Please select your home edition
Edition
SailX 728x90

Festival of Sails 2013 - Dutchmen to continue tradition in Geelong

by Lisa Ratcliff on 13 Dec 2012
Festival of Sails 2013 © Festival of Sails http://www.festivalofsails.com.au
The Festival of Sails 2013 will not only be a venue for fierce competitions but also a ‘Promise Land’ for sailing enthusiasts like Bas Huibers and Eric Swaan. Once a year, Holland nationals Huibers and Swaan travel to Geelong as they continue to celebrate their never-ending love for sailing in the most colorful and festive sailing event in the world.

Dutchmen Bas Huibers and Eric Swaan reunite from opposite ends of the globe once a year at the place they first met. It’s not a love story, but a love of sailing story that began when Netherlands based Swaan responded to a ‘crew wanted’ notice for Geelong Week in 2008.

The original arrangement fell through and Victorian yachtsman and countryman, Huibers, generously stepped in, offering Swaan a ride on his S80 called Merak. And so began an annual pilgrimage that will continue at next January’s historic Festival of Sails, January 24 – 28.


'What initially looked like a once in a life time opportunity has now almost turned into a tradition, with this year being my fourth time sailing in the exciting S80 class,' wrote Swaan in an email from the Netherlands.

'At first, I had declined the kind invitation but soon thereafter I experienced two very tragic situations which made me realise I should live life to the max as it might change dramatically or even end suddenly. Because Geelong Week sounded great, I got on the plane and flew over for a fantastic regatta.'

Bas Huibers is the immediate past commodore of the Royal Yacht Club of Victoria and has been an Australian resident since 1994 having emigrated from the Netherlands for work. He is heavily involved in the S80 class, an Australian designed eight metre one-design boat crewed by up to five, which is the largest and most active keelboat fleet on Port Phillip.

'Eric is a committed yachty. Back in 2008 he flew in for the week from the Netherlands and he had a lot of fun. So much that he has been back in 2011, 2012 and he has just booked his tickets to join us again for the 2013 event,' said Huibers.


Despite being offered Vegemite every year by the jokesters on Merak, Swaan’s decision to leave behind the cold weather each January is a simple one, made even easier by the fact he has a very understanding wife.

'When I came back home after the 2012 edition of the Festival of Sails it was extremely cold, minus 23 degrees Celsius with a wind chill factor taking it even further down. This is another great reason for participating in the regatta - I get a break from the cold weather, even if it is only for a week!'

A co-worker originally brought the Festival of Sails to Swaan’s attention, likening it to the UK’s longstanding Cowes Week of the southern hemisphere. Through the official crew bulletin board operated by organising club, the Royal Geelong Yacht Club (Crew Registration) , Swaan signed on and is now Merak’s international rock star, flying in a couple of days before the event starts and home shortly afterwards, but not before celebrating another ritual.


'After the regatta ends, we have a great tradition on the delivery back to Melbourne, which we call the Mussel Cup. We ‘race’, with all means of propulsion, to Portarlington for lunch at The Grand and after getting back to the city in the evening, I fly out the following day,' said Swaan.

As well as catching up with the crew on Merak and other Aussie friends, Swaan espouses Geelong’s great weather and sailing conditions, the exciting S80 class and a very well organised event with lots of shoreside activities.

'The S80 has its own division which makes for some very close and exciting sailing. Finishing the passage race within seconds of each other is quite spectacular!' he added.


Merak has been a regular entrant in the S80 class during the Festival of Sails since 1999, Huibers only occasionally missing the highly regarded regatta and major event for Geelong that is a drawcard for interstate and international entries, sailors and their Festival of Sails website

Ensign 660Barz Optics - FloatersHarken AUS Reflex 660x82

Related Articles

2014 Festival of Sails - Fiftieth entry announced
2014 Festival of Sails - Ian Murray is pleased to announce that Michael Culhane’s Weekend Option is the 50th entry 2014 Festival of Sails - Royal Geelong Yacht Club Commodore Ian Murray is pleased to announce that Michael Culhane’s Northshore 38, Weekend Option, is the 50th entry. Culhane’s prize is having a story written about him, and he enjoyed the opportunity to talk about what brings he and his 38-footer from the Royal Melbourne Yacht Squadron back year after year
Posted on 27 Nov 2013
Andrea Francolini's unique photos of Festival of Sails 2013
Andrea Francolini provides his personal view of the event when searching for something ‘different.’ Festival of Sails 2013 - Photographer Andrea Francolini provides his personal view of the event when searching for something ‘different.’
Posted on 30 Jan 2013
Festival of Sails - IRC Championship - Shogun empire
Festival of Sails 2013. Geelong put on great weather for the championships with ten to twenty knots of wind and flat sea Festival of Sails 2013. Geelong put on great weather for the championships with ten to twenty knots of wind and flat seas. The series which was taken out by Shogun on a count back from Hooligan. Black Jack got line honors for every race but narrowly missed out on handicap.
Posted on 28 Jan 2013
Festival of Sails 2013 - Teri Dodds Images
The Festival of Sails has come to a close for 2013, with many highlights from a very busy five days of sailing The Festival of Sails has come to a close for 2013, with many highlights from a very busy five days of sailing and shoreside entertainment. Teri Dodds shares a few images from this great regatta, which was held on the waters in and out of Corio Bay, in Geelong, Australia.
Posted on 28 Jan 2013
Audi IRC Australian Championship (Festival of Sails) – The Business
The business is complete at the Audi IRC Australian Championships that are part of Victoria’s Festival of Sails The business of determining winners and conducting race management is complete at the Audi IRC Australian Championships. Part of Victoria’s Festival of Sails at Geelong, the whole regatta has been blessed with good winds, sunshine, festivities and laughter, much to the delight of event management.
Posted on 28 Jan 2013
Festival of Sails 2013 - Sydney 38 images from Teri Dodds
Official photographer for the Festival of Sails 2013, Teri Dodds spent some time on the Sydney 38 course Official photographer for the Festival of Sails 2013, Teri Dodds spent some time on the Sydney 38 course and shares these images with you.
Posted on 28 Jan 2013
Festival of Sails images by Alex McKinnon
Photographer Alex McKinnon was on site at the Festival of Sails in Geelong to capture this gallery of action shots! Photographer Alex McKinnon was on site at the Festival of Sails in Geelong to capture this gallery of action shots! Enjoy!
Posted on 28 Jan 2013
Andrea Francolini's photos of IRC Australian Championships 2013
Leading Australian photographer Andrea Francolini continues his coverage of the Audi IRC Australian Championships at Gee Leading Australian photographer Andrea Francolini continues his coverage of the Audi IRC Australian Championships at Geelong.
Posted on 27 Jan 2013
Festival of Sails - Audi IRC Nationals - Cliff hanger finale
Rob Hanna’s Shogun V takes the Audi IRC Class A National title after winning the tie-break over Marcus Blackmore The Audi IRC Australian Class A Champion for 2013 has been decided with local entry, Rob Hanna’s Shogun V hitting the jackpot in a cliff hanger countback finish to the nine-race series.
Posted on 27 Jan 2013
Festival of Sails 2013 - International A-Class - Breakthrough win
With borrowed boat and demon of an alias, International A-Class David Parker claimed his first ever major regatta win. Festival of Sails 2013. With a borrowed boat and a demon of an alias, International A-Class young-gun David Parker claimed his first ever major regatta win.
Posted on 27 Jan 2013