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165TH AUSTRALIA DAY REGATTA Ocean Racers return

by Peter Campbell on 25 Jan 2001
Tomorrow's 165th Australia Day Regatta in Sydney has drawn one of the biggest and best fleets in years. Hundreds of yachts, dinghies, catamarans and skiffs will compete in the main regatta on Sydney Harbour, the traditional ocean race to Botany Bay and return, and in Australia Day regattas on many other waterways in New South Wales.

Among the guests watching the 165th Australia Day Regatta on Sydney Harbour and the many other spectacular events on the water and in the air will be Australian Olympic sailing gold medallists Jenny Armstrong, Belinda Stowell and Mark Turnbull and bronze medallist Michael Blackburn.

Armstrong and Stowell won gold in the 470 women's class, Turnbull crewed with Tom King in winning the 470 men's class while Blackburn finished third in the Laser dinghy class at the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games.

They will join the Governor of New South Wales, the Honourable Gordon Samuels AC, aboard the Regatta Flagship, HMAS Kanimbla, in what will be the Governor's last year as Patron of the Regatta.

The 165th Australia Day Regatta on Sydney Harbour is not only the oldest continuous sailing regatta in the world, but this year's 100th regatta since Federation will be marked with special medallions for winners and placegetters in the Harbour and other regattas tomorrow.

The medallions have been struck from a Federation of Australia gold medal won in the 1901 Regatta by a member of the Sydney Amateur Sailing Club.

The Overall Winner of the 2000 Telstra Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race, SAP Ausmaid, will return to local competition in the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia's short ocean race from Sydney Harbour to Botany Bay and return, with the finish in Farm Cove in front of the Sydney Opera House.

Most Sydney-based competitors in the recent race to Hobart will also be competing in the race to Botany Bay, for the City of Sydney Sesquicentenary Trophy.

The Danish yacht Nokia, holder of the Sydney Hobart Race record, will compete with the Division 1 fleet in the 165th Regatta on the Harbour which also includes, for the first time, several International Etchells one-design keelboats.

A feature of the 165th regatta is the number of Classic Yachts and Traditional Skiffs entered, including well-known former Sydney to Hobart racing yachts Fidelis, Struen Marie and Caprice of Huon.

The Historical skiffs are restored or replicas of the gaff-rigged skiffs that raced on Sydney Harbour in the early 1900s; they continue to carry such famous early 18-footer names as Australia, Aberdare, Tangalooma, Query and Ajax.

The Botany Bay ocean race will start between Clarke Island and Shark Island at 1100 hours, with the 165th Australia Day Regatta starting in divisions from 1300 hours from a line adjacent to HMAS Kanimbla.

Before the Regatta, Sydney Harbour will be full of activity with the colourful Ferrython followed by an Historic Fleet Parade and the Tall Ships Race. In the air, the Defence Forces show will begin with the flyover at 1300 hours by the RAAF's F/A-18s, followed later in the afternoon by an aerobatic display by the Roulettes and a parachute jump by the Army's Red Beret parachute regiment, landing astern of the Flagship.

Further information: Peter Campbell - 0419 385 028 or email - peter_campbell@bigpond.com

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