SailFest: Continuing Newcastle's sailing tradition

A LONG TRADITION: Newcastle has a long history of hosting regattas. Photos: SUPPLIED.
A LONG TRADITION: Newcastle has a long history of hosting regattas. Photos: SUPPLIED.

The first Newcastle Regatta was held around 1845, and a carnival atmosphere prevailed as sightseers lined wharves and the waterway thronged with clouds of white sails.

The same excitement is expected to abound, with a host of activities drawing people to the foreshore on April 10-11.

While the tallships and the timber workboats of old are long gone - replaced by state-of-the-art racing yachts, sports keelboats, Olympic-class Laser dinghies and more - the enthusiasm of crews and a love for open water remains. Newcastle's reputation for excellence and popularity as a sailing harbour continues.

But it will not all be about the elite vessels when SailFest gets underway.

Families can also participate in a free Try-Sailing experience in the sheltered waters of Throsby Basin, adjacent to Carrington Bridge.

It will give budding sailors of all ages the chance to learn a new skill aboard one of NCYC's Optimist trainers or Pacer dinghies.

Lifejackets and instructors will be available from 10am to 12pm on both weekend days during SailFest.

Little hearties can also get their faces painted at the 'Pirates of the Carro-bbean' stall.

Continuing the pirate theme on the Saturday night, competitors will follow a map to some of the treasures of Newcastle's thriving pub scene, all close to the Harbour.

Make sure you check out the action on April 10-11.

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