Sailing Champions League returns for 2023 Festival of Sails
The ‘club versus club’ sailing competition – the VIC Sailing League – will be returning to the 2023 Festival of Sails as local teams battle it out for a shot at the Asia Pacific finals of the SAILING Champions League in May 2023.
Launched in 2013 and now being run in 24 countries around the world, the league pits teams of four sailors against each other as they race in short races, over a standardised course, in supplied one-design boats.
The concept of the league was introduced into Australia in 2019 by Olympic sailing gold medallist, Mark Turnbull OAM and has now grown to include State Leagues in Victoria, New South Wales, South Australia, and Western Australia.
“This year we’ll have two days of jam-packed sailing during the Festival of Sails on Thursday, January 26 and Friday, January 27, which promises to be fast and furious!” says Mark.
“Entries are now open and we’re looking forward to more than 100 local sailors – men and women – taking to Corio Bay for the racing action which will make for perfect spectator-friendly racing.”
The racing is divided into two categories, Under 22 and Open and the Geelong event is the qualification event for the top teams from Victoria to then go onto compete against the top clubs from all over Asia Pacific at the SAILING Champions League: Asia Pacific Final which is scheduled for May 2023.
“Geelong is a great place for this event and knowing we’ll be part of the 180th anniversary celebrations for its iconic Passage Race is a bonus,” says Mark.
The Festival of Sails’ historic Passage Race which first saw sailors competing on the waters of Port Phillip Bay in 1843 predates Victoria’s official colonisation in 1851 and the 1850’s Gold Rush.
It is also Australia’s oldest sporting event – older than the Melbourne Cup which began in 1861, older than The Ashes which began in 1882 and looking overseas, older than Wimbledon, which began in 1887.