Crowds flock to the bay

The crew of winning Geelong boat Local Mocean. Pictures: Supplied.

Tens of thousands flocked to Geelong Waterfront this weekend for the Festival of Sails to watch yachts, water-ski stunts and air acrobatics.

Geelong’s Penny and Stuart Olney and their four children were among the crowds enjoying live music on the lawn at Steampacket Gardens.

“We came to the carousel and decided to stay and enjoy the entertainment,” Penny said.

“The kids are free to roam around and we can relax and enjoy the food. It’s a nice way to enjoy Australia Day.”

Geelong boat Local Mocean won the 56km Passage Race to Williamstown on handicap, crossing the line third behind Secret Men’s Business and fellow local boat Extrasea.

The result comes just weeks after captain Stuart Richardson and crew came second in their division on handicap in the Sydney to Hobart on Moody Buoys.

“It was a great day for Geelong boats,” the happy skipper said on Sunday.

“We picked the wind shifts and the crew work was good. The boat suits light wind and the boat went well.”

Local Mocean also beat three much larger boats during the race.

Its helmsman Brenton Carnell, who started sailing at age eight, said he had “never had a result like it” in his 46 years at the Festival of Sails.

RAAF Roulettes thrilled waterfront crowds and residents across Geelong alike, while festivities continued into the night on Sunday with Richard Clapton headlining the entertainment.

Royal Geelong Yacht Club cancelled its traditional Australia Day fireworks out of respect for tens of thousands of bushfire victims and volunteer firefighters.

The club instead donated $10,000 from the savings to establish a Festival of Sails bushfire appeal.

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