The Festival of Sails is Australia’s foremost regatta and the largest annual keel boat regatta in the Southern Hemisphere. Held every January in Geelong, the event attracts more than 300 yacht entries and 3,000 competitors, many of whom were sporting Doyle sails.
Overall the conditions were light and tricky for the week, according to Blake Anderson from Doyle Sails Victoria. “Day one was quite light, it averaged below 10 knots before picking up towards the end of the day. Day two was also fairly light - some of the outer courses got a 20-knot bullet in the first race, before the wind died down below 12 for the day. On the final day, it looked like racing might not get started at all, but they managed to start just 30 minutes before the cutoff time.’
Fortunately, the lack of breeze didn’t hinder Doyle boats in the TP52 class. Secret Men’s Business, owned by Geoff Boettcher, and Gordon Ketelbey’s Zen were tied on points after the final race, with Secret Men’s Business securing first place on countback. Both yachts carried full Doyle sail inventories - in fact three out of 4 yachts in the TP52 fleet were Doyle boats.
Shane Guanaria, from Doyle Sails Sydney was onboard Zen and said the crew were really pleased with the performance of the sails. ‘Gordon has been a Doyle customer for about 14 years, and when he launched this boat in Australia, we built him a full set of Stratis sails (both upwind and downwind). Zen is usually better suited to 15 knots plus, so one of the things we targeted was the performance of our sails in light air. At regatta’s synonymous with light air, like at the Festival of Sails, we really needed them. The J1, in particular, was there to cover a potential weakness and went so well for Zen, and the A1, which was made for the Sydney-Hobart, also came in handy and kept us really competitive, keeping the other boats behind us.’
Another key difference for Doyle is their experts on the ground (or on the boats!) not only at the Festival of Sails but at other regattas around Australia. ‘Many of the Doyle team are sailors and are there with their customers - they’re always out at events, sailing, learning what works for the boats, trying to find as much value for our customers as possible,’ says Shane. ‘It’s not just one loft, either, our experts come from all over Australia and even internationally to help out. The last time I was at this event four years ago, there were probably half as many Doyle-badged sails out there, in all the fleets. It’s good to know our customers are seeing value in what we provide for them, and we’re giving them good support, and gaining new customers too.’
Many of those customers also fared well in the other divisions - with eight other first place results. In the Rating Series Division One, Reverie was second on handicap, with Chutzpah only one point back in third. Reverie had been leading for a lot of the regatta and were unlucky not to claim first place. Chutzpah’s placing is even more exceptional considering the well-known Hobart campaigner is actually set up as heavy offshore race boat, not a light air inshore competitor.
In Rating Division Two, two Doyle customers were on the podium, with Executive Decision first and How Bizarre third. The Executive Decision team praised their Doyle sails, posting that they enjoyed sailing with the 'the most innovative sailing technology in decades'.
Photo credit: Salty Dingo
FULL LIST OF DOYLE POWERED YACHT RESULTS:
TP52 IRC & TPR: 1st Secret Mens Business; 2nd Zen
Rating Series IRC & AMS - IRC Div 1: 2nd Reverie; 3rd Chutzpah
Rating Series IRC & AMS - AMS Div 1: 3rd Chutzpah
Rating Series IRC & AMS - IRC Div 2: 1st Executive Decision; 3rd How Bizarre
Rating Series IRC & AMS - AMS Div 2: 2nd Executive Decision; 3rd How Bizarre
S80 Class Series - Line Honours: 1st Skip Jack*; 2nd Merak
S80 Class Series - EHC: 2nd Rock n Roll
Cruising Series AMS - Div 1 (EHC): 1st Soiree Blue
Cruising Series AMS - Div 1 (AMS): 3rd Joker at Work
Cruising Series AMS - Div 2 (EHC): 1st Le Cascadeur; 2nd Magic Bullet
Cruising Series AMS - Div 2 (AMS): 1st Le Cascadeur; 3rd Magic Bullet
Cruising Spinnaker - Div 1: 1st White Spirit
Cruising Spinnaker - Div 2: 1st: Sea Eagle
Passage & Twilight Series: 1st Two Dogs