Australia Day regatta pits man against nature

SAILING

Wollongong Yacht Club will celebrate another Australia Day on the water with their annual regatta this weekend.

Concerns over the water pollution in the harbour from a sewage leak aren't likely to worry competitors, as they glide around the open ocean over three days.

Beginning tomorrow, WYC competitors will engage in six races across the long weekend in a handicap format.

"This is an annual regatta for Wollongong Yacht Club. We will have eight or nine boats in the water, that is our normal fleet," boat owner and WYC member Bob Cooper said.

"It is one of our biggest regattas throughout this year."

The owner of his boat for five years, Cooper says it's the thrill of the open water that draws him to these yachting regattas.

"It's about the excitement and the challenge, like anything that is man versus nature," Cooper said.

"The teamwork involved, I suppose that is why people do the Sydney to Hobart year after year, because of that challenge and that team work and the fact that every day is a new day on the water."

Competing once a fortnight on Sundays, the Wollongong Yacht Club boasted two boats in the recent Sydney to Hobart fleet.

Black Sheep skippered by Derek Shepherd finished 46th in the battle for line honours. But competing on the some of the yachting's biggest stages isn't always necessary to appreciate the sport.

"We are always looking for those people who are looking to come have a go," Cooper said.

"If they like sailing and to see if they can get involved in the club and see if they can have the same enjoyment that we have each time."

The club plans to re-establish their Seafood and Sail weekend.

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