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Tahiti Pearl Regatta - Night time Soirees and action packed racing

by Morgan Rogers on 22 May 2013
Tahiti Pearl Regatta 10th Edition Morgan Rogers
Tahiti Pearl Regatta X Edition day two - With overnight rain keeping the temperature relatively cool (28 deg) and while the festivities went on well into the night, the promise of an early start saw competitors make their way back to the yachts via the local fishing fleet and supported by a number of speed boats from Raiatea. This system has worked well in the past and this year is even more efficient with the 'ferry' service operating till very late in zoned transport and servicing all 50 yachts competing.

By day break, the sun had pushed through the cloud cover to reveal a superb morning and the predicted 15 – 18 knts was shaping up to be a magic (normal) day in the south pacific.

Not to disappoint competing yacht the Maraa’mu had died out and was replaced with a consistent E/NE trade wind to provide 18 – 20 knts at the top end of the modified course. Originally a plan was laid to circumnavigate Huahine however a new course was conceived and advised at the 0730 hr VHF brief due to the continuing strong S/E swell at the bottom of the island. A pin was laid 1.5 mile n/ne of Huahine allowing a beautiful tour of the most spectacular island in the Leeward group of the Society Islands.

Racing got underway with again the director George Khorel from St Tropez officiating and under the hospice of The French Sailing Federation, today we were sure the rules of racing were to be put to the test and as predicted at the top mark as the fleets converged and intermingled on the course there were some 'near hits' and good display of sportsmanship and helmsman or helms women ship as the case would be in many of the yachts.

Division 1, Catamarans were off quickly for the work to the mark, mainly on a stb tack however closer proximity to land provided good lifts. Leading from the start gate to the finish, Nusa Dua was never really challenged for line honours.

Division 2, Oyster Yachts provided a superb site, powered up and charging the slight sea conditions of perhaps 1 mtr swell and with the 15 knts N/NE breeze freshening. The Oysters flew all sail for the first time in this regatta.

Division 3, Mono Hulls 1, an extremely competitive division with TPR and was hotly contested from the start, with the exception of one that got away, the pack interchanged leadership several times on the work to the top mark at 7.5 NM from the start. The division worked its way around to the right hand side of the course picking up a laid mark 1.5 NM off the reef which gave all of competitors a spectacular view of the sandy coast line to the north of Huahine.

Division 4 Mono Hulls 2, This division encourages a cruising like competition, not dissimilar to Airlie beach race week, a comfortable and family orientated fleet made their way surprisingly quickly to the top mark and several had overhauled the back markers of the catamaran division and Mono Hull 1, polling out from the point near the air strip of Huahine provided a direct route back to the passé and the then short up wind work to the finish line.

Racing was all finished by noon, allowing for a swim and lunch within the lagoon and preparation for the ashore entertainment. Melanie Steffen and her partner, both sailing in the regatta treated us to a spectacular light and fire dance.

Tonight the fleet moved south to another spectacular anchorage, Avea Bay where the festivities were elevated to a crescendo and the regatta started to wind down with a beach party theme. Sensational local produce was all included in the ashore packages.A few sore heads in the morning with a 0600 hrs start to motor back up the lagoon to the start line for the Huahine to Raiatea transit race and last race in the lagoon of Tahaa.

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