Now twinned with Skandia Cowes Week, the 2005 Skandia Geelong Week has moved to another level on the keel-boat circuit, as a regatta of both National and International significance, with a major boost from a key yachting sponsor. In its tenth year of Skandia Cowes Week sponsorship and coming up for its second year of involvement with Geelong, Skandia is of the same vintage as the Geelong Regatta. Established in Stockholm in 1855, Skandia, the oldest company listed on the Swedish stock exchange, will celebrate its 150th anniversary in 2005.
Whilst it's been operating on the Australian financial services scene for four years, the company is still best known in this country because Grant WHARINGTON's 98 foot sponsored Skandia won the 2003 Rolex Sydney-Hobart Yacht Race. The 2004 Hobart race, the toughest since 1998, has taken the three supermaxis' out of the Geelong Week series. First Skandia with canting mechanism failure and a lost keel, Konica Minolta bent in the middle and now the 2004 line honours winner Nicorette, possibly with some post traumatic injuries, and a lost mast two days ago.
Sean LANGMAN's Sydney based AAPT is expected to be monohull leader in this year's regatta. 'AAPT was second across the line in the Sydney to Hobart, so we expect they will be right up there at the front of the fleet in the Williamstown to Geelong passage race.'
'The withdrawal of super maxis Skandia and Konica Minolta (due to Sydney to Hobart race damage) was disappointing, however the event has lost little in terms of the spectacle and close competition', Event Coordinator Doug JARVIS said yesterday morning.
Skandia Geelong Week 2005 starts on Friday 21 January at Williamstown's Royal Yacht Club of Australia. The 100 plus boats in the Scotchman's Hill fleet will contest the first of its seven race series on Port Phillip Bay in Melbourne. The major draw card of the Week, this series, has been building in significance. In the past two years, a Farr 52 from the CYCA in Sydney has won this prestigious series under IRC - Ray ROBERTS' Hollywood Boulevard in 2003 and in 2004 it was CYCA director, Matt ALLEN's Ichi Ban. The Scotchmans Hill Trophy fleet will the most competitive ever with Sailing South winner Michael Spies Beneteau 44.7 First National Real Estate an early favourite, along with Matt ALLEN's Ichi Ban keen to beat the Hayman Regatta winner, Sydney 47 Gomez.
There will be new boats aplenty as Ray ROBERTS and Phil COOMBS will be joining the line up with their new DK46's, against the two new Reichel Pugh's, Hardy's Secret Mens Business and XLR8.
The overall fleet will be boosted by the presence of Australia's largest offshore one design class, the Sydney 38's, competing in their 2005 Nationals. Amongst the fleet racing to Hobart, there were 11 Sydney 38's. However their numbers were cut by some very tough Bass Strait weather and only some will be racing in Geelong at their Nationals. They will be joined by other 38's coming south specifically for Geelong Week.
On the Saturday morning of the Australia Day long weekend, a large spectator fleet will witness the starting canon being fired from one of the tall ships as an armada of at least 300 boats stream down the Victorian coast, around Point Henry to their finish line in Geelong's Corio Bay.
Once in Geelong, the Scotchman's Hill fleet, the Sydney 38's, S80's, sports boats, trailer yachts, classic yachts, Thunderbirds, cruising boats, multihulls, Couta boats, plus a myriad of smaller boats - over 400 boats overall - will contest a range of events on Corio Bay and on the outer harbour over the weekend. Most of these fleets will finish their regatta on Tuesday afternoon, before the climax of the Australia Day celebrations that night - a spectacular fire works display, with music simulcast booming out for the K-Rock Star Show.
On Wednesday afternoon, the Sydney 38 class will take centre stage for their final set of races on Corio Bay - an exciting conclusion to Skandia Geelong Week and the Australia Day celebrations!
Doug JARVIS, Skandia Geelong Week's longtime event coordinator said, 'We're looking forward to another great regatta in 2005 - another fabulous event for the whole community. Over the five days we are expecting over 100,000 people in Geelong for the regatta and celebrations. Once again it will be like Sydney's Royal Easter Show, or the Melbourne Cup, but on the waterfront, with the giant fleet sailing right in front of the spectator crowds.'
Royal Geelong Yacht Club Commodore Peter STEPHENS is pleased with the growing sailing program.
'Having the Sydney 38's will add a true grand-prix element to the regatta, which will compliment the very competitive IRC divisions in the Scotchman' s Hill series. In addition there will be a super-30 division this year where the locally built Hick-30's will be hard to beat. The Outer harbour racing adds a new dimension to the regatta also, where the yachts have a huge expanse of deep water and steady breeze in which to sail. This is all complemented by an extended entertainment schedule, which will help the yachties and their families wind down after intensive racing on what we biased locals think is Australia's best sailing waters.'
More information on Skandia Geelong Week 2005, Notice of Race and online entry is available at the website below. at www.geelongweek.com.au Notice of Race http://www.geelongweek.com.au/pdfs/sgw_nor_2005.pdf