The Festival of Sails Executive Committee and the Royal Geelong Yacht Club (RGYC) Board have made the difficult decision to cancel the 2021 Festival of Sails, which was scheduled for Saturday 23 – Tuesday 26 January, 2021.
Festival of Sails Chairman, Roger Bennett, said the cancellation of the event was a difficult but necessary decision, owing to the uncertainty created by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The Committee has worked closely with our event stakeholders, including the City of Greater Geelong and the Victorian State Government, to carefully evaluate the risks presented by the COVID-19 pandemic to our event,” Bennett said. “Due to the ongoing nature of the health crisis and restrictions in Victoria, we are unable to deliver the Festival of Sails safely and responsibly in 2021.
“While we understand this will be disappointing for those who support our event each year, the health and safety of our sailing and local communities are our first and most important priority,” he said.
2020 has been a year of highs and lows for the Royal Geelong Yacht Club. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the club delivered a line-up of major sailing events in the 2019/20 Summer of Sailing, while also installing the first stage of the Geelong Waterfront Safe Harbour Precinct Project – Wangim Walk (a 440m publicly accessible Wave Attenuator).
The efforts across the last year have resulted in the club being announced as a finalist in the Australian Sailing Yacht Club of the Year and Sport Promotion Award categories. The winner of these awards will be announced in the coming week.
Chairman Roger Bennett said whilst RGYC is disappointed the 2021 event won’t go ahead, the club is focused on re-starting its club activity and getting sailors back on the water - COVID-19 restrictions permitting.
“We look forward to welcoming sailors back to the Royal Geelong Yacht Club and the waters of Corio Bay for a huge Festival of Sails in 2022,” Bennett said.
The Festival of Sails, run by the Royal Geelong Yacht Club, attracts over 300 keelboats to Geelong annually and is the largest event of its type in the Southern Hemisphere. Sailors and visitors from around the country flock to the Geelong Waterfront for an action-packed weekend of world class sailing and entertainment for the whole family.
The traditional Festival of Sails Waterfront Festival, presented by Geelong Connected Communities, further activates the Geelong waterfront, attracting over 100,000 patrons with free entertainment and activities.