BEFORE last year's Pittwater to Coffs Harbour Race, the Hunter owners of Shes the Culprit were not expecting their new boat to produce its best.
Not suited to the "uphill" conditions, the Inglis 39 defied the odds to take the PHS 2 division.
With downwind predictions for the start of the 2013 race today, skipper and part-owner Michael McDonald believes the former Sydney-to-Hobart and Melbourne-to-Osaka yacht should go even better.
"It suits us better," McDonald said.
"We've only had the boat for little over a year now and we were told it didn't like going into the breeze, but it did very well last year and gave us a division win.
"We did the Gold Coast race in August and won our division again and conditions suited us there. Downhill is going to suit us, probably more than last year, so we are hoping for a good result."
McDonald, from Coal Point, bought the yacht with Hunter mates Glen Picasso, Glenn Bulmer and John Lattimore.
They return to Pittwater with the nucleus of their crew from last year.
"We had a good run last year, but it's just a good boat - it looks after us," McDonald said.
"It's very well built and we didn't make a mistake last year either."
Shes the Culprit was launched as Top Cat in 1995 and was built specifically for the Melbourne-to-Osaka race.
Anger Management, owned and skippered by Newcastle Cruising Yacht Club commodore Phil Arnall, is another Hunter yacht returning to the event.
The Corby43 was eighth over the line in 2012 after a luckless run in what Arnall believed were ideal conditions.
Crew member Richard Arnall, Phil's son, was hoping for a change in fortune despite the weather predictions going against them.
"We had a couple of issues last year which cost us about two hours I reckon," he said.
"We ripped the top of our main sail and had to jury-rig that. We also tore the head sail pretty severely and had to fix that as well.
"It looks like a quick race this year, which is not ideal for us, but we're hoping for a top-10 finish across the line."
Lake Macquarie Sydney 41 yacht Storage King Wallop, with owner-skipper Peter Hewson, is the other Hunter entrant.