After a two-year Covid-related hiatus, Victoria’s historic Festival of Sails will come back to life from Saturday January 22 to Wednesday January 26, 2022.
Australia’s oldest sporting event and the largest keelboat regatta in the southern hemisphere, the event first took place in 1844 and the 2022 event will mark the 179th edition of the iconic Melbourne to Geelong Passage Race, which is expected to attract up to 250 participants.
According to Festival of Sails President Roger Bennett, the 2022 event promises to be a welcome meeting for more than 2,000 competitors and sailing enthusiasts from across Australia.
“The past two years have been extremely difficult for major events and we have been understandably frustrated that we couldn’t host the much-loved Geelong event,” he said.
“Although the 2022 event is a little different, we are delighted to return to sailing and racing and most importantly to welcome the public back to Geelong to celebrate the long weekend. “
With the continuing impacts of COVID-19 related restrictions, this year organizers made the difficult decision to overhaul the traditional Waterfront Festival and replace it in 2022 with a sponsored live music and entertainment program at venues in the CBD. from Geelong.
“This year will be all about reuniting and reuniting people and as part of that, we are delighted to sponsor some of our main concert halls in Geelong and encourage people to come to Geelong during the festival period and to celebrate by supporting local artists and local venues, ”Bennett said.
“Of course, we can’t wait to resume our traditional Waterfront Festival, hopefully for the following year in January 2023!”
Competition will be fast and fierce on the water with the 2022 event featuring high performance sports boats Melges 24 National Championships, Double Handed Victorian Championships, Victorian Sailing League, Sailing Champions League and Deakin Cadet Championships. .
“There will be lots of sailing action going on and we are delighted to also welcome the new Sailing Champions League which is a four member team challenge with everyone sailing the same boats provided in a new racing style that is currently taking Europe by storm, ”Bennett said.
“Despite the challenges presented by COVID-19, we still expect a strong fleet to participate in FoS in 2022, with entries already exceeding 100 vessels from Victoria and NSW and we hope that” As state borders continue to open, we’ll see more entries from all over Australia.
Mr Bennett said the organizers were also keen to encourage visiting sailors to stay and support local tourism businesses.
“We want to encourage our visitors to ‘stay a little longer’ in our beautiful region by offering free moorings after the event, so that they can discover our gastronomic, oenological and tourist offers.”
“We are still in the process of finalizing our full program and hope that we can offer something to make the Festival of Sails a fabulous celebration that we all look forward to, especially after such a difficult few years for Victoria,” he said. .
The 2022 Festival of Sails is proudly supported by Visit Victoria, the City of Greater Geelong and the Connected Communities of Geelong.