Sails Up As Geelong Hosts World Championships

03 September 2015

Minister for Tourism and Major Events John Eren today visited the Royal Geelong Yacht Club to launch the 2016 Festival of Sails and announce that the Club has secured the right to host the 2017 Viper World Championships.

Mr Eren also announced the Andrews Labor Government will contribute $50,000 for a study to produce a business case and master plan for the Geelong Waterfront Safe Harbour Precinct.

The Viper World Championships will be held from 7 – 15 January 2017, representing the first time it has been staged in Australia. The event is expected to attract 70 boats from all over the world including Europe, USA and New Zealand, with 27 entrants from Europe already confirmed.

Next year will mark the 173rd staging of the Festival of Sails, which attracts more than 3000 competitors and 30 boats from interstate and beyond. Held over the Australia Day weekend, Festival of Sails is Australia’s oldest sporting event and the largest annual keel boat regatta in the Southern Hemisphere.

Improving safe harbours will help secure the future of events like the Festival of Sails, which returned $14 million and created 115 jobs for the Geelong economy in 2014. Current infrastructure is limiting the precinct’s ability to thrive and host a greater number of events.

The Geelong Waterfront Safe Harbour Precinct study will ensure local safe harbour infrastructure meets the current and future needs for public boat mooring, which will help the Royal Geelong Yacht Club to attract more major water events and visitors.

It will guide future investment and decision-making in developing the precinct to create new opportunities for new and existing events, recreational boaters and the cruise ship market.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Tourism and Major Events John Eren

“The Geelong waterfront presents a key opportunity for redevelopment and growth, and that means jobs for the region.”

"It is already home to our world class Festival of Sails and today we’ve added another exciting drawcard to Victoria's enviable calendar of major events.”

Quotes attributable to Minister for Regional Development Jaala Pulford

“Today is a significant step towards transforming Geelong’s waterfront. With first class facilities, the precinct can attract even more events on a regular basis.”

Quotes attributable to Member for Geelong Christine Couzens

“The Royal Geelong Yacht Club has a proven track record of hosting world championship events and the 2017 Vipers will be the third competition they’ve hosted in the last four years, a fantastic outcome for the Club.”

Reviewed 19 August 2020

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