The Festival of Sails 2013 has now recorded more than 200 entries and the number of boats participating is expected to get even higher in the succeeding weeks before the opening of the biggest keelboat regatta in Australia.
Passage Race - Festival of Sails
Peter Kalin’s Noelex 30, No Strings Attached, from the Albury Wodonga Yacht Club was the lucky 200th entry. Swiss born Kalin is excited about the milestone, and the prospect of defending last year’s Noelex division win in just over a fortnight’s time.
Kalin, a multiple Festival of Sails entrant, is anticipating a six to eight boat Noelex 30 Series line-up and with his crew of five, all Albury locals, is looking forward to the usual variety of racing the event offers.
'We enjoy the competition and the different types of sailing with the short and longer courses. We especially enjoy the passage race from Melbourne to Geelong,' said the skipper.
'We’ll tow the boat down from Albury a couple of days before the regatta to do a bit of cruising, and suss out the opposition.'
Kalin moved to Australia 33 years ago and to Albury for the fresh water sailing and the proximity to the mountains and winter snow. 'It’s what we are used to,' he said of the easy access to the snowfields. They seem a long way from this week’s 40 degree days that have the NSW/Victorian border town baking and Kalin only able to work on his boat in the early morning before the searing heat forces him indoors.
RGYC sailing manager Rod Hagebols says numbers are still ahead on last year, 205 yesterday afternoon compared to 167 at the same time last year.
Cruising Fleet - Festival of Sails
From this Friday, January 11, a late entry fee will apply and the club’s sailing office staff and volunteers are bracing themselves for the rush. 'We know there‘s a tremendous amount of work about to come,' said Hagebols who, with his team, is working six days a week, eight to twelve hours a day to stay on top of the paperwork and logistics.
The skipper’s packs are being prepared and the jury is in place to sort out any differences of opinion over four days of racing.
Coordinating volunteers for an event the size of the Festival of Sails is another mammoth task and while entries might be up on last year, volunteer numbers could do with a boost.
'Ninety have signed up so far, our target is 150,' added Hagebols who is encouraging anyone interested in volunteering to go to the website Festival of Sails 2013 and click on the volunteer link.