Festival of Sails – 5 days of Sun, Salt and sailing talk

Festival of Sails – 5 days of Sun, Salt and sailing talk

The 2016 Festival of sails held at Geelong (Vic) has concluded and the very last trophies have been awarded to the Rating Series and Super 11 winners. Now masses of weary sailors are heading back to their home ports to some much needed normalcy after five long days of sun, salt spray and way too much sailing talk.

Thousands of holidaymakers and Geelong locals flocked to the foreshore for the top-shelf Australia Day entertainment line-up, sampling tasty treats and the carnival atmosphere. Out off Corio Quay courses were set, then reset by race officials as the wind shifted from ESE to the SE, ranging from 10 up to 20 knots by late morning.

Denis Thompson, Royal Geelong Yacht Club (RGYC) sailing office staff and the huge team of regatta officials and volunteers made sure more than 2,000 sailors enjoyed fair sailing and a good time, had some final words.

“It’s been another great regatta, having wind always helps. We had typical and fairly steady Geelong sou’easters every day, that always makes the competitors happy and it makes regatta management a little bit easier. Plus the racing is super close. No-one can skip away.

“The Super 11 concept certainly has potential; it was good to see their inaugural championship at the Festival of Sails, and it was certainly exiting to watch the VX Ones get up and boogey when the breeze increased.

“Usually we lose a percentage of the cruising fleet after the passage race but this time virtually all stayed on for the series, making some of the fixed mark roundings spectacular.

“We ran five course areas on the biggest three days using mostly volunteers; one of those came all the way from the cold of Chicago. Every year it blows me away that the club’s pretty small base of volunteers can pull so many people in.”

RGYC has calculated its 173 volunteers for the 173rd Festival of Sails donated more than 6,000 hours of their time over the five day series that ran from January 22 – 26, 2016.

Two Australian Championships were decided at the festival and the RGYC encourages other classes to get in touch with its sailing office to discuss running their major titles on Corio Bay in January 2017 and beyond.

More info at www.festivalofsails.com.au