All hands on deck at Galway Bay Sailing Club for race arrivalJune 21, 2012 - 7:00am
More than 8,000 people will be given an opportunity to experience the exhilaration of learning to sail during the spectacular finale of the Volvo Ocean Race on Galway Bay next month, thanks to an initiative by Galway Bay Sailing Club and the Irish Sailing Association.
As part of a nine day seafaring festival built around the race finale, sailing clubs want to get a record breaking number of people onto the water between June 30 and July 8.
The arrival of the Volvo fleet will put the city at the centre of a global media spotlight, the briefing was told, but for many local sailors the highlight of the festival will be an opportunity to take part in one or other of the highly competitive sailing regattas on Galway Bay or to have a go on one of the high speed Volvo tri sailboats.
More than 40 separate on-water events, which will take place on Galway Bay during the course of the Volvo festival, include the Irish Multihull National Championships which has attracted an entry of over 40 boats. These high speed craft will be seen off Salthill on Saturday June 30 and Sunday July 1.
The club is also hosting GB12 cruiser racing series and 50 yachts are lining up for this three-day event, attracting boats from Westport, Limerick, Clifden, Sligo, Galway and the UK. Galway is also taking a leading role in the dramatic round Rockall Race, which startsthis coming Sunday.
One of the biggest gathering of boats ever to happen will take place on Sunday July 1 at Galway Docks and will be organised by GBSC member and ISA director Pierce Purcell, who is expecting up to 200 boats to take part in the colourful parade of sail. Weather permitting, the fleet will meet at Salthill and join a junior parade of sail off Mutton Island.
Organisers are calling on all water users to join this parade of sail including yachts, sailing dinghies, traditional boats, power boats, ribs, fishing boats, scout groups windsurfers and canoes. A reviewing vessel will anchor off the channel to the Docks and a band will welcome the armada into the marina to add to the shore festival just a day before the Volvo 70s arrive.
Another one of the highlights will be the Irish Disabled Sailing Association regatta, and more than 100 sailors who have physical disabilities have already applied for the accessible sailing series. This joint event is designed to encourage people with disabilities to take to the water. During the week they will be offered advice and assistance by many of the Volvo ocean sailors.
GBSC are also running a schools team-racing event. John Killeen, President of Let’s Do it Global said he was delighted with the enthusiasm of the sailing clubs and of the 2,000 volunteers from all over Ireland who will assist in running the biggest sailing event of the year.
The Mayor of Galway Hildegarde Naughton said this event “was huge for not only Galway, but all of Ireland” and would attract massive media coverage as well as visitors to Galway.