SA skipper Geoff Boettcher and crew win 177th Passage Race, kick starting MacGlide Festival of Sails 2020
The MacGlide Festival of Sails got off to a spectacular start today as Adelaide skipper/owner of Secret Mens Business Geoff Boettcher, took line honours in the historic Geelong to Melbourne Passage Race.
Geelong boats Extasea and Local Mocean came second and third respectively in the 34 nautical mile Passage Race, from Williamstown to Geelong.
Earlier in the day, the fleet of 245 boats set sail from Williamstown in in a kaleidoscope of colour.
The Passage Race is the curtain-raiser for the MacGlide Festival of Sails. The three-day event hosted by the Royal Geelong Yacht Club is the largest keel-boat regatta in the Southern Hemisphere.
Grand Prix racing yachts, cruiser/racer keelboats, multihulls, classic yachts and trailer sailers charged off two long lines in the Passage Race, the largest single start of a yacht race in the southern hemisphere.
Adelaide sailor and owner/skipper of TP52, Secret Mens Business, Geoff Boettcher, has competed in the MacGlide Festival of Sails for the past 18 or 19 years.
“We worked hard for it but it’s not an easy race,” Boettcher said.
“There were little patches you fall into where there is no wind and you get frustrated, but we just hammered through and came out the other side smelling like roses.”
Boettcher, who won the 2010 Rolex Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race, was the handicap winner of last year’s Melbourne to Geelong Passage Race and overall divisional winner of the 2019 MacGlide Festival of Sails.
“It’s just a great atmosphere around the club. It’s a great regatta, it’s well put together. We are here for the sailing of course but added on is the great festival feel to it, which is a bonus.”
Boettcher sails out of the Cruising Yacht Club of South Australia with a mix of South Australians, a New Zealander and two Sydney sailors.
MacGlide Festival of Sails Chairman, Stuart Dickson, said the Passage Race had been a terrific start to the MacGlide Festival of Sails”.
“It was a perfect start from Williamstown and with spinnakers up it looked spectacular.”
“It has been great to see such big crowds along the waterfront, enjoying the first day of the Festival. We look forward to another action-packed day tomorrow, on and off the water.”
As many as 300 boats will compete in the MacGlide Festival of Sails regatta this weekend, with competitors coming from around the nation.
Australia’s oldest sporting event, the MacGlide Festival of Sails, combines first class racing on Geelong’s Corio Bay with a popular Waterfront Festival presented by Geelong Connected Communities.
Photo: Festival of Sails © Travis Harries, Passionfolk
Festivalgoers packed Steampacket Gardens to enjoy the thrills and spills of the Stars Down Under Water Ski and Stunt Show and live acts including popular children’s entertainers, The Mik Maks.
The Wilkinson family from Highton, enjoyed the festivities along Steampacket Gardens for the first time.
“We are loving the kids’ entertainment, the range of market stalls and the food. It’s great to see an event like Festival of Sails right here in Geelong,” Narelle Wilkinson said.
Photo: Festival of Sails © Sarah Pettiford, RGYC
Inside the Regatta Village (in the grounds of the Royal Geelong Yacht Club), festivalgoers soaked up the sunshine, while hands-on experiences, including Come and Try sailing, were a huge drawcard off Eastern Beach.
Festivities continue into the evening with INXSIVE set to rock the Regatta Village, inside the Royal Geelong Yacht Club.
More than 100,000 people are expected to enjoy the festivities over the weekend.
The MacGlide Festival of Sails continues tomorrow and Monday on Corio Bay, Geelong.