The art of sailing and the craftsmanship of boat making will be celebrated this Labour Day long weekend as the Royal Geelong Yacht Club (RGYC) hosts the 2020 Wooden Boat Festival.

Presented by Wooden Boatshop and Yanmar, the Wooden Boat Festival starts today (Friday, March 6) in Geelong and runs until Monday, March 9, 2020.

Highlights of the festival include the opportunity to explore three iconic tall ships, hear from a panel of expert guest speakers, take part in a boat building competition and learn about the art of wooden boat making.

In 2020, Victorian Regional Channels Authority (VRCA) returns as a proud sponsor of the Wooden Boat Festival. The Victorian Regional Channel Authority Corio Bay Classic Wooden Yacht Cup will be held during the four-day festival.  VRCA also sponsored the biennial festival when it last ran in 2018.

VRCA Chief Executive Officer, Peter Mannion, said the Wooden Boat Festival capped off a fantastic summer of sailing in Geelong which also hosted the MacGlide Festival of Sails in January and last month’s 49er, 49erFX and Nacra 17 World Championships.

“It has been fantastic to see hundreds of boats of all shapes and sizes out on the water this summer. RGYC has hosted hundreds of sailors from around Australia and overseas and we have been delighted to see so many people, including world class sailors, enjoying our beautiful Corio Bay while being responsible and safe on the water,” he said.

“The VCRA is committed to keeping our bays safe and to do this requires the full support and commitment of everyone who uses our waters, including our recreational users and regatta participants.”

“Crowds of people have flocked to the Geelong Waterfront this summer for the various sailing regattas and we look forward to this continuing this weekend for the Wooden Boat Festival.”

Mr Mannion said supporting community events both on and off the water was very important to VRCA.

“The Wooden Boat Festival provides the public with the chance to learn more about the delightful art of sailing and the wonderful craftsmanship behind boat building.”

VRCA is also the naming rights sponsor of RGYC’s Twilight Race Series and sponsors other  local community events and programs including the annual Moorpanyal Park 1000 Swim, a free 1km open water swim, held last weekend.

VRCA also supports Geelong Umpires in the local AFL competitions and the annual Science and Engineering Challenge.

The 2020 Science and Engineering Challenge will be held on April 16 and 17 at Deakin University. It is a nationwide STEM outreach program designed to inspire secondary school students to study science, engineering and technology in Years 11 and 12.

Photograph credits:

  • Tall ship Enterprise – Tom Smeaton
  • Front page rowing – Denise Smeaton