Iconic boat race from Williamstown

By Molly Magennis

The 2022 Festival of Sails kicked off on January 22, with the Passage Race from Melbourne to Geelong departing from Williamstown.

Over 200 boats set sail from Williamstown at 9.30am, beginning their 32 nautical mile passage race, the official curtain raiser for the 2022 Festival of Sails.

The Passage Race’s opening fleet was made up of boats of all shapes and sizes, including Grand Prix racing yachts, cruising/racing keelboats, multihulls, classic yachts and towing sailboats.

At the end of the four-hour battle, the Geelong-based yacht ‘Extasea’ skippered by Paul Bucholz took the top prize, closely followed by Queensland-based ‘Maritimo’ and R33 ‘Chutzpah’ based in Melbourne.

Winner Paul Bucholz said winning a local race with a local boat was sensational.

“I’ve been doing this race for 30 years and it’s getting better every year. I love this event.

Festival chairman Roger Bennett said Saturday’s race was in perfect conditions and a great way to welcome sailors back to the iconic event which had been heavily impacted by COVID restrictions over the past two last years.

“It’s even better that we can also celebrate the victory of one of our longtime members of our club, so congratulations to the Extasea crew,” he said.

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