Melges 24 Nationals at Victoria’s Festival of Sails

Warwick Rooklyn’s ’Bandit’ screaming downwind in the Melges 24 fleet
Tom Spithill
The high performance Melges 24 sports boats will be, for the first time, sailing their Australian Championships on Corio Bay Geelong, Victoria during the 2012 Festival of Sails.

The 168 year old, multi award winning Festival of Sails is a permanent fixture on the Victorian Major Events calendar, attracting over 400 yachts and 4,500 competitors to Melbourne and Geelong over the Australia Day holiday period.

Warwick Rooklyn, the Melges 24 Australian Class President and the 2011 Australian Champion, began sailing the class ten years ago in Europe. He is in good form, having sailed at the last Melges 24 World Championship held in Corpus Christi, USA.

‘Over the years many of the top classes in the Asia Pacific have held their Nationals at Festival of Sails. For us, with rapidly growing fleets spread across the country its fairly central, in Australian terms, for everyone and it provides a showcase for the class. The Festival of Sails offers the professional infrastructure we need for our Melges 24 Nationals' said Rooklyn.

Bandit AUS 814 Melges Asia Pacific
Tracey Walters

The Melges 24 National championship is wide open. Kevin Nixon, well known 18ft skiff skipper and I14 champion in his earlier days has entered, as has Dave Alexander, another highly regarded I14 competitor. The South Australian sail maker chartered a boat at the last Pittwater (Sydney) Nationals and is coming back to contest the 2012 event with his own boat.

Heath Walters will again be sailing with Peter Townsend from Western Australia, and they are aiming to repeat their Nationals win of three years ago.

The Festival of Sails is the oldest sporting event in Victoria and the largest sailing festival in the Southern Hemisphere. Each year over 100,000 people flock to the stunning Geelong Waterfront over the Australia Day holiday period to be part of the excitement.

While the Melges 24 fleet will race their 10 race windward leewards series from Thursday 26th to Sunday 29th on Corio Bay, for many classes the event starts much earlier.

The three Premier IRC Divisions and the Sydney 38 One Design classes will sail a six-race series out of the Royal Yacht Club of Victoria, on Saturday 21st and Sunday 22nd January.

On Thursday 26th January, Australia Day, there will be the traditional thirty-one nautical mile Passage race to Geelong, and racing is scheduled each day from then until Sunday 29th January.

Online Entries for the Festival of Sails 2012 are now open. Enter Online

Festival of Sails – 2012

Feature Classes
Melges 24 Australian Championships
Farr 1020 Australian Championships
SB-3 Victorian Championships
International Moths Victorian Championships

Regatta Class
Premier Racing Series (IRC / AMS)
Premier Racing Series (Sydney 38)
Performance Series (AMS / EHC)
Classic Yacht Series
Cruising Spinnaker Series
Cruising Non-Spinnaker Series
Multi-Hull Series
S80 Series
Super 30 Series
Sports Boats Series
Elliot 7 Class Series
Noelex 30 Class Series
Trailable Yachts Series
J24 Series
Bluebird Series
International Cadets – WL Curtis Trophy series

The Festival of Sails 2012 website will also provide information leading up to and during the event, with Notice of Race, online entry, sailing instructions, event guides and entertainment schedules being easily accessible for all -