The 2024 Festival of Sails has wrapped up after three days of fast and furious sailing, sensational entertainment and a ‘tick of approval’ from visitors to the reinvigorated, party atmosphere of the Geelong waterfront site.
Out on the water it was a tight tussle between the three high-profile TP52 boats, ‘Hooligan’, ‘Secret Men’s Business’ and ‘Smuggler’ which recently won its division in the 2023 Sydney to Hobart.
Ultimately, it was Marcus Blackmore’s new ‘Hooligan’ which won the grand prix TP52 Division at this weekend’s regatta, the oldest keelboat sailing regatta in the Southern Hemisphere.
The event celebrated its 181st anniversary this year with 40 races across nine divisions across the long weekend.
“I built the Blackmore’s vitamins business on culture and this boat and team are also built on culture. With this new boat, I thought we had built the world’s lightest and fastest TP52, but you don’t know that until you get to race it, now I know that we have!” said Marcus.
“A fast boat is nothing without a fast crew, so my thanks to them and I dedicate this win to my good friend Lang Walker who passed away last night and gave so much to our sport.”
The outgoing Festival of Sails Chairman, Paul Buchholz said he was delighted with this year’s event despite some challenging sailing conditions over the three days.
“The opening Passage Race was pretty testing on all involved, with 200 boats battling fierce conditions in some tight and fast racing,” he said.
“On the waterfront, we’ve had 100,000 visitors and participants and big crowds enjoying some fabulous entertainment and hospitality, we’ve had people trying sailing for the first time, we’ve had beach volleyball, markets and plenty to see and do.”
“We also had a fantastic fireworks display, a vintage plane flyover, family-favourite entertainment amongst the more than 40 musical acts across two stages and we’ve given our club site and our entertainment and hospitality areas a major makeover and really brought the party atmosphere to life. It’s been a very busy weekend!”
“And now after two years in the role, I’m proud to be handing over the baton to the next Chairman of this fabulous event and can see it continuing to blossom even further for the 2025 event. Can’t wait!”
RGYC Commodore Roger Bennett paid tribute to Paul Buchholz saying the outgoing chairman had done a fabulous job.
“We want to thank Paul for his guidance of this amazing event over the past two years,” he said.
“Looking forward, RGYC is committed to continuing our investment into the development of the sport of sailing with the building of the new sailing school and facilities, here on the Geelong waterfront.”
The Festival of Sails is proudly supported by the Victorian Government and the City of Greater Geelong.