Festival of Sails entry open; Grand Prix series dates decided
Entry to a very different 2017 Festival of Sails, presented by Rex Gorell Land Rover, is open following the release of the much-anticipated Notice of Race which outlines the new dates and additions such as a separate the Off-The-Beach (OTB) and Trailable boat series.
The core sailing component of the 2017 Festival of Sails regatta will be staged from Saturday January 21 to Tuesday January 24, separating the larger Festival from the congestion Geelong experiences from another major event, the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race which is fast becoming a real drawcard for the Surf Coast region.
A new set of dates also brings the Festival closer to the finish of the Rolex Sydney Hobart in early January, with the potential to capture some of those boats returning north, and creates a time allowance for families, particularly from interstate, before the start of the school year.
Fourteen divisions are listed on the preliminary schedule of racing including the ever-present Sydney 38 one-designs and S80s plus the sports boats and multihulls. If there are enough classic yachts, built pre1970, principal race officer Denis Thompson will run a separate series, and given the biennial Australian Wooden Boat Festival is on in February 2017 in Hobart, renewed interest from owners in entering their floating timber classics is anticipated.
Among the enhancements are two new series, catering for OTB and trailable boats. This extension to the sailing program starts on Wednesday 25 and runs through Australia Day on Thursday January 26 to the final day of racing, Friday January 27, 2017 when the on-road action of the Cadel Evans event begins.
Within the principal regatta organised by the Royal Geelong Yacht Club, a separate Grand Prix series will be scored for invited high-rating IRC yachts. The idea of a standalone Grand Prix series sitting outside the Festival was floated, but the majority of owners voted to stay within the key dates.
Being a part of the mass Melbourne to Geelong Passage Race start off Williamstown on Saturday 21st and arrival at Corio Bay is a Festival highpoint, and primary reason those Grand Prix owners gave for sticking with the bulk of the passage race fleet, likely to be 200 plus yachts.
“Our guys really enjoy the Melbourne start, this is one of the plusses of staying within the Festival dates,” said South Australian owner/skipper of the TP52, Secret Mens Business, Geoff Boettcher.
“Coming off the back of the Australian Yachting Championship at Hamilton Island it would be great to see many of the same boats, and hopefully we can close-up on the top two, Beau Geste and Ichi Ban, if they come.” On the new Festival dates Boettcher added, “They fit well with my plans to deliver the boat back to Adelaide from Hobart.”
To make it simpler for owners needing crew and crew who are boat-less, RGYC now offers a crew match database to join the two together, click here for more information.
If a pre-existing, experienced crew wish to come to the Festival, but don’t have a boat or can’t transport one there, RGYC staff will do their best to source one. Enquire via the club sailing office +61 3 5229 3705.
Festival of Sails entries received prior to November 30, 2016 will be eligible for an early bird rate.
by Lisa Ratcliff