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Melges 24 Worlds - Geelong to host first Southern Hemisphere edition

by Festival of Sails on 23 Jul 2013
2014 Melges 24 Class Association © Andrea Francolini Photography http://www.afrancolini.com/
The Melges 24 Class World Championship hosting bid for January 2014 has been won by Geelong, Victoria. The International Melges 24 Class Association at the November 24th World Council, held in Helsinki Finland, announced that the Royal Geelong Yacht Club will play host to the first championship held outside of the Northern Hemisphere.

The Melges 24 is crewed by up to fove competitors and is the world's premier grand prix sports boat. With strong fleet numbers throughout Europe and North America, it is anticipated that the 2014 World Championship will attract the very best sailors in the world to Victoria to compete, including Olympians, America's Cup stars and multiple world, continental and national champions.

The championship will be programmed to overlap with the Southern Hemisphere’s largest sailing event, Geelong’s Festival of Sails.

Royal Geelong Yacht Club Commodore, Andrew Neilson said, 'Royal Geelong Yacht Club is delighted to host the Melges 24 2014 World Championship. I would like to thank the Australian and International Melges 24 Associations for showing their support for having the event in the Asia Pacific region. I look forward to welcoming both National and International competitors to our great club and the City of Geelong. I can assure all participants that they will have great racing on the waters of Corio Bay with an afternoon sea breeze providing exciting conditions for sailing.'

The confirmed support of both State and Local Governments was pivotal in the success of the Royal Geelong Yacht Club bid.

The Minister for Sport and Recreation, Hugh Delahunty said he was pleased to see the Melges 24 Class World Championship had been secured for the Festival, which has been awarded to the Royal Geelong Yacht Club.

Minister 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.'

The City of Greater Geelong is accustomed to hosting world stage sporting events, such as the UCI World Championship road cycling held in October 2010.

'The awarding of the 2014 Melges 24 World Championship is further acknowledgment of the place Geelong occupies on the major events calendar', said City of Greater Geelong Mayor Cr Keith Fagg.

'Geelong has forged a reputation as a major events capital through the quality of its infrastructure, its expertise in event management and via the enthusiastic support of the broader community,' said the Mayor.

'The Melges 24 World Championship is an especially suitable event for Geelong given our glorious waterfront and our long history of staging major sailing regattas,' Cr Fagg added.

Hosting a world championship reaffirms the Festival of Sails as a premier international event and Geelong as a premier Australian sailing venue.

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