The 2024 Festival of Sails will introduce a Mornington to Geelong Passage race, as an addition to the traditional Melbourne to Geelong Passage Race, to celebrate the regatta opening on Friday, January 26, 2024.
Festival of Sails Chairman, Paul Buchholz said the inclusion of the Mornington start was in response to calls from clubs across the Mornington Peninsula looking for a more direct run down to Geelong for the regatta.
“In fact, it’s more of a ‘re-introduction’, as the Mornington start was a part of the Festival of Sails during the 1960s through to the 1980s.”
“Now, it’s a case of ‘the sailors asked, and we listened’! We’re hoping that this new starting point will encourage even more entrants from clubs such as Mornington, Blairgowrie, and Safety Beach to get involved in the regatta, with the benefit of a more local starting point,” he said.
“Obviously, we’ll still have all the colour and excitement of the traditional Passage Race starting from Melbourne on January 26, but next year for the first time in a very long time, we’ll also have a fleet from Mornington racing to Geelong in a parallel event, both starting at 9.30am and covering about the same distance.”
The Mornington start is being hosted by the Mornington Yacht Club and Commodore Andrew Young said they were delighted to see the race reinstalled as part of the Festival of Sails.
“It’s been a long time between drinks, but it will be fabulous to see our local boats take off from home waters as they once again battle for sailing honours in Geelong’s iconic event!” he said.
The 2024 event will be the 181st running of the largest keelboat sailing regatta in the Southern Hemisphere.
Sailors can enter here.