Volunteers play a crucial role in making 180-year-old festival a continued success

December 13, 2023
Jane Louise

In a few short weeks, Royal Geelong Yacht Club will celebrate the 181st anniversary of what is now the Southern Hemisphere’s largest keelboat racing regatta.

Originally known as the Geelong Regatta and now known as the Festival of Sails (FoS), the race has been held each year on Corio Bay since 1844.

The 2024 Festival of Sails is also delivering free live music, with a lineup including Oz rock stalwarts Southern Sons, popular new post-punk Sydney band Body Type, kids’ favourite Mik Maks and perennial favourite, the Royal Australian Navy Band.

To make the event possible for over 100,000 expected visitors, the club is once again on the lookout for volunteers to sign up for the 2024 Festival of Sails. The call was put out on 5 December, International Volunteer Day, for both experienced and new recruits.

Like we’ve said before, volunteers play a crucial role in our clubs.

For the Festival of Sails, each year a diverse group of over 200 volunteers sign up for tasks both on and off the water, and there is a lot to do.

Key tasks on land include greeting and assisting visitors and guests, directing visitors, setting up, moving gear around the yacht club, running errands and packing up.

On water, volunteers ensure smooth sailing with such tasks as driving boats, marking layers, and acting as timekeepers, race officers and volunteer officials.

Each task is important and every volunteer is valued for what they contribute to the success of the festival.

Paul Buchholz, Chairman of the Festival of Sails said in a recent FoS blog:

“They [volunteers] are an extraordinary group of people and there’s such a genuine bond of friendship amongst them. And while they have a great time, the truth is we just couldn’t run this event without them. It just wouldn’t happen, so we are always so grateful for their loyalty and hard work.”

Visit Festival of Sails for more information or to sign up as a volunteer.


Festival of Sails, keelboat, racing, regatta, Royal Geelong Yacht Club, Volunteers

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