Please select your home edition
Edition
ETNZ-STORE-728X90 two TOP

Curtain closes on historic 180th celebrations for Festival of Sails

by Festival of Sails 28 Jan 2023 21:56 PST 26-29 January 2023

As the curtain closes on the 2023 Festival of Sails, the Royal Geelong Yacht Club is celebrating a regatta full of twist and turns for the 297 boats and the 2750 participants, who battled daily challenges with variable winds, temperatures, and conditions.

For local 18-year-old Geelong sailor Georgia Delaney from Highton, this was her eighth year competing at the Festival of Sails.

"I've been sailing for the past 10 years and I started at Royal Geelong in their cadet program and have loved sailing ever since, usually out sailing four or five times a week" she says.

"For me, it's a combination of the excitement of racing, the focus on concentrating on the tactics to get an edge and knowing you're competing against a great group of friends from all over Australia."

Delivered by the Royal Geelong Yacht Club (RGYC), the Festival of Sails is Australia's oldest sporting event - older than the Melbourne Cup which began in 1861, older than The Ashes which began in 1882 and looking overseas, older than Wimbledon, which began in in 1887 and the America's Cup which began in 1851.

And in 2023, the club celebrated the 180th running of the opening Passage Race from Williamstown to Geelong in a visual spectacular which saw hundreds of boats of all shapes and sizes taking off in a to race the finish for line honors on January 26, before three days of division racing sailing.

Festival of Sails Chairman, Paul Buchholz says the feedback from sailors about the event was overwhelming.

"We're always very proud of our event, but when visitors to our club tell you that it's the best event in more than a decade, well we think that's a pretty impressive accolade," he says.

"And given the impact that the pandemic has had on major events over the past couple of years, it was terrific to finally see our event - and many others - getting back to normal."

The 2023 Festival of Sails which attracted an estimated 115,000 visitors along the waterfront, also coincided with the running of the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race over the January long weekend.

"It has been a buzz of activity and entertainment on and off the water this weekend and terrific to see Geelong hosting not one - but two - great events that have really showcased our region," says Paul Buchholz.

"We're also really grateful to have the consistent and generous support of the Victorian State Government and the City of Greater Geelong which allowed us to deliver a fantastic Festival yet again."

Taking out top honours at this year's event over the 36 nautical mile Passage Race was the Gordon Ketelbey's Sydney TP52 ZEN who took line honours with a time of three hours 43 minutes and seven seconds, after competing in the 2022 Rolex Sydney Hobart just weeks ago.

And in an impressive double, the crew of Zen also grabbed the win in the headline Passage Rating Series under IRC.

Apart from attracting tens of thousands of visitors to Geelong's waterfront each year, the economic impact directly attributed to the Geelong region as a result of Festival of Sails is around $14 million.

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
Rooster Wetsuit RangeMySail CrewRS Sailing 2021 - FOOTER