Festival of Sails 180th passage race 

29 January 2023

Geelong’s Festival of Sails recently celebrated the 180th anniversary of its iconic Passage Race between Melbourne and Geelong, with Gordon Ketelbey’s TP52 Zen taking line honours for the January 26 race, and Alan Woodward’s Reverie declared the overall winner.

The Passage Race is the opener to the Royal Geelong Yacht Club’s annual Festival of Sails (FoS) and even under an overcast grey sky, the mass start from two lines was nothing short of spectacular.

This year’s 242-strong fleet started in light morning breezes off Williamstown, with Zen finishing the 34nm course in 3 hours, 43 minutes and 17 seconds, beating Sebastian Bohm’s TP52 Smuggler by close to seven minutes.

Paul Buchholz’s Cookson 50 Extasea was third over the finish line. Bill Barry-Cotter’s Schumacher 54 Maritimo 54 was next, with Michael Spies at the helm. Just 12 seconds behind them was Rob Date’s Carkeek 43 Scarlet Runner.

The overall winner was Alan Woodward’s Beneteau First 45 Reverie, pictured below. Woodward is a fixture at FoS, having participated in some 30 events with the same crew in various Reverie incarnations. The racing continued on Corio Bay until January 29, with 271 boats from around the country that ranged from Tim Bardon’s 5.9m Cirrus up to Roy Nicholson’s 17.5m Nautor Swan 56 Apsara.

For full results, sail to Festival of Sails. 
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