Festival of SailsRoyal Geelong Yacht Club
Charter a Private Jet to the Festival of Sails
More than 170 years ago, 96 years after the British flag was raised over Australia, a handful of sailors took advantage of a rare, north-facing inner harbor on Corio Bay to hold the first Australia Day Regatta.
That race, renamed the Festival of Sails in 1997, has turned into a weeklong event drawing more than 100,000 spectators to watch some 3,000 competitors on 300 sailing yachts, racing from Melbourne to Geelong.
The country’s oldest sporting event is still held every year on or around Australia Day, Jan. 26, the official national day that marks the anniversary of the 1788 arrival of the first fleet of British ships and the raising of the Flag of Great Britain over New South Wales.
We Can Get You There
Whether you are a sailor or a spectator at the largest annual keelboat regatta in the southern hemisphere, Paramount Business Jets can arrange a flight for you into any of the nearby airports, including:
- Avalon Airport, YMAV, AVV, Avalon, Australia (9 miles)
- Point Cook Airport, YMPC, Melbourne, Australia (26 miles)
- King Island Airport, YKII, KNS, King Island, Australia (27 miles)
- Melbourne Essendon Airport, YMEN, MEB, Melbourne, Australia (41 miles)
- Melbourne Moorabbin Airport, YMMB, MBW, Melbourne, Australia (42 miles)
- Melbourne International Airport, YMML, MEL, Melbourne, Australia (42 miles)
- Smithton Airport, YSMI, SIO, Smithton, Australia (80 miles)
- Maryborough Airport, YMBU, Maryborough, Australia (90 miles)
- Leongatha Airport, YLEG, Leongatha, Australia (93 miles)
- Wynyard Airport, YWYY, BWT, Wynyard, Australia (94 miles)
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More about the Festival of Sails
As the regatta grew in number of competitors, the yearly party surrounding it grew, too. A family-oriented Shoreside Festival draws visitors to Geelong and its Royal Yacht Club, many patriotically dressed in the red, white and blue colors of the flag, for live music, food and wine, arts and crafts, a boat show and fireworks. The temperature during the festival is about 70 degrees.
The foremost keelboat regatta in Australia is hosted by the Royal Geelong Yacht Club, one of Australia’s largest yacht clubs with more than 1,100 members. The highly competitive race draws every level of sailing and boating. Individual races have included a 38-mile passage race, an 18-mile course around buoys and a tough passage race of near-collisions through a narrow channel in which jibes are made within feet of bricks.
What to do in and around Melbourne while attending the Festival of Sails
When not watching sailboats, there is much else to see when visiting the southeastern tip of Australia.
The Festival of Sails is about an hour’s drive from Melbourne, Victoria’s capital city. Among things not to miss there are:
- The Eureka Skydeck: Step out into a glass box and get an unbelievable view of Melbourne and outlying areas from the highest point in the city.
- The Shrine of Remembrance: A veterans’ memorial, this shrine that resembles buildings of ancient Greece also offers great views of the city. It is surrounded by beautiful gardens.
- Hot-air ballooning: Get the lay of the land from an entirely different vantage point. You can see things like the Melbourne Cricket Ground and Yarra Valley with its rolling hills and vineyards. A balloon ride is especially beautiful early in the morning when the air is calm and the city is illuminated by the rising sun.
- The Dandenong Ranges: You can see the mountains, which are famous for their huge Mountain Ash trees and natural beauty, many ways but perhaps the best is on a narrow gauge railway that squeezes through places not accessible any other way.
- Queen Victoria Market: Get a souvenir, a meal or just about anything else your heart desires.
- The Great Ocean Road: A scenic 150-mile drive along the coast of Victoria (about an hour southwest of Melbourne) offers stunning views along the most photographed parts of the country. There are many stops and viewing points along the way. You can rent a car or take a bus tour.