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17 Jan 2013


Last chance to enter the Festival of Sails

Festival of Sails 2013  © Festival of Sails
January is known for grabbing a bargain at the traditional post-Christmas sales. In the sporting world the homophone ‘sails' spurs 100,000 people to the shores of Geelong and 300 plus boats and crews to Corio Bay over the Australia Day long weekend for the annual Festival of Sails.

Entries close tomorrow for this month's Festival and the host club, Royal Geelong Yacht Club, won't be offering an extension of entries. This means time is fast running out to be part of Australia's largest keelboat regatta, January 24-28.

To join the Audi IRC Australian Championship fleet, the Performance Series, Cruising with or without spinnaker, Melges 24, SB20s, Classic boats, Multihulls, Noelex and other trailerables, S80s, Farr 1020s, Sydney 38s, plus others, enter here by midnight tomorrow, Friday 18 January.

A year is a long time to wait for the next Festival of Sails!!

IRC battle - Festival of Sails  Steb Fisher

Event history

Before the America's Cup in 1851, before Australia won The Ashes in 1891-92, before the first Davis Cup in 1900 and before the first Melbourne Cup was run in 1861 and later won by Phar Lap in 1930, there was the Festival of Sails.

First held in 1844, the Festival has consistently attracted the highest calibre of sailing craft and crew, while being inclusive of all the different reasons for competing, and budgets.

In 1997, after the successful merger of the Geelong Waterfront Festival and the Royal Geelong Yacht Club's historic Australia Day Regatta, a new Victorian Major Event was born, the Festival of Sails. For a time the regatta was split between Docklands and Geelong but this year, once the passage race fleet arrives on Friday 25th all the action will be centralised at Geelong.

Australia Day on the waterfront  Teri Dodds ©

The organising club, Royal Geelong Yacht Club takes great pride in its role as host of a family friendly regatta with a solid international reputation that attracts a majority local fleet as well as those who make the effort to travel from interstate and overseas.

Start of the passage race - Friday 25th January

Organises are running around making final preparations, competitors are checking their rides are shipshape, the bar at Royal Geelong Yacht Club is being stocked to the brim and the trophies are being polished until gleaming for the Festival of Sails.

The passage race from Williamstown to Geelong next Friday, January 25, is when most of the 300 plus boats entered in Victoria's premier regatta, formerly Geelong Week, will gather for the largest mass yacht race start in the southern hemisphere.

Without the IRC fleet, they will have settled into their Audi IRC Australian Championship points scramble, the large multihulls are likely to lead the pack off the forward starting line on the eastern shores of Port Phillip Bay at 9.30am and take line honours in the traditional 34 nautical mile passage race to Geelong.

There will a separate multihull and monohull line honours trophy for the passage race, but no Lou Abrahams Trophy for IRC overall results given the IRC fleet will be on Corio Bay.

Audi IRC Australian Championship

The RGYC and Festival of Sails were granted the right to host this year's national IRC championship as a single event, the new format introduced last year and again sponsored by Audi, a long-time supporter of Australian sailing.

As always, prizes supplied by luxury German car manufacturer will enhance the appeal for those teams planning to challenge for the national title.

IRC start - Festival of Sails 2012  Mary Longpre - Longpre Photos ©

At the conclusion of racing, the winners of classes A, B and C will be presented a letter confirming their prize of an Audi branded Code 2 spinnaker, proudly produced and supplied by North Sails Australia, along with a custom designed Audi IRC Australian Championship trophy.

Second placegetter's receive an exclusive dinner or lunch for two people at either Matt Moran's Sydney or Brisbane restaurant ARIA or Shannon Bennet's Vue De Monde in Melbourne.

Third placegetters in each class will receive an Audi Sailing Sport team ‘uniform' including sailing jackets, polo shirts and sailing caps.

Click here for further information on the Audi IRC Australian Championship.

Click here to enter.

Melges 24

The Melges 24 class is preparing for next year's world championship. Testament to the international standing of the RGYC and Festival of Sails was the recent announcement that next year's class world title would be conducted by RGYC on Corio Bay off the back of the 2014 Festival of Sails.

Next week the class with gather for their nationals with Warwick Rooklyn aiming for a hat trick with Bandit. Other pedigree sailors on the starter's list include Julian Plante, Chris Links, Gary Shanks and Kevin Nixon.

