As Sir James HARDY (AUS), a former America's Cup, Admiral's Cup, World Champion and Olympic yachtsman, says, 'There is no better way to mark the birth of a nation surrounded by the sea, founded across the sea and developed through our great maritime heritage than by taking part in the Australia Day Regatta.'
Racing yachts, historic gaff-riggers and Sydney's famous modern and historic 18 foot skiffs will compete in the 171st Australia Day Regatta on the Harbour, starting from 13:30, with the start and the finish near the Australia Day Regatta Flagship, HMAS Manoora, moored in Rushcutters Bay.
Earlier, at 11:00, a fleet of ocean racing yachts, including many competitors in the recent Rolex Sydney Hobart Race, will contest the traditional ocean race from Sydney Harbour to Botany Bay and return.
To avoid a repeat of last year's abandonment of the ocean race, if there is insufficient wind at the scheduled starting time, the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia's starting boat will hoist the 'follow me' signal.
She and the fleet will then motor down the coast until the Principal Race Officer considers there is enough breeze to enable the smallest boat in the fleet to complete the course by 2000 hours.
In addition to the historic 171st Australia Day Regatta on the harbour, yachts, dinghies, skiffs and catamarans will compete in satellite Australia Day regattas on the Parramatta River, at Manly, Rose Bay and on Botany Bay, Port Hacking and Lake Illawarra in the south, and at Pittwater, Brisbane Waters and Lake Illawarra in the north.
Many of the Australia Day Regatta events are for fine perpetual trophies, including the City of Sydney Sesquicentenary Trophy and the Geoff Lee Trophy for the ocean race.
On the harbour, yachts will be racing for the H C Dangar Sponsors Trophy, the Davidson Family Trophy - a fine claret jug won the yacht Ella in the 1866 Anniversary Day Regatta (as the Australia Day Regatta was then known) and the Centenary of Federation Gold Medal, while the 18 footers will be competing for the Lord Mayor's Cup.
However, winners and placegetters in all Australia Day regattas in New South Wales will receive the special Australia Day Regatta medallion.
Originally called the Anniversary Regatta, the Australia Day Regatta was first held in 1837 - just 49 years after the First Fleet arrived in Port Jackson and a group of Royal Navy officers, Royal Marines and convicts witnessed the hoisting of the Union Jack on the shores of what is now the City of Sydney and the largest city in the Commonwealth of Australia.