The picturesque waters of Geelong recently played host to an outstanding display of sailing excellence and vibrant community spirit at the 2024 Festival of Sails. Proudly hosted by the Royal Geelong Yacht Club, this iconic event marked its 181st anniversary with an array of competitions, FREE entertainment, and camaraderie!
Thrilling Victories on the Water
The festivities kicked off with a heart-stopping Passage Race from Melbourne to Geelong, where Marcus Blackmore’s ‘Hooligan’ clinched a dramatic victory amidst challenging conditions. Battling winds exceeding 60km/h, ‘Hooligan’ showcased its mettle, crossing the finish line in a remarkable time of just three hours and five minutes. Festival of Sails Chairman, Paul Buchholz, lauded the intense competition, noting it as one of the toughest starts in the event’s history.
Beyond the adrenaline-fueled races, the shores of Geelong came alive with a myriad of entertainment options. An Estimated 100,000 attendees flocked to the waterfront, drawn by live bands, captivating performances, and the return of the acclaimed ‘Forte Emerging Artist Series.’ It was the talented duo, ‘Mister Co.’ who came away with the win securing their position as one of the best up and coming artists on the music scene! The duo also securing themselves a spot to play at the 2025 Festival of Sails!
Expanded hospitality areas, including the Tipi on the Bay and the elevated Foredeck bar, provided prime vantage points to soak in the festivities. The blue skies dazzled with a breathtaking aerobatics flyover by a vintage CAC CA-18 Mustang, setting the stage for the grand finale – the ‘Festival of Sails Fireworks’ which are always a crowd favorite!
Empowering Women in Sailing
A groundbreaking addition to this year’s event was the inaugural SheSails & Supporters Breakfast, aimed at championing gender diversity in sailing. Led by esteemed panelists and event ambassador Nic Douglass, the session underscored the importance of inclusivity and opportunity within the sailing community. Discussions ranged from networking opportunities to avenues for professional growth, echoing a vision of a more inclusive future for women in sport and business!
A Testament to Tradition and Innovation
As the sun set on three days of riveting competition and celebration, the 2024 Festival of Sails left an indelible mark on Geelong’s waterfront landscape. Amidst the jubilant atmosphere, Marcus Blackmore’s ‘Hooligan’ emerged triumphant in the grand prix TP52 Division, capping off a weekend filled with memorable moments and remarkable achievements.
Outgoing Festival of Sails Chairman, Paul Buchholz, reflected on the event’s success, highlighting the resilience and camaraderie displayed by participants and spectators alike. Looking ahead, Commodore Roger Bennett affirmed the Royal Geelong Yacht Club’s unwavering commitment to the sport’s growth and development, signaling a promising future for the Festival of Sails.
A Bright Horizon Ahead
With the unwavering support of the Victorian Government and the City of Greater Geelong, the Festival of Sails stands poised to continue its legacy of excellence and community engagement. Anticipation mounts for the 2025 edition, promising an spectacular regatta and waterfront festival
In the heart of Geelong, where tradition meets innovation, the Festival of Sails remains a beacon of sporting excellence and community spirit. The Southern Hemispheres largest Keelboat Regatta and now Geelong’s Largest Major Event will continue to set the standard for sporting excellence and community events.
To see all the stories from the 2024 Festival of Sails click HERE
To view the full race results click HERE