

Cruising Yacht Club of Australia commodore Howard Piggott predicted a spectacular start and challenging conditions for all boats.

"It's going to be exciting up the front end of the fleet, and also the back end of the fleet are going to have some serious yachting on their hands and good competition," Pigott said.

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