A sailing festival in Newcastle next month will bring together a host of offshore racers for a series of events designed to "put Newcastle on the sailing map", Newcastle Cruising Yacht Club chief Paul O'Rourke says.
Mr O'Rourke was joined by Newcastle lord mayor Nuatali Nelmes to officially launch the SailFest Newcastle Regatta on Tuesday.
The regatta is being hosted by the Newcastle Cruising Yacht Club and Port Hunter 16ft Skiff Sailing Club on March 29-31.
"Our motivation to put a signature event on is to really highlight the sport of sailing and attract visitors to the area," Mr O'Rourke said.
"The idea is, we will run multiple sailing events all along the foreshore.
"People can come down and walk the foreshore and see all different kinds of sailing.
"It will showcase the sport and showcase the harbour."
Mr O'Rourke said SailFest would rekindle the historic Newcastle Harbour Regatta, first staged in 1834, with vessels like 16-foot skiffs, off-the-beach performance classes, lasers, and trailer yachts involved.
In an Australian-first, the event will also feature nine grand prix TP52 racing yachts, which Mr O'Rourke described as the "Supercars of sailing", going head-to-head against each other off Newcastle beach for the inaugural Gold Cup.
City of Newcastle's sponsorship of the event had secured the grand prix class, Mr O'Rourke said.
The annual ‘Cock of the Harbour’ race, which heralds the fastest sailing vessel on Newcastle Harbour, will also be held during the weekend's racing.
Try sailing events will be available for children too.
"Hopefully for us, people will start sailing, people will sail in here from other destinations and put us on the sailing map," he said.