Festival Of Sails

Celebrating History

Did you know that the Festival of Sails is one of the oldest sporting events in the country?

The very first Australia Day regatta was held in 1844 on Geelong’s beautiful Corio Bay, making the event older than the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race and the Americas Cup.

Originally known as the Australia Day Regatta, this iconic event has evolved over the years to become one of Australia’s premier regattas.

The Royal Geelong Yacht Club is almost as old the Festival of Sails, having been founded in 1859. The club took over the running of the regatta in 1925 and the event hasn’t looked back.

In 1947 the Passage Race was introduced for the first time and in 2016 will celebrate its 70th anniversary.

By 1986 the Australia Day Regatta had grown to be the largest keelboat regatta in the Southern Hemisphere, attracting more than 360 yachts to Corio Bay.

The event officially changed its name from the Australia Day Regatta to the Festival of Sails in the late 1990’s, but perhaps one of the biggest changes came in 2003 when the Royal Geelong Yacht Club entered into a joint venture with the City of Greater Geelong and included a Shoreside Festival to the regatta programme.

Next year will mark the 173rd running of the Festival of Sails and once again this historic event will attract the highest calibre of yachts and crew, along with more than 100 thousand visitors to Geelong’s waterfront for the Australia Day long weekend.

The Royal Geelong Yacht Club is extremely proud of the events rich history and can’t wait to welcome sailors and the public to Geelong to enjoy the festivities and atmosphere of this major Victorian event.