Fast and furious sailing

Marcus Blackmore’s ‘Hooligan’ won the grand prix TP52 Division during the weekend's Festival of Sails. (Supplied)

It was three days of fast and furious sailing as the Festival of Sails kicked off in Geelong last Friday.

Close to 100,000 visitors and participants attended the event on the waterfront from January 26 to 28 to enjoy the entertainment, hospitality and sail races.

Royal Geelong Yacht Club outgoing chairman Paul Buchholz said the event celebrated its 181st anniversary, with 40 races across nine divisions taking place over the weekend.

“Apart from the fantastic sailing and racing, the Festival of Sails has always had a reputation of being a great place to party,” he said.

“The opening Passage Race was pretty testing on all involved, with 200 boats battling fierce conditions in some tight and fast racing.

“We’ve had people trying sailing for the first time, we’ve had beach volleyball, markets and plenty to see and do. We also had a fantastic fireworks display, a vintage plane flyover, and family-favourite entertainment amongst the more than 40 musical acts across two stages.

“We’ve given our club site, entertainment and hospitality areas a major makeover and really brought the party atmosphere to life. It’s been a very busy weekend.”

Marcus Blackmore’s new ‘Hooligan’ won the grand prix TP52 Division during the weekend’s regatta, the oldest keelboat sailing regatta in the Southern Hemisphere.

“With this new boat, I thought we had built the world’s lightest and fastest TP52, but you don’t know that until you get to race it, now I know that we have,” he said.

“A fast boat is nothing without a fast crew, so my thanks to them, and I dedicate this win to my good friend Lang Walker, who passed away last night and gave so much to our sport.”