The giant shark mouth painted on the bow of Grundig leapt out of the water and the annual FKP Limited Sydney to Mooloolaba Yacht Race was under way.
A 20-knot south-westerly breeze provided a fantastic start, one of the most exciting Sydney Harbour starts ever, as the fleet tore down the harbour, hoisting spinnakers as they went.
Sean Langman's skiff-like Grundig pulled away from the fleet with ease, quickly building boat speed, with Ray Wallace's Broomstick close astern.
Then a red streak appeared from the spray and the tiny Super 30 The Cone of Silence (James Neill) surfed into third place, a position he held all the way to South Head.
The 80-foot Brindabella, owned by George Snow and the record holder in this event, left the harbour in fourth place but soon made a meal of the cheeky 30-footer.
Queensland entry Bobsled (Bob Robertson) tore its spinnaker in two as it reached South Head. "It's a sail maker's dream race," was the comment aboard the hospitality boat.
Late starters in the 43-boat fleet included John Woodruff's The Dreamtime and Wayne Kirkpatrick's Sydney 38 Run to Paradise, which tore its spinnaker prior to the start in the fresh breeze.
Wayne's spare main was already heading out of Sydney aboard a truck bound for Mooloolaba but within minutes of the damage being reported, the truck driver was contacted and requested to turn around.
An hour after the 1.00pm start, two crewmembers from Run to Paradise were seen running down the CYCA marina carrying the spare main before the boat set off once more as a late starter.