The 2020 Australian J/111 Championships were held over the ‘Australia Day’ long weekend as part of Festival of Sails in Geelong, Victoria. The Festival of Sails is the largest annual keel boat regatta in the Southern Hemisphere with over 300 yacht entries and 3,000 competitors annually taking part in the event.
First held in 1844, the Festival of Sails Regatta is one of the nation’s oldest sporting events and has evolved over many years culminating in its current format as Australia’s foremost keelboat regatta.
The program consisted of a 30.0nm passage race on Saturday 25th January, followed by five windward-leeward races in Geelong’s inner harbour on Sunday and Monday. Here is the report from Rob Date, owner/skipper of Scarlet Runner, from the Victorian J/111 fleet:
“The passage race from St Kilda to Geelong was won by Scarlet Runner, again showing her skills in the light and variable conditions, finishing a few minutes ahead of Matt Powell’s PLAYLIST. Stu Lyon’s JAKE showed moments of brilliance but fell away towards the latter stages.
Sunday’s racing was a variable affair with the pressure up and down and left and right, but mostly in the 12-15 knot range. Racing was very close with fractions of seconds deciding one result. Phil Simpendorfer’s Veloce proved superior on the day.
The final result would be decided on Monday, the last day of racing, with both Rod Warren’s Joust and Scarlet Runner capable of winning the Championship.
Light winds greeted us at the start of the day, but many shifts and pressure changes saw Simpendorfer’s Veloce the eventual winner from Warren’s JOUST in second, with Scarlet Runner third.
Reflecting on the weekend, it was a great close regatta and an enjoyable sail home back to Sandringham (a 30-mile power reach home in 20 knots of pressure!).”