Yacht festival prepares 2022 return
A PREMIER Victorian yacht race is set to return to Geelong with a wet sail next month.
The historic Festival of Sails has confirmed its return to Corio Bay for 2022 after a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic.
January’s race will be the 179th running of the Melbourne to Geelong Passage Race, which is Australia’s oldest sporting event and the largest keel boat regatta in the southern hemisphere with an expected 250 yachts and 2000 participants from across the world.
This year’s five-day festival will be without a waterfront festival at Geelong’s Eastern Beach due to impacts of COVID-19 restrictions, but the event will instead sponsor a host of live music and entertainment events across Geelong CBD venues.
Festival of Sails chair Roger Bennett said he was confident the new-look 2022 event would remain a hit with Geelong residents and visitors.
“The past couple of years have been extremely difficult for major events and we have been understandably frustrated by not being able to deliver Geelong’s much-loved event,” he said.
“While the 2022 event will look a little different, we’re delighted to be back out sailing and racing and importantly, welcoming the public back into Geelong to celebrate the long weekend.”
Mr Bennett said the festival planned to reintroduce its waterfront celebration in 2023.
More than 100 vessels from Victoria and New South Wales are confirmed starters for this year’s racecard, and organisers hope more interstate boats will sign up as state border rules continue to relax.
“We’re keen to encourage our visitors to ‘stay a little longer’ in our beautiful region by offering some free moorings after the event, so they can explore our food, wine and tourism offerings,” Mr Bennett said.
“We’re still finalising our full program and hoping to be able to offer something to make the Festival of Sails a fabulous celebration we all look forward to, particularly after such a tough couple of years for Victoria,” he said.