Entries opened at midnight last night for the 2014 Festival of Sails and within minutes Yachting Australia Vice President Matt Allen entered his new Carkeek 60, the next in a line of boats named Ichi Ban, the Japanese term for ‘First’.
Festival of Sails 2013 Geelong, Victoria
Built in Dubai by Premier Composite Technologies, Allen’s latest pedigree is currently in transit and due for delivery into Australia early November, before being prepared for the Rolex Sydney Hobart.
Allen, a regular visitor to Geelong, said 'I am very much looking forward to bringing the new Ichi Ban to Melbourne and Geelong for the 2014 Festival of Sails. Having grown up sailing in Melbourne and having competed in many regattas in Geelong in past years I can’t wait to get back sailing on Corio Bay, one of the best race tracks in the world.'
'I have always enjoyed my time in Geelong both on the water and off, and it’s always a great opportunity to catch up with old friends.'
Victoria’s ‘other’ secret, Corio Bay’s fantastic sailing conditions, may have been leaked as hot on Allen’s heels were a further three entries, all from outside Victoria.
Bent Dietrich of the Czech Republic was the first to enter his boat Kleine Rainbow in the Melges 24 Australian Championship, which will form part of his lead-up campaign to the Melges 24 World Championship immediately following the Festival of Sails.
The cruising fleet entries were also led by interstate visitors, with Tasmanian Graham Mansfield lodging paperwork for his Ed Dubois 40, Black Magic, and sailing rock royalty, John and Kim Clinton entering their Beneteau Oceanis 50, Holy Cow.
Holy Cow sails from Sydney’s CYCA and is well campaigned along the East coast, bringing a great deal of entertainment and laughs with their distinctive livery and even more recognisable cow horn.
Last year’s Festival of Sails saw a fantastic battle between Holy Cow and local sister ship, Paul Lindemann’s, Biddy Hu II from the Royal Yacht Club of Victoria. The two boats had been locked in a great battle up to the final race, separated by just three points. Unfortunately for the local crew the final race saw a dramatic change in fortunes, with the Holy Cow crew posting a fantastic sixth place and the Victorians a forgettable 23rd.
Regatta chairman Paul Smart is very excited to see the support from outside Victoria, 'It is great to see that again crews are eager to make the effort and bring their boats to Geelong to compete in our event. We hope that it signals to the entire community that the Festival of Sails is a truly international level event and something the entire Australian sailing community can be proud of.'
'We (RGYC) have worked very closely with both local and interstate competitors to try to develop a program of both on-water racing and off-water entertainment that makes the series attractive to competitors at the highest levels, while still being fun for sailors with more socially minded aspirations.'
Entries received by midnight November 30th will be eligible for an early bird discount of $50 off the regular entry fee, which applies from December 1st to January 10th. A late entry fee of $100 will apply after thereafter.
In 2014 the event will host three Australian Championship events; the Melges 24 Australian Championship, the Australian Teams Racing Championship and the Sydney 38 One Design Australian Championships.
From Tuesday 21st to Monday 27th January an extensive sailing program will cater for all levels, with 17 different classes open to keelboats and multihulls from Australia and overseas.
The event will conclude Monday 27th, the Australia Day public holiday, with the trophy presentations and the final Shoreside Festival program of activities.