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Festival of Sails: simpler format to reunite fleet

The perpetual trophy for the Victorian AMS and IRC Championship (Credit Festival of Sails 2014)

The perpetual trophy for the Victorian AMS and IRC Championship (Credit Festival of Sails 2014)

Victoria’s IRC and AMS championships are set to reunite the Festival of Sails 2014 fleets.

IRC boats have split off for separate competition in the last couple of years, but come January and one of Australia’s premier yachting regattas, a simpler format will unify like boats.

AMS originated in Australia and is the favoured secret formula in Victoria and Tasmania for scoring yachting events. The rest of the country puts more emphasis on IRC, which is administered by the Royal Ocean Racing Council in the UK.

Those waving the flag for AMS say it’s price sensitive, doesn’t penalise lighter boats in stiff breeze and offers a fairer formula than IRC to those with wider hulls.

David Ellis from the Victorian Keelboat Committee says, “AMS runs happily alongside IRC in Victoria and certificates are much cheaper.

“More Victorian owners have chosen AMS over IRC and it suits the boats that are currently around rather than owners feeling like they need to build something expensive to suit the IRC rule.

“The big thing for the Festival of Sails at Geelong in 2014 is we’ll have all the racing boats back together racing in the same division and being scored under whichever formula the owner chooses, or under all three; IRC, AMS and PHS, if that’s their preference.

For the past couple of years the IRC fleet at the hugely popular Australia Day weekend regatta has competed for separate trophies, including the distinguished Audi IRC Australian Championship, a key feature of this year’s event.

For the 2014 edition, January 21st to 27th, like boats will race cohesively, substantially boosting the size of all divisions.

If an owner is looking for a low key event having contested one of the major Christmas offshore races, AMS offers high performance boats the option of competing in the more relaxed cruising division without a hard-core race crew, say its supporters.

“Not everyone wants to go to Geelong for the serious side and sailing under AMS means racing boats can’t unfairly dominate those set up in cruising mode,” said Ellis.

“There’s a lot of boats sitting at the Melbourne end of the bay who need a sailing program that appeals to them. Looking at the entries registered so far for the AMS Championship at the Festival of Sails shows that organisers have put a program together that owners will travel to be part of,” Ellis added.

The perpetual trophy for the Victorian AMS and IRC Championships is the much revered gold-plated Lady Nelson trophy, originally commissioned for the Great Circle Yacht Race, a tough 810 nautical mile event from Melbourne around Tasmania and back, which began in the late 1970s.

It was dusted off and rededicated to the inaugural Victorian AMS and IRC state titles in 2011 hosted by Sandringham Yacht Club as part of the club’s Centenary Regatta.

AMS was developed in 1997 as a response to the decline worldwide of the IMS formula. It is a secret formula run by volunteers with the support of Yachting Victoria.

Further information on AMS

The regular entry fee for the 2014 Festival of sails, conducted by the Royal Geelong Yacht Club, applies to January 10th and a late entry fee of $100 will apply after thereafter.

In 2014 the event will host four Australian Championship events; the Melges 24 Australian Open Nationals, the Australian Teams Racing Championship, the Beneteau First Nationals and the Sydney 38 One Design Australian Championships.

From Tuesday 21st to Monday 27th January an extensive sailing program will cater for all levels, with 17 different classes open to keelboats and multihulls from Australia and overseas.
The event will conclude Monday 27th, the Australia Day public holiday, with the trophy presentations and the final Shoreside Festival program of activities.

Notice of Race available, go here.  Enter online, go here.

By Lisa Ratcliff / Festival of Sails


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