Please select your home edition
Edition
SOUTHERN-SPARS-AGLAIA-SPARS_728X90

TP52s warming up to tango on Geelong's Corio Bay

by Lisa Ratcliff 19 Nov 2018 22:21 PST 26-28 January 2019
Hooligan, Hamilton Island Race Week - Day 1 © Salty Dingo

Not one but two new Australian-owned TP52s will make for a thrilling battle in the Rating Series at the 2019 Festival of Sails conducted annually on the Australia Day long weekend by the Royal Geelong Yacht Club.

Numbers in the TP52 class, well known for their glamourous Mediterranean series and overall results in iconic ocean passages such as the Rolex Sydney Hobart, have beefed up in Australia with Melbourne based Chris Dare and Sydney based Gordon Ketelbey buying-in.

Dare has spent the last few years working his way through smaller boat classes and driving his son and daughter around the country to attend youth regattas. Now the former owner of the Corby 49 Flirt has returned to big boat sailing with his two teenagers and a majority crew aged 17-27 on a TP52 called Ambition which debuted on Port Phillip in the state of Victoria two weekends ago.

Ketelbey's reason for purchasing a TP52 his team is now scrambling to have ready for this year's Hobart race, is unusual. Ketelbey blacked out in February while driving his car near his Middle Harbour home and plunged 27 metres off a cliff towards the ocean, suffering only facial injuries while his Land Cruiser was a crumpled wreck. "It was a fairly nasty incident and an interesting point to reflect on my mortality," the skipper admitted. "There's a point in your life when you think 'you're 65 with some pennies in the bank and one of these days you'll be 70 and not wanting to be bouncing around on a TP52'."

Launched as All4One for the 2011 TP52 MedCup then named Beecom and finally Temptation, Dare made his purchase in New Zealand with the plan to take on longer passages. Ambition is configured for distance races rather than around the buoys match-ups against the newer generation TPs like Marcus Blackmore's Hamilton Island Race Week winner Hooligan and Matt Allen's Ichi Ban, a proven all-rounder with a Rolex Sydney Hobart overall victory in 2017 and follow-up first in division at this year's Australian Yachting Championships.

Dare's summer schedule includes the Australian Yachting Championships January 21-24, 2019 out of the Royal Melbourne Yacht Squadron, the Festival of Sails, January 26-28, the Adelaide to Port Lincoln Race starting February 15 and finally Lincoln Week in Adelaide, February 18-21.

Ultimately Dare has the 50th anniversary Transpac next July as his bucket-list item and Ketelbey is considering the same option.

"The Festival of Sails is a great regatta and the passage race a bit of fun," Dare said. "It's always a nice balance between competitive sailing and catching up with people after Christmas. I haven't done one for nine or 10 years as I've usually been driving kids around the country to youth regattas at that time.

"It's a little lonely down in Melbourne at the moment and some people think I'm crazy buying a big boat, but my motivation is different. I'm keeping my kids and their friends in the sport and hanging on to the last stage of them thinking it's cool to hang out with their dad."

Ambition is already on the water while Zen is still in the shed at Gosford on the NSW coast undergoing hurried modifications to prepare the boat for its first Bass Strait crossing. The boat started life as Synergy then it was Sled then Sorcha and was a typical Super Series Med trim - light and stripped out. "It's currently undergoing an astronomically expensive refit for Hobart," Ketelbey advised.

Ichi Ban and Ambition are confirmed starters for the Festival of Sails 2019 and Hooligan, Sam Haynes' Celestial and Geoff Boettcher's Secret Mens Business are more than likely, bringing together at least five TP52s for some close-quarter racing within the Rating Series division starting with the traditional Melbourne to Geelong Passage Race mass start on January 26 off Williamstown.

Entries are climbing steadily with 68 boats registered for Victoria's best-known sailing event. Organisers anticipate another fleet of close to 300 boats in 2019 and complementing the three-day on-water program over the Australia Day holiday long weekend will be another well-planned timetable of onshore activities.

The Notice of Race and online entry is available at festivalofsails.com.au/notice-of-race. Online entries close Friday January 11, 2019 at midnight and thereafter a late fee of $250 may apply up until the final closing date of Tuesday January 15.

For more information visit the event website, festivalofsails.com.au

Related Articles

Dates just announced for 2020 Festival of Sails
Set to kick off Geelong's massive summer of sailing The 2020 dates for Australia's oldest annual sporting event, the Festival of Sails in Geelong have just been finalised with tens of thousands of people expected to enjoy Australia Day festivities along the Geelong Waterfront from January 25 to 27, 2020. Posted on 4 Jul
Festival of Sails: Secret to success
Three days of fine-weather sailing Light ENE breezes filled out to 20 knots from the sou'east later in the day for the combined fleet of close to 300 boats hailing from various clubs along Port Phillip's vast shoreline plus interstate and as far away as the USA and Malaysia. Posted on 28 Jan
Huge crowds enjoy iconic Festival of Sails weekend
Visitors enjoy a distinctively different experience Visitors to the iconic Festival of Sails over coming years will enjoy a distinctively different experience with the Royal Geelong Yacht Club unveiling its multi-million dollar re-development plans over the weekend. Posted on 28 Jan
Festival of Sails Melbourne to Geelong Race
Line honours contest finished in very close fashion The Melbourne to Geelong Passage Race line honours contest finished in spectacularly close fashion, four grand prix boats closing in on the finish line within 200 metres of each other in the Festival of Sails' opening event. Posted on 28 Jan
2019 Festival of Sails day 2
Breeze on as 25 knot gusts came through Geelong's inner Corio Bay Gusts up to 25 knots came through Geelong's inner Corio Bay on day two of the annual Festival of Sails regatta, skittling the VX One fleet contesting the Gill VX One Australian Championship. Posted on 27 Jan
Sailors from around the world descend on Geelong
For the Geelong for Festival of Sails Australia's biggest celebration of sailing has an increasingly international flavour with the 2019 Festival of Sails welcoming crews from the United States and Malaysia, as well as sailors from every state and territory. Posted on 27 Jan
2019 Festival of Sails day 1
Thousands flock to Geelong Waterfront to celebrate Australia Day Australia's oldest sporting event, the Festival of Sails, put on a spectacular Australia Day party in Geelong today, as the country's biggest celebration of sailing got off to a flying start. Posted on 26 Jan
Festival of Sails "goes green" for clean regattas
Joining an international campaign in a bid to protect local waters The Festival of Sails, with the support of Barwon Water, has joined an international campaign to provide "clean regattas" in a bid to protect our local waters. Posted on 22 Jan
2019 Festival of Sails - 100 days to go!
Entries climbing and on track for another spectacular event Geelong's iconic Festival of Sails is on track for another spectacular event. Today marks 100 days until the 2019 Festival of Sails kicks off on Australia Day, January 26, 2019. Posted on 18 Oct 2018
SOUTHERN-SPARS-MISSY-FURLING-BOOMS-728-X-90 BottomNorth Sails 2019 - NSVictoryList - FooterMelges IC37 2019 Footer