Victoria's oldest sporting event and Australia's largest sailing regatta prepares to expand its horizons without Skandia, its title sponsor for the past six years.
Chairman of Geelong Week Andrew Neilson today announced the dates for 2010 and explained the earlier than expected parting with the title sponsor.
“Skandia Australia has been sold and while the company will continue to operate in other global markets, they no longer have a platform to promote in this country. This unexpected sale led to amicable negotiation and a positive outcome that provides Royal Geelong Yacht Club with the ability to deliver the event for the next two years”, Neilson explained.
The 2010 program will commence in the Melbourne Docklands, with the Docklands Invitational and King of the Docklands being staged on Thursday 21st and Friday 22nd. The traditional passage race from Williamstown to Geelong is scheduled for Saturday January 23rd and the program will conclude on Australia Day, Tuesday January 26th.
The Geelong end of the program will be extended to four days in 2010 and five days in 2011, creating an economic boost for the city. For the first time the prestigious Audi Series will be held exclusively in Geelong. “Sailors really enjoy the atmosphere in Geelong and they absolutely love the flat, protected waters of Corio Bay”, Neilson said.
Event coordinator Doug Jarvis said, “Geelong Week is in great shape and we have every reason to be excited about the future. It is nothing but onwards and upwards for the multi award winning event, in fact it is our intention to raise the benchmark and look further afield.
“Our ultimate aim is to host a sanctioned IRC World championship. Hence we are keen to support the Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC) in their ongoing promotion of IRC and their endeavor to resurrect the historically significant Admiral's Cup. We are even keener to host the Cup in the not too distant future.
“We have raised our ambitious plans with the RORC and we hope to talk again in the UK later this year. When you consider the strength of IRC in Australia, the attraction of competing in the Rolex Sydney to Hobart and the long term benefits of allowing the Admiral's Cup to roam – you could build a strong case around the package we could offer”.
Commenting on the sale of Skandia and title sponsorship Jarvis added, “We are certainly in the market for a new title sponsor and if necessary we will take advantage of our strong financial position to leverage a long term relationship. When you are talking about 165 years of sporting history, you need to consider longevity and make sensible decisions.
“I cannot speak more highly of Skandia. The management had enormous faith in our vision and they have intimately shared the phenomenal success we have enjoyed over the past six years. They have done so much for Victorian sailing, Royal Geelong Yacht Club and the wider community of Geelong. We will be eternally grateful.”
For more information, visit www.geelongweek.com.