Lakefest 2019, the annual aquatic festival celebrating all things boating, will set sail on beautiful Lake Macquarie from February 16 to March 3, promising a bigger than ever event for the whole family.
‘Lakefest was created by a number of Lake Macquarie clubs in 2013, following a highly successful Heaven Can Wait Charity Sailing Regatta,’ says Lakefest spokesperson Mel Steiner. ‘A debrief realised there was an opportunity to create an aquatic festival that promoted sailing, other water-based activities, Lake Macquarie and the Hunter Region in general. Since then it has grown year on year.’
Many of the events are charity fundraisers with the Hunter branch of the Cancer Council of NSW, The Samaritans and Lake Macquarie Marine Rescue being the 2019 beneficiaries. Almost $60,000 was raised in support of the charities in 2018.
So buckle your swashes as Lakefest kicks off with the Belmont 16s Junior Pirate Fun Day, on Feb 16. Young dinghy sailors are encouraged to dress as pirates and sail in search of chocolate treasure while dodging the water bombs and water canon of their buccaneering competitors.
The Lake Macquarie Yacht Club Lakefest Regatta will be huge, with up to 70 yachts expected for windward/leeward races on February 16 and a buoy course race on March 2. And don’t forget the aquatic movie night on Sunday Feb 17, showing the highly appropriate Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again.
On the weekend of February 22-24, there’ll be the hugely popular Heaven Can Wait Charity Sailing Regatta, hosted by Royal Motor Yacht Club Toronto. While raising money for cancer research, sailors will circumnavigate the lake in a One-Lap Dash, 12-Hour Challenge and 24-Hour Classic Endurance Race.
For those who appreciate the finer things, the Classic Boat Association will be holding a Boat Bits Bonanza at Rathmines on February 24, while in Toronto, Sailability will be having an open day with races for client sailors and volunteers, and fun events for all.
Friday, 1 March, sees the Wangi RSL Amateur Sailing Club host a social Open Twilight race with a tender service so sailors can anchor and enjoy the after-race entertainment at the club.
The final weekend of Lakefest closes with a flourish as the superb St Ayles skiff rows out from Rathmines (bound for Speers Point via RMYC) on Saturday 2 March and the final race of the Lakefest Regatta also sails on Saturday. On Sunday 3 March the St Ayles skiff arrives at Speers Point, to be part of the massive program of events organised by the Toronto Sunrise Rotary Club as Paddlefest, a celebration of all watercraft propelled by paddles.
For more information: www.lakefest.com.au