Sydney Hobart Yacht Race veteran dead

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Champion sailor Peter Warner, who won the famous Sydney to Hobart race three times, has died in a boating accident on the northern NSW coast.

The 90-year-old's boat capsized while crossing the Ballina Bar on Tuesday.

The Cruising Yacht Club of Australia said the veteran sailor died "doing what he loved best".

"It is with great sadness that we mourn the passing ... of an internationally celebrated Australian sailor and a close friend of the club," it posted on Facebook.

"Peter Warner was an exceptional blue water yachtsman and won the Sydney Hobart Yacht Race three times aboard his yacht 'Astor' during the 1960s."

Mr Warner was "an accomplished author with a passion for the ocean" and is also remembered for his rescue of six shipwrecked teenage castaways in Tonga in 1966.

They had been marooned on a remote island for more than a year when Mr Warner found them.

After Mr Warner's boat capsized, a 17-year-old boy helped him back to shore but he died at the scene. The boy was uninjured.

"Fair winds Peter," the operators of Yamba Marina, where Mr Warner had moored his vessel for the past few weeks, said on Facebook.