Melges 24 Australian Championships 2012  Tracey Walters


Melges 24 Australian Championship

A-Class Catamarans: http://www.sail-world.com/index.cfm?nid=105643

Great entertainment program

This year's Festival of Sails will be stepping up the wow factor with fantastic entertainment complementing the historic sailing regatta and five-day event taking place off Geelong's Corio Bay.

Launching with a party for the sailors on Friday 25th to welcome the arrival of the Melbourne to Geelong passage race fleet and for competitors in the Audi IRC Australian Championship midway through their series, Oz Made will kick-off the Festival with a tribute to classic Aussie Rock.

Marking the end of racing on the Sunday will be the incredible Aussie rock guitar legend, Diesel.

Monday is prizegiving day for competitors and family day on the Steampacket stage with performances from Bob the Builder, the Melbourne Rebels players, balloon making, face painting and pirates, followed by some more fantastic local artists.

With over 60 free performances, including an extensive array of roaming entertainment across the entire Australia Day weekend, the Festival of Sails offers something for everyone.

Click here to view the Festival Guide.

Festival Of Sails 2012, Royal Geelong Yacht Club, Variety children enjoying a splash on the waterfront  Teri Dodds/ Festival of Sails ©

Do you have a story to tell?

The onsite media team will be working hard to sniff out and cover all the fantastic stories and identify the characters integral to this historic major event. A regular flow of press releases to the world's media and via more interactive forums such as Facebook will give competitors the chance to have their story told and achievements – human interest or results based - highlighted.

If you haven't already done so, please like the Facebook page where the discussion and excitement is building. Go to /Festival.of.Sails to join the group, have your say and post your fabulous feedback and photos.

If you have a story relating to the Festival worth retelling in the lead-up or during the event, please email the details to lisa@occ.com.au

For further information on the 167th Festival of Sails visit the official regatta website.

We look forward to seeing you at Geelong next week!


Lisa Ratcliff



Parks Victoria Melges 24 Australian Championship lead-in to worlds
Tracey Walters,
Teams from the Australian Melges 24 fleet are busy training and preparing their boats for the sixth Melges 24 Australian Championship, sponsored by Parks Victoria and hosted by Royal Geelong Yacht Club as part of Geelong's annual Festival of Sails.... [more]
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Festival of Sails to be A1 fun for A-Class sailors
Danielle McKay,
World sailing speed record setter Simon McKeon has an insatiable need for speed, and he'll be getting his fix at the Festival of Sails this year. The former Australian of the Year will be competing in the hotly contested Gill A-Class Catamaran Southern Championships that will include five top 50 competitors from the 2012 world titles.... [more]
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IRC National Championship at Festival of Sails – Entries close Friday
John Curnow,
A very strong interstate contingent (56%) heads the entries for 2013 Audi IRC National Championships. To be staged on the waters of Corio Bay in Geelong from Thursday, January 24, the three divisions have attracted some of the Australia's greatest yachts and crews, but there is still time for you to join them, provided you're quick.... [more]
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Festival of Sails – Teen becomes 300th participant for Geelong regatta
Lisa Ratcliff,
The entries for the Festival of Sails 2013 continue to get bigger with 15 year-old Royal Geelong Yacht Club member Will Newman becoming the 300th participant for the upcoming keelboat battle in Geelong.... [more]
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Festival of Sails 2013 - Gill to sponsor Geelong racing spectacle
Susan Ghent,
The Festival of Sails, the biggest annual keel boat regatta in the Southern Hemisphere, hammered a deal with sailing gear-maker Gill to stage this year's record-breaking regatta in Geelong. Gill is very proud to become a sponsor of the event this year as the exclusive apparel supplier.... [more]
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Festival of Sails 2013 - Fantastic entertainment awaits in Geelong
Lisa Ratcliff,
The Festival of Sails will make sure that the latest staging of the biggest keel boat regatta in the Southern Hemisphere will be something to be remembered for a long time with engaging activities and concerts taking place over the four-day event.... [more]
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IRC Australian Championship 2013 - Audi announces prizes for winners
Lisa Ratcliff,
German car manufacturer Audi, the Principal Sponsor of the IRC Australian Championship, announced on Thursday the prizes at stake for the upcoming races from January 24 to 28 on on Geelong's Corio Bay. As always, prizes supplied by luxury German car manufacturer, Audi, the Principle Sponsor of the Championship and also a long-time supporter of Australian sailing, will only enhance the appea... [more]
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