Entries opened yesterday for the 2013 Festival of Sails and within minutes Paul Lindemann’s Victorian Beneteau 50, Biddy Hu II, was declared the first official entry for Australia’s largest keelboat regatta.
'It’s a great honour to be the first entry,' said an enthusiastic Lindemann, adding 'the Festival of Sails reminds me of my dinghy days, only on a grand scale.
'It’s one of those events that bring back memories of when I was sailing Lasers and the camaraderie of the class. You race all day then come in and have a few drinks on the dock or in the yacht club and talk with your mates about what happened on the water.'
Hot on Lindemann’s heels once entries opened were another two Victorians, Brian Barnes’ Bavaria Match 42, Barnstormer (SYC), and RGYC club mate, Malcolm Eaton with his Sydney 39CR, Celeste.
Most of Lindemann’s 10-14 crew hail from Altona Yacht Club at Seaholme, Victoria, and many of them are still sailing dinghies or catamarans, a very different experience to putting the big cruising Beneteau with all the creature comforts through its paces.
'It’s very social being on our boat; instead of two crew on a dinghy there will be up to 14 of us on a rotation, depending on the conditions. Most of us have raced against each other but we all band together on Biddy Hu; it’s definitely a team effort,' said Lindemann.
Biddy Hu II’s crew will be even more tightly knit for the Beneteau’s third Festival of Sails outing given they spent two months contesting the northern circuit over winter, including the Audi Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race and Audi Hamilton Island and Magnetic Island race weeks. 'January’s Festival of Sails will bring us all back together,' the owner/skipper added.
For Lindemann’s family, who have travelled with him from Williamstown to Geelong for the past two Festivals, there’s no waiting around counting down the hours until dad returns after each race.
'There’s so much for families to do and there’s always something going on for the kids,' Lindemann says. The 2013 Shoreside Festival will offer 60 free acts across three stages, including kid’s favourite, Peppa Pig, and guitar maestro Diesel for the grown-ups.
Geelong is perfectly situated at the start of the famous Bellarine Peninsula wine region and within a 30 minute drive of the picturesque Great Ocean Road, so there is plenty for the family to see during the day before the fleet comes home each night.
Being on top of his paperwork has qualified Lindemann for both first official entry and the early bird rate of $50 off the regular entry fee for the cruising with spinnaker division.
Entries received by November 30th will be eligible for an early bird discount of $50 off the regular entry fee, which will apply from December 1st to January 11th. A late entry fee of $100 will apply after thereafter.
Royal Geelong Yacht Club has been busy fielding many enquiries from prospective entries and is delighted with Lindemann’s enthusiasm. Sailing manger Rod Hagebols said, 'Online entry was launched this morning and immediately we had our first applicant for the Cruising Series, quickly followed by two more.
'The cruising guys are the backbone of this longstanding sporting and cultural Victorian icon and we look forward to delivering them to the main arena on Friday 25th January via the colourful spectacle that is the opening Melbourne to Geelong passage race,' Hagebols added.
For the 2013 running of the Festival of Sails the IRC fleet will already be at Geelong contesting the Audi IRC Australian Championship, a single event national title that will rotate between the states each year.
From Thursday 24th to Sunday 27th January an extensive sailing program will cater for all levels, with 19 different classes open to keelboats and multihulls from Australia and overseas. The event will conclude Monday 28th, the Australia Day public holiday, with the trophy presentations and the final Shoreside Festival program of activities.