Big event brings a boost

Jackson Lavell-LeeBusselton Dunsborough Times
Email Jackson Lavell-Lee

The Club Marine Geographe Bay race week returns to Busselton on February 17-22 for its 18th year and is expected to bring about $1 million of spending to the region.

Last year, 40 boats participated in the event resulting in $1.4 million being spent in Busselton at hospitality, tourism and retail establishments.

The fleet this year is expected to be 40 boats and building.

Sailors from the US, UK, South Africa, New Zealand and the eastern States are regular attendees.

This year will feature the first fully crewed boat from New York.

Rear Commodore Raceweek Nigel Chesterfield-Evans said Busselton offered one of the most unique environments and special conditions for yacht racing in the world.

“The fact that all these sailors from overseas and interstate choose to hold regattas in Busselton is due to the topography and Geography of the area,” he said.

The event was first held in 1999 when local sailing identity David Buzzard provided funds and along with then Port Geographe Marina Manager Ray Clarke ran the first event with 29 boats attending.

The goal of the present organisers is to get the event into the Asian racing circuit along with the King’s cup in Thailand, Hong Kong’s South China Sea series and the Sultan of Brunei’s Borneo regatta.

The peak year was 2013 when 130 boats attended including a 70ft boat “Limit” which had a keel too deep to enter the marina.

Busselton has been home to numerous yachts that have competed in the Sydney to Hobart and hopes to again house some of the world’s finest boats.

If you are interested in this event, sponsored by the City of Busselton, you can register at gbyc.com.au and all training is provided.

“We’re trying to regrow the event into one of the best race weeks in the world,” Mr Chesterfield-Evans said.

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