Please select your home edition
Festival of Sails 2020 - LEADERBOARD

The 2019 Festival of Sails "goes green" joining global push for clean regattas

by Jessica Gabites 21 Jan 21:58 PST 26-28 January 2019
2018 Festival of Sails © Salty Dingo

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.

The Festival of Sails, which starts on Saturday, has registered with the Sailors for the Sea Clean Regatta program, to provide a more environmentally friendly event and better protect local waters.

Event organiser, the Royal Geelong Yacht Club (RGYC), is aiming to achieve Silver Status for this year's event, held in Geelong from Saturday, January 26 to Monday, 28, 2019.

Sailors for the Sea is the world's only ocean conservation organisation that engages, educates, inspires and activates the sailing and boating community toward healing the ocean.

The Clean Regatta program was established in 2009 and is the world's leading and only sustainability certification for water-based events. It provides a step-by-step system for regatta organisers to benchmark what their environmental footprint is today and set goals for the future. It also empowers sailors with tips and resources to implement sustainability initiatives.

Since it started, the voluntary, self-assessment tool has been utilised more than 1,365 times in 36 countries.

The Festival of Sails will partner with Barwon Water to provide 3500 free re-usable drink bottles for competitors and volunteers. Barwon Water will also provide a refill station inside the Regatta Village (inside the Royal Geelong Yacht Club grounds) for competitors and volunteers.

This new initiative aims to cut down on more than 1500 plastic bottles of water that are normally purchased. Barwon Water will also provide their Hydration Station for the public on Eastern Beach Reserve, and visitors are encouraged to bring their own reusable drink bottles.

As part of the commitment to reducing plastic that ends up in the ocean, all market and food vendors taking part in the Festival of Sails have been asked not to provide plastic straws or plastic bags with their products and to provide alternatives to plastic plates and cutlery.

According to Clean Up Australia, Australians spend $500 million on bottled water each year. Although plastic bottles are recyclable, many end up in landfill and take up to 1000 years to break down. Australians also use about 10 million straws every day, or 3.5 billion a year.

Festival of Sails chairman Stuart Dickson said "the sailing and boating community is 12 million strong, and in running the Festival of Sails with a Clean Regatta focus, we believe it can become a catalyst to better engage with boaters and encourage them to protect our waters".

"We are proud to announce that we have joined the campaign to restore ocean health with Sailors for the Sea's Clean Regattas program and we are delighted with the support of Barwon Water to achieve this. Obviously, protecting our local waters is a primary concern for our regatta."

The criteria for achieving silver status in the Clean Regatta includes public engagement, water bottle reduction, water refilling stations, recycling and eight more "best practices".

Some of the initiatives the Festival of Sails will be aiming for this weekend, as part of the Clean Regatta checklist, include recycling (1:1 ratio of rubbish to recycling) and eliminating single use bags (removing plastic bags from market stalls).

The RGYC has also removed the requirement for bow stickers for Saturday's Melbourne to Geelong Passage Race, removing a significant amount of plastic (about 500m2 of printed decals), some of which peel off and end up in the water.

Barwon Water General Manager Customers and Community Jo Murdoch said "Barwon Water was proud to support the festival to reduce its use of single-use plastics".

"Barwon Water shares the festival's commitment to preventing plastic pollution by encouraging people to drink tap water instead of bottled water, which can end up in landfill or in our oceans, threatening precious marine life," Ms Murdoch said.

"With one litre of bottled water costing about the same at 6,000 glasses from the tap, it not only helps the environment, but the hip pocket too."

For details about the 2019 Festival of Sails, visit

Related Articles

Sunsail sets sail with Festival of Sails 2020
Win a $5000 Bareboat Charter in Thailand Royal Geelong Yacht Club has today announced its 2020 Festival of Sails early bird prize of a bareboat yacht charter in Phuket, Thailand on a beautiful Sunsail charter yacht worth $5000. Posted on 14 Oct
Festival of Sails long-range forecast Extreme
Two Queensland based Extreme 40s will head to the event in January 2020 Two Queensland based Extreme 40s will head to Geelong's 2020 Festival of Sails in January to unleash on idyllic flat-water, powered by the local and very reliable afternoon summer sea breeze. Posted on 1 Oct
Festival of Sails signs partnership with Musto
Three-year partnership with premier sailing brand The Royal Geelong Yacht Club is delighted to announce the Festival of Sails has appointed Musto as technical apparel and merchandise partner for the next three years. Posted on 26 Sep
Boettcher back as Festival of Sails first entrant
Geoff Boettcher had planned to show off a new 52-footer South Australian yachtsman Geoff Boettcher had planned to show off a new 52-footer from overseas and defend his 2019 Rating Division 1 win at the Festival of Sails in Geelong in January 2020. Posted on 1 Aug
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
J/111 Aus. Nationals & J/121 at Festival of Sails
Enjoying the festivities of the Geelong Waterfront As many as 200,000 people are believed to have enjoyed the festivities of the Geelong Waterfront this past weekend as the city played host to two major events – the historic Festival of Sails and the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race. Posted on 2 Feb
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
Festival of Sails 2020 - FOOTER