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RS Sailing 2021 - LEADERBOARD

Full steam ahead for COVID safe Australia Day Sydney Harbour program

by Lisa Ratcliff 19 Jan 13:51 PST 26 January 2022
Tall ships at Australia Day 2019 © Australia Day Council of NSW

Australia Day 2022 in Sydney marks the return to a jam-packed outdoor Sydney Harbour program that starts early with the dawn projection and flag raising and continues through to the Australia Day Live concert at the Sydney Opera House Forecourt, choreographed to spectacular pyrotechnics and maritime manoeuvres, as the finale.

Boating on Sydney Harbour on Australia Day offers not only amazing views of the on-water and aerial events but taking out your own vessel to get amongst the non-stop harbour activities is a Covid safe bubble for you and your mates.

At first light, before any activity takes place, the tranquility of Sydney Harbour will set the scene for a reflective Australia Day moment honouring the traditional custodians. The symbolic illumination of the Sydney Opera House sails with First Nations artwork will coincide with the raising of both the Australian National and Australian Aboriginal Flags atop the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

Later in the morning on Wednesday 26 January, the Sydney Harbour Splash swim off Woollahra Sailing Club rolls into the traditional Ferrython which starts at 10.45am from Fort Denison with four of Sydney's beloved Emerald Class ferries dressed for the first time in honour of their namesakes - May Gibbs, Victor Chang, Pemulwuy and Catherine Hamlin.

At 12:05pm a new event, Maritime Mayhem, best described as 'Monster Trucks on water', will take place between the OPT and the Sydney Opera House then at 1pm the Tall Ships take their turn, starting at Bradley's Head.

Thrill-seekers will be equally excited by the overhead program including the RAAF's fast jet fly-past and handling display and crowd favourite, the Navy Helicopter flag tow traversing Sydney's beaches and harbour.

Be advised that the ceremonial Salute to Australia at Hickson Road Reserve starting at 11:30am includes a very loud tri-service 21-gun salute ringing out from Bradfield Park.

The world's oldest continual sailing competition, the 186th Australia Day Regatta, is expected to draw up to 600 boats at multiple events around NSW waterways. Sydney Harbour's time-honoured harbour race boasts the largest starting fleet and coincides with the CYCA's City of Sydney Sesquicentenary Ocean Race to Botany Bay and return. Full details at

In the evening, a shimmering lit vessels parade and maritime show in Circular Quay are cleverly choreographed to the traditional outdoor concert at the Sydney Opera House Forecourt, where some of Australia's best musical talent will belt out well known Aussie songs while a brilliant light and fireworks spectacular illuminate Sydney's greatest landmarks.

Limited free tickets to the outdoor seated concert are now available at and the show will be broadcast live on ABC TV and ABC iview from 7:30pm.

Skippers, please be aware of exclusion zones, speed limits, anchoring rules, and all the usual boating regulations as you and your guests enjoy the national day on the water. Visit here.

The Australia Day 2022 Sydney Harbour program is produced by the NSW Government and Australia Day Council of NSW and presented by P&O Cruises and the Port Authority of New South Wales.

Day-time events:

8:30am - Sydney Harbour Splash
10:45am - Ferrython
11:30am - 12:05pm - Salute to Australia - 21-gun salute and HMAS Adelaide
12:00pm - RAAF Fast Jet Fly-past and Handling Display
12:05pm - 12:30pm - Maritime Mayhem
12:30pm - 1:30pm - Navy Helicopter flag display
12:45pm - 2:00pm - Harbour Parade
1:00pm - 1:30pm - Tall Ships Race
1:30pm - 186th Australia Day Regatta
2:00pm - 4:00pm - Campbells Cove Tall Ships Exhibit

For more details on Australia Day events, visit

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