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Festival of Sails – Teen becomes 300th participant for Geelong regatta

by Lisa Ratcliff on 16 Jan 2013
Festival of Sails 2013 Teri Dodds © http://www.teridodds.com
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.

The youngster, who is going into year 10 at Belmont High School, is currently in San Diego on a school trip and due back in his home town of Geelong on January 25th. This will give him just a few days to recover from jetlag before the International Cadets take to the water aboard his boat 'Let’s Get Naughty-Cal' on Monday 28th. The International Cadets are the final class to be showcased at this year’s Festival of Sails, while the divisional winners are collecting trophies, sportsboats are being loaded onto trailers and keelboat owners are returning to their regular yacht club pen.

Will’s father, Geoff, has supported his son and the club’s Cadet program for five years, driving the 'crash boat' and diving in the water to help the two person crew, ranging in age from seven to 17, back in their boat following a capsize.

Will Newman left for the United States two days after the Cadet nationals in Hobart where he finished mid-fleet. He missed the world championship leaving his club mates to represent, and a fine job they did with the two top Australian crews racing for RGYC.



RGYC Commodore Andrew Nielson is delighted with the growing fleet; as of Tuesday 308 entries had been received by the host club. The opportunity to be part of the 170th running of the Festival of Sails will remain open until midnight this Friday, 18th January.

'We are delighted the regatta has attracted so much support and we are looking forward to a great event. The club has handled these sorts of numbers before and once again we’ll have the staff and volunteers ready to ensure all competitors have a great experience and time,' the Commodore said.

Not unexpectedly, 20 percent of all entries came in the fortnight between New Year’s Eve and last Friday’s cut-off to be eligible for the regular entry fee.

Some of the most recent entries include Philip Coombs’ Cruising with Spinnaker entry for his Sandringham Yacht Club Beneteau First 50, 51st Project. The Yachting Victoria past President and current Yachting Australia board member is part of the largest division entered for the annual keelboat regatta that will get underway Thursday January 24th when the Audi IRC Australian Championship contenders first wage war on Corio Bay.

The remaining keelboat classes will assemble the following morning, Friday 25th January for the traditional 34 nautical mile Melbourne to Geelong Passage Race starting from the eastern shore of Port Philip at 9.30am.

Along with the Australian Open, the largest mass yacht race start in the southern hemisphere and subsequent regatta and festival attracts 100,000 people to Geelong’s waterfront and is regarded a major Victorian summer event that brings thousands of additional visitors to the state over the Australia Day long weekend.



Other recent entries include Gordon Ketelbey’s Sydney 38, Zen, from Middle Harbour Yacht Club, and in the Audi IRC Australian Championship, Harold Clark’s Farr 1104, Invincible, from Tasmania and Michael Martin’s TP52, Frantic, representing Lake Macquarie and Newcastle yacht clubs.

'The Royal Geelong Yacht Club welcomes eligible boats from all states and we invite owners to submit an entry by Friday to be part of the spectacle and the great racing, as well as the chance to catch up with sailing friends in a family friendly environment,' added Commodore Festival of Sails 2013

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