Please select your home edition
Edition
SW newsletters (top)

Double celebration in sight for MacGlide Festival of Sails' stalwart, with two days to go to regatta

by Jessica Gabites 22 Jan 22:46 PST 25-27 January 2020
Billy Parker - MacGlide Festival of Sails © Sarah Pettiford

Billy Parker is hoping for a double celebration this weekend, when the MacGlide Festival of Sails kicks off on Saturday with the historic Passage Race.

The Royal Geelong Yacht Club stalwart will celebrate his 82nd birthday on Saturday, competing in the spectacular 56km Passage Race from Williamstown to Geelong - the curtain-raiser to the 177th MacGlide Festival of Sails.

Two hundred and forty five boats - Grand Prix racing yachts, cruiser/racer keelboats, multihulls, classic yachts and trailer sailors - will charge off two long lines for the Passage Race, the largest single start of a yacht race in the southern hemisphere.

Billy, who has been sailing for more than 70 years, won the 2018 Passage Race in the Cruising Division, on-board his boat Kestrel of Gosford. RGYC's oldest competing sailor, he is also expected to be one of the oldest competitors at this weekend's three-day festival.

The revered RGYC sailor said he and his crew would be trying for another Passage Race win but said it would come down to a number of factors, including the weather conditions, on the day.

"I started sailing when I was about 11 at Williamstown Sailing Club and I sailed there until I was 17. I then went away for seven years in the Navy before I came back and started sailing again for about five years," he remembers.

"I then started a business and dropped out of sailing for about 25 years, before getting involved again in Williamstown," he said.

"The first Festival I ever did was in the 1960s on someone else's boat and it was a really tight regatta."

"Eventually I came to Geelong and started sailing here and bought a boat. I competed in Festival of Sails 20-odd years ago with that boat for the first time."

"In that first race, the Passage Race from Williamstown to Geelong, I snapped a boom in half. In the intervening years I think I have sailed about 15 Festival of Sails and didn't place, but in 2018 I won my Division (Cruising) in the Passage Race, just after my 80th birthday."

"It's relaxing but at times it can be challenging. I think it is great," Mr Parker said of sailing.

Mr Parker said he loved the atmosphere of the MacGlide Festival of Sails.

"Everyone's happy and there's good camaraderie. I just think it's a great sport. It's a relaxing sport," he said.

"I found when I still had the business I could come down here and go sailing and you forgot about everything - you were just out there racing."

MacGlide Festival of Sails Chairman, Stuart Dickson, said sailing was an inclusive sport which catered for young children just starting out in Cadets, right up to veteran sailors like Mr Parker.

"It's also a unique sport as it is something families can enjoy doing together."

"The Royal Geelong Yacht Club is looking forward to welcoming sailors of all ages, from around Australia, this weekend."

More than 100,000 people are expected to flock to the Geelong waterfront this Australia Day long weekend to enjoy plenty of action and live entertainment.

The Waterfront Festival, presented by Geelong Connected Communities, will bring Steampacket Gardens, Eastern Beach and the grounds of the Royal Geelong Yacht Club to life.

The family-friendly Festival will include a smorgasbord of exciting activations and experiences from live music to "come and try" activities such as discover sailing and virtual reality sailing.

For more information visit www.festivalofsails.com.au.

Related Articles

Shutters come down on MacGlide Festival of Sails
The TP52 division offered spectacularly close racing Some of the thousands of MacGlide Festival of Sails sailors weary from three days of racing and partying over the Australia Day long weekend are fortunate to be heading home with a trophy for their efforts. Posted on 27 Jan
MacGlide Festival of Sails wraps up
RGYC sets its sights on 2022 Youth Worlds As the MacGlide Festival of Sails wraps up for 2020, the Geelong Yacht Club has its sights on winning the rights to host the 2022 Youth World Sailing Championships - the world's ultimate youth sailing regatta. Posted on 27 Jan
MacGlide Festival of Sails Super Sunday
A chance to blow away the cobwebs from a long opening day passage race For thousands of sailors gathered at Geelong, Australia Day was also 'Super Sunday' at the MacGlide Festival of Sails and a chance to blow away the cobwebs from a long opening day passage race down from Melbourne. Posted on 26 Jan
RGYC announces FOS naming rights partnership
RGYC is proud to announce the 2020 Festival of Sails naming rights partnership Royal Geelong Yacht Club (RGYC) is proud to announce the 2020 Festival of Sails naming rights partnership between the club and MacGlide, by Mactac, a world leading biocide-free fouling release film manufacturer. Posted on 2 Dec 2019
Aussie rock performers set for Festival of Sails
Free, live entertainment from Richard Clapton and more Australia's biggest celebration of sailing Festival of Sails will have a distinctive rock 'n' roll flavour in 2020 with renowned Aussie singer/songwriter Richard Clapton headlining the line-up for the Australia Day long-weekend event. Posted on 16 Nov 2019
Separate TP52 division at the Festival of Sails
TP52s will be granted their own start line and scored under IRC and TPR handicap systems The TP52s will be granted their own start line and scored under IRC and TPR handicap systems, the latter a class rule developed by the Australia owner's group that takes into account different generations of the popular design. Posted on 8 Nov 2019
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 2019
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 2019
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 2019
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 2019
MBW newsletters (top)