by Fiona Brown
The Royal Geelong Yacht Club and the International Melges 24 Class Association have made available the Notice of Race and have opened entries for the 2014 Melges 24 World Championship, which are to be held in Geelong, Victoria between January 27 and February 2, 2014.
Melges 24 World Championship 2013 logo
This will be the first time that the Melges 24 Class has held a major international championship outside the Northern Hemisphere and signals the growth of this exciting ISAF Grand Prix sports boat in Australia and the surrounding regions.
After the announcement of Australia having been chosen to host the Championship, the Victorian Minister for Sport & Recreation, Hugh Delahunty said, 'The Victorian Government is delighted that the International Melges 24 Association has chosen to hold their first Southern Hemisphere World Championship in Victoria. The city of Geelong and Royal Geelong Yacht Club are set to offer competitors and families from overseas a fantastic opportunity to experience a wonderful Australian holiday, as well as being able to compete in the world renowned Festival of Sails lead up regatta.'
Australian Class President and reigning Melges 24 North American Champion, Warwick Rooklyn, ensured that as soon as the system was live his entry was lodged.
Warwick said, 'the Australian association and Aussie sailors are really excited about the prospect of having lots of international teams to the Worlds in Geelong.
It's going to be a great mix of super intense racing and a true laid back Aussie social program. The Australia Day celebrations, which are at the end of the Australian National Titles / Pre Worlds, are always an amazing party. I know the Worlds in OZ has created a lot of interest in the whole sailing community.'
Riccardo Simoneschi, Chairman of the International Melges 24 Class Association (IMCA), was one of the first entries, saying, 'I have already entered what we expect will be a terrific and historic World Championship. We know Australia is far away for many competitors, but this is the same for the Australians, Japanese and South American teams who travel to Europe and North America for events.
Geelong itself is a great place and the Festival of Sails is a super sailing event that we will join as our pre-worlds. The place is incredibly beautiful and Australia is a natural 'home of sailing' that is ready and waiting to welcome our overseas visitors and make them feel right at home.
We are making the effort to consolidate the internationality of the Melges 24 class as this is the safest way to assure a good level of racing, a good value for second hand boats, good fun and a highly respected Class reputation. The Geelong worlds is a vital part of this project.
It is time to be confident and for whoever may have the chance to join us in Geelong please take it, do not miss the unique opportunity to be at this milestone World Championship!'
Even prior to entries opening the scuttlebutt received from competitors, was that many of the top International teams from Europe and North America are slated to be attending. To assist these international visitors the event is offering a travel assistance package of $AUD1000 to the first 10 international entries bringing their own boats.