It is the largest of its kind in the southern hemisphere – it is older than the Melbourne Cup, attracts more competitors than the 2006 Commonwealth Games, has more attendees than the AFL Grand Final – and has a brand new name.
A recently formed partnership with German luxury carmaker Audi has launched Victoria's oldest sporting event into a new era. “We have seen a few changes over time, but we regard this as the most significant, and the most exciting, in the 165 year history. The annual sailing extravaganza will now be promoted as Audi Victoria Week,” a delighted Royal Geelong Yacht Club Commodore Graeme Ritchie said.
“Audi is a premium brand and a major partner in Australian sailing. This is a vote of confidence in the future of our sport. It will enhance global creditability and add momentum to what is already a burgeoning event.”
Audi Australia's managing director, Joerg Hofmann, said the company is committed to remaining the largest corporate sponsor of sailing in Australia.
“We are proud to be the title sponsor of Audi Victoria Week. This event is a major addition to our annual sailing sport calendar and clearly shows our support of the sport. Victoria is an important market for Audi and we are keen to invest in the community,” Mr Hofmann said.
“Audi is the only premium brand in Australia with positive sales growth of 12% in a market which is down around 10%, and our sponsorship of this prestigious event allows our company to give back to the community that supports our growth.”
Adding further momentum Premier John Brumby today announced a new three year partnership with the Victorian Government. “These developments will ensure that Audi Victoria Week continues to be at the forefront of keelboat racing in Australia,” said Mr Brumby.
There have only been five name changes spread across three centuries. “Victoria Week best describes where the event is now at in terms of development. Audi Victoria Week is staged in both Melbourne and Geelong and the event showcases how the waterfront cities are linked by Port Phillip”. Commodore Ritchie added.
Audi Victoria Week is expected to attract more than 500 competing yachts over six days from 21-26 January 2010.
Racing begins in Melbourne with the Docklands Invitational and the sailing version of 20/20 cricket – King of the Docklands. Fleets then combine for the annual Melbourne to Geelong race and the program continues in Geelong through to Australia Day on 26 January.
For more information visit www.victoriaweek.com