Audi Victoria Week Coming Up

Near record fleet for Audi Victoria Week

Entries for Australia’s largest and most established sailing regatta, Audi Victoria Week, closed late last night and today host club, the Royal Geelong Yacht Club is thrilled to announce a huge fleet of 441 yachts.

“Once again the multi-faceted event has attracted a huge range of Australia’s best sailors chasing their share of the silverware, as well as those who come to enjoy the action on and off the water,” said regatta chairman and RGYC vice commodore Andrew Neilson.

“With Audi coming on board as the new naming rights sponsor of the event, this is the start of a new era. We acknowledge the involvement of Audi as the new major sponsor as well as all our support sponsors,” added Neilson.

During the 166th staging of the longstanding regatta, Victoria’s capital city Melbourne and largest regional city Geelong will host more than 4000 sailors and their families.

The weeklong event comprises the Docklands Invitational (five race series, 21-22 Jan), an invitation-only event, King of the Docklands (21-22 Jan), a knock-out event aboard the SB3s for all divisional winners from the past two year’s, and finally the Audi IRC Series starting with the colourful passage race from Melbourne to Geelong on Saturday 23 January.

Among all the other classes starting in the Passage Race are the big multihulls that normally beat the IRC yachts to Geelong. The ‘multis’ start their series in the lead-up to the Passage Race.

Once in Geelong, 19 classes will race in their own divisions with two state championships, the McConaghy – KA Sails International Moth Victorian Championship and the William Angliss SB3 Victorian Championship, plus a national title is up for grabs, the Club Marine Formula 18 Australian Championship. The event is also the first leg of the Audi IRC Australian Championship.

The largest cruising fleet ever, 212 when entries closed last night, has added plenty of weight and colour to the Audi Victoria Week starting list.

While the classics are about history and grandeur, the International Moths and the Formula 18s are about the latest in design and construction, and will be the fastest of the classes as they skim across Corio Bay starting Saturday week.

The absence of the 60 footers such as Loki and Limit has paved the way for the 50 footers to add their touch of grand prix glamour to the line up,  Audi Victoria Week sailing administrator, Rob Hampshire describing the fleet  as “about as red hot as you can get anywhere in the country”.

Coming fresh off the 2009 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, some of the competition are the TP52 contenders, Bob Steel’s Quest (NSW) and Victorians; Rob Hanna’s Shogun (winner of the First Yacht Under 15 18.5m across the Sydney Hobart finish line), Calm (Jason VanderSlot/John Williams/Graeme Ainley) and Alan Whiteley’s Cougar.

A huge team of yacht club staff, volunteers, and sailing administrators are gearing up to host the massive event, which last year attracted 457 entries. Hampshire estimates close to 250 people will be involved in race administration and logistics at Docklands and Geelong.

In addition to a great racing program, the shoreside program boasts a bumper mix of entertainment and activities.

Over 60 live acts with artists including Darryl Braithwaite, Wendy Matthews, Brian Mannix, Scott Carne and Sean Kelly will perform across three waterfront stages.

The annual Bay FM Fireworks Spectacular will light up the sky on Monday 25, choreographed to music and are always a highlight. There is also the free William Angliss ‘Go Sailing’ program, allowing people of all ages and abilities a chance to test the waters with the aid of a qualified instructor off Eastern Beach.

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