Please select your home edition
Edition
KZRaceFurlers

Fired up and ready to race at Festival of Sails

by Festival of Sails 27 Sep 2022 22:57 PDT 26-29 January 2023
Maritimo and Ikon (left two boats) finished one point apart last year - Festival of Sails © Salty Dingo

A variety of entries for Royal Geelong Yacht Club's (RGYC) 2023 Festival of Sails include newly minted Australian Yachting Championship winners, who look forward to racing at the annual event from 26-29 January when it celebrates the 180th edition of the Passage Race.

Australia's oldest and largest keelboat regatta has attracted the Melges 24 National Championship to its shores. High-profile NSW skippers, Chris Links and Heath Walters will bring solid teams, as will the Kendall family, who convincingly won the 2022 NSW Championship with 'The Amigos'. Two entries from Adelaide have also put their hands up.

Reigning Melges 24 National champion and executive committee member of the International Melges 24 Class Association, Kevin Nixon, is also looking forward to racing: "The Festival of Sails is my favourite regatta," he insists. "We did the Melges 24 Worlds there in 2014 and before that we were there every year."

Since then, the NSW sailor and his crew have competed at the Festival of Sails as often as they can.

"There's always a variety of winds on Corio Bay and you often get that nice afternoon sea breeze of around 18 knots. Sometimes you get a big shift that causes havoc. It's a good all-round Bay to sail on with its nice flat water. And the Club puts everything on for you - you just have to turn up.

"Being the Australia Day Weekend there's always something happening. The vibe is good."

Outside of the Melges 24's, competitors are fired up across the regular divisions on offer each year and RGYC organisers are anticipating in the vicinity of 300 entries across the board.

In the Passage - Windward/Leeward Rating Series you will find the likes of Division 2 Australian Yachting Championships 2022 (AYC) winner, Bruce McCraken with his Beneteau First 45, Ikon.

"We go every year - we've been going for 20 years or more," Ikon's Victorian owner states.

"Maritimo (Bill Barry-Cotter) pipped us by one point last year in very light winds. It was the complete opposite at Hamo (Hamilton Island)," he says of the windy days and their three point victory over Maritimo.

"We've had some good tussles at Geelong in the past, especially with the other Beneteau 45s."

McCraken adds, "The Festival of Sails has a great atmosphere. We take our families; it's a good gathering for us. The weather is nice in January, with good winds. The Club puts on a good show; bands, food, entertainment. There's a lot of things for everyone to do. We look forward to it every year."

Entered in the Passage - Rating Series is Festival of Sails long-termer, Darren Pickering with Larriken 2. He is likely to face Ari Abrahams' Xpresso (Vic), which finished runner-up in Division 4 at the 2022 AYC's (held in conjunction with Hamilton Island Race Week) after a week-long battle with Get It On, Garry Holt's Adams 10 (Qld), a possible entry for the Festival of Sails.

"I've done around 33 or 34 Race Weeks - I've done all of them. I was hooked at the first one. It's too much fun," Pickering claims.

"We sailed a Thunderbird at the first one, then we went to a Hick 30 and this year our syndicate of five bought a local Farr 40, Local Motion," said Pickering from East Geelong.

"The 2022 Festival of Sails was our first with the Farr 40. We finished third in the Performance Racing division. Ray Roberts won it (Team Hollywood) and Ikon was second."

Pickering knows he will be up against it, as Team Hollywood has just come away from the AYC's having won every single race in Division 3. And then there is Xpresso.

"We'll have to pull out all stops to get back on the podium. We've got Ray (Roberts) in our sights," Pickering said laughing.

Other divisions include Passage - Spinnaker Series; Passage - Non-Spinnaker Series; Guyon Wilson Trophy Series and the Passage Mini Series. Entries to-date have come from Victoria, Tasmania and NSW.

For NoR and to enter the Festival of Sails online, please visit: festivalofsails.com.au.

Related Articles

Festival of Sails concludes with parade of colour
Some big jumps in standings across all nine divisions Festival of Sails 2024 concluded its 181st edition with a day of shifty, lighter winds that saw some big jumps in standings across all nine divisions. Corio Bay was awash with colour as the courses spread the fleet across the inner and outer Harbours. Posted on 28 Jan
SheSails & Youth at the Festival of Sails 2024
SheSails & Supporters breakfast, and a presentation with the local Cadet fleet Festival of Sails had a women and youth sailors focus on day two, bookending the racing with the SheSails & Supporters breakfast, and a presentation with the local International Cadet fleet. Posted on 27 Jan
181st Festival of Sails Passage Race
200-strong fleet challenged with high winds and a steep, confused sea state The 181st Melbourne to Geelong Passage Race challenged the 200 strong fleet with high winds and a steep, confused sea state. Posted on 26 Jan
Festival of Sails' back bigger and better in 2023
Celebrating 180 years of the iconic passage race and ready to party! Geelong's Festival of Sails will be celebrating a major milestone and is ready to party when it returns in January 2023, as it salutes the 180th anniversary of its iconic Passage Race between Melbourne and Geelong. Posted on 19 Dec 2022
Festival of Sails 2021 cancelled
Royal Geelong Yacht Club Board make the difficult decision The Festival of Sails Executive Committee and the Royal Geelong Yacht Club (RGYC) Board have made the difficult decision to cancel the 2021 Festival of Sails, which was scheduled for Saturday 23 - Tuesday 26 January, 2021. Posted on 15 Oct 2020
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 2020
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 2020
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 2020
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
Cyclops Marine 2023 November - FOOTERC-Tech 2021 SnuffAir 728x90 BOTTOMMelges 2023 - Melges 15 FOOTER