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Breeze on at Festival of Sails

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Breeze on at Festival of Sails_2
Fleet heading out of the Hopetoun Channel. Salty Dingo

Gusts up to 25 knots came through Geelong's inner Corio Bay on day two of the annual Festival of Sails regatta, skittling the VX One fleet contesting the Gill VX One Australian Championship.

'Super Sunday' had every boat in the 300 or so strong Festival fleet out racing in puffy and changeable west south-west winds. The breeze was stronger coming off the land in the inner harbour courses than for the Rating divisions completing their three short-course races on the outer harbour, adjacent to Clifton Springs.

Late afternoon the large cruising fleet went back out for a second race, a twilight course off Royal Geelong Yacht Club watched by a good-sized crowd from the end of Royal Geelong Yacht Club's marina.

Junior sailors added their weight to the Festival's sailing program when the Optimist and Cadet fleets took to the water.

Gill VX One Australian Championship

Alan Moffatt's Mack One crew strengthened their championship defence with two more wins and a third, to be a whopping 10 points clear of fellow Queenslanders on Andy Patrick's Cowabunga, a huge margin in a large fleet of identical boats.

Brian Case's VX One called Slick from Geelong has moved into third overall in the sports boat pointscore with three races remaining.

There was drama in race 5 with a number of VXs capsizing and a crewman trapped underneath Ben Pfitzner's Canberra Yacht Club based Let's Be Natural.

Foredeck hand Owen Muyt described what happened: "We were coming to the top mark, we got in a wind shadow then the breeze came on at 20 knots. The boat rolled in and then as it rolled back up it rolled on top of me. I was under there for around a minute and a half then finally Ben saw my hat and dragged me up. I was full of water. I did want to keep racing." In the end the Canberra crew retired from that race.

Rating divisions 1, 2, 3

Ray Roberts' Botin 40 Team Hollywood is being kept honest in division 2 by Bruce McCraken's well-sailed Beneteau First 45 Ikon while in Rating division 3 Shaun Tiedemann's Philosopher is making a meal of the results. This comes off their successful Australian Yachting Championship IRC division 3 defence.

Geoff Boettcher's Secret Mens Business (SA) holds a one-point advantage in division 1 from Marcus Blackmore's Hooligan (NSW). Matt Allen's Ichi Ban (NSW) is well within reach as the four TP52s compete for precious points.

The breeze was WSW up until the final race of the day when it shifted 90 degrees left around to the south-east, Geelong's summer seabreeze, and freshened to 20 knots, producing some thrilling slides for the 52-footers to cap off a long day.

Six races into the J111 Australian Championship Rod Warren's Joust is leading comfortably.

All cruising divisions enjoyed a passage race from inner Corio Bay out of the skinny Hopetoun Channel to the outer harbour and back before heading back (this is the second use of back in this sentence) out for the twilight race on Sunday January 27, 2019.

Information from Festival of Sails

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