THE Australian Hobie Cat Championship regatta got underway on the Sunshine Coast yesterday with 76 boats taking to the water for the first of five days action.
Seventy-one boats completed the three races yesterday with four withdrawing due to lost masts and one boat suffering a damaged hull in what proved to be very close sailing.
New South Wales pair Jason Waterhouse and Lisa Darmanin claimed the championship lead yesterday but point scores are accumulated right up until the final race.
Mooloolaba and Maroochydore beaches and Alexandra Headland all provide excellent viewing points as the hobbies, with their colourful sails, fill the bay.
A number of the sailors competing in this week's regatta will also compete in the Yachting Australia Youth Series to be held at the Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron next week.
Successful teams from that event will then represent Australia in the Youth World Championships being held later this year.
Hosted by the Sunshine Coast Yacht Club (SCYC) and Mooloolaba Marina, the national championship has lured some of the country's top sailors to the region.
"Additionally we have a team of around 40 volunteers, from within our club, assisting with all facets of the regatta," SCYC Commodore Heinz Seeberg said.
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