Two of Australia’s favourite yachting regattas, the prestigious Australian Yachting Championships and traditional Festival of Sails, have joined forces to create a week-long celebration of summer sailing in Victoria early next year.
The Australian Yachting Championships will be hosted by Royal Melbourne Yacht Squadron from January 22 to 24, before the Festival of Sails commences with the Passage Race from Melbourne to Geelong on Australia Day, January 26.
The Festival of Sails, from January 26 to 28, will be hosted by the Royal Geelong Yacht Club.
The timing of the back-to-back events will provide the perfect opportunity for sailors to compete in both regattas, with a lay-day on Friday January 25 allowing crews and boats to flow over from one to the other. Australian Sailing, which runs the Australian Yachting Championships, selected dates that will give crews the best opportunity to be part of both events.
Festival of Sails Chairman, Stuart Dickson said the timing of the Australian Yachting Championships couldn’t be better for participants, especially those from interstate and overseas.
“To have two premier sailing events in the same state within days of each other is fantastic,” he said.
“In 2018 the Australian Yachting Championships and the Festival of Sails were held one week apart, which meant we were able to encourage a number of the Grand Prix boats to stay around for the following weekend.”
“In 2019 there will only be one day between the two regattas in January, so hopefully this will encourage even more yachts who are travelling from interstate (or overseas) to attend two premier regattas that are so close together,” he said.
“The timing is also ideal for sailors who may have just completed the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race, to stop over on their way home and compete in the Australian Yachting Championships and the Festival of Sails.”
Ichi Ban skipper Matt Allen did just that earlier this year, taking line honours in the 2018 Festival of Sails after winning the Australian Yachting Championships and the 2017 Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race.
“Last year’s Festival of Sails regatta was the busiest in a number of years and the double bill of regattas on Port Phillip Bay certainly contributed to that. Hopefully we will build on this for 2019,” Mr Dickson said.
Charles Meredith, Chair of the RMYS AYC Organising Committee, said the “Royal Melbourne Yacht Squadron is excited to be hosting the Australian Yachting Championships”.
“We look forward to welcoming sailors from around the country to our great location at St Kilda. We are also running an AMS one day series and expect significant interest from local and interstate crews.”
Australia Sailing Manager Regatta and Events, Lesley Fasala, said “having the double bill events back to back in Victoria will encourage all keel boat sailors to be a part of the two major regattas. Both events will see great racing and camaraderie.”