SAILORS from Victoria and South Australia have converged on Warrnambool for the Fireball International Australian championships.
Eighteen boats will contest 10 races as part of the annual championships, which began on Lady Bay yesterday.
A Fireball yacht is a high-performance two-man dinghy with a trapeze, symmetric spinnaker and chined hull and is popular across Australia.
Warrnambool Yacht Club’s Glenda Allen said the field included four Warrnambool boats hoping to upstage the fancied South Australians.
Don Allen is skippering Mrs Palmer, Tony Heath is at the helm of Rock Stars, Peter Russell is aboard VSS and Andrew Hallett is controlling Bombora.
Warrnambool’s Gunner family, members of the Royal Geelong Yacht Club, also has three boats entered.
“The South Australians are very strong but we’re hoping that the Victorians might come to the fore,” Glenda Allen said.
“We don’t know. It depends on the wind. There’s a beautiful breeze out there today. I don’t know if there is a standout favourite.”
Allen said the national championships were on Lady Bay for the first time, although Warrnambool Yacht Club had previously hosted state championships.
She said organisers hoped to run two races each day, crowning a champion on December 31. Spectators can catch the action from the breakwater.
“Unfortunately Warrnambool is not a big sailing area. We’d like to get more people into sailing,” she said.
“On January 12 we’re hosting a discover sailing day.
“We’re opening up to the public to advertise sailing. A lot of people don’t realise there is a yacht club in Warrnambool.”