Festival of Sails to umbrella four Australian championships

Festival of Sails - Festival of Sails 2014
Festival of Sails is to be held from Thursday 23rd until Monday 27th January 2014. The broad Festival of Sails fleet has flown past 200 entries and organisers at the Royal Geelong Yacht Club predict another bumper line-up. One design classes and production boats are robust and the Rolex Sydney Hobart fleet is up, buoyant signs for Victoria’s oldest sporting trophy.

In 2014 the event will umbrella four Australian championships; the Melges 24 Australian Open Nationals, the Australian Teams Racing Championship, the Beneteau First Nationals and the Sydney 38 One Design Australian Championship.

In a coup for the leading French manufacturer, Beneteau’s second annual First Nationals is to be held in conjunction with the Festival of Sails regatta in Geelong.

At the conclusion of the Southern Hemisphere’s largest sailing regatta three new national Beneteau champions will be announced from the First 35, First 40 and First 45 divisions.

Seven Firsts have already been entered for the Festival of Sails, their owners and crew vying for championship contention.

'The First range is the mainstay of our racing program and staging an event such as the Australian national title is a great event to provide our owners with the opportunity to pit their skills against other similar yachts,' said First Design lead Eric Ingouf.

'The Festival of Sails is a great event to partner with for our national championship and we look forward to seeing a quality field from around Australia contesting this prestigious series,' he added.

'We're always looking for ways to enhance the Festival and partnering with Beneteau for their First Nationals is a great way to add an extra incentive for those owners considering entering,' said Ben Fels, RGYC regatta administrator.

Philip Dash’s Middle Harbour Yacht Club Beneteau First 40, Just A Dash, has the distinction of being the first interstate entry for the First Nationals.

'The Beneteau First Nationals is a great event for owners to pit their sailing and tuning skills against owners from other states,' said Dash. 'Sailing at locations and events away from our normal home base is great as it tests our skills in unfamiliar environments.'

Beneteau NSW Dealer Vicsail hosted the inaugural event on Sydney Harbour last year with the championship travelling to allow owners from across the country to contest the prestigious honour.

The regular Festival of Sails entry fee now applies to January 10th and a late entry fee of $100 will apply after thereafter.

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.

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