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Trans-Tasman battle kicks off the Jack Tar Auckland Regatta 2017

by Andrew Delves, RNZYS on 24 Mar 2017
Macky rounds the mark in race 2 RNZYS Media
The Pacific Keelboat Challenge, again part of this year’s exciting Jack Tar Auckland Regatta, is an all Trans-Tasman affair in 2017 with teams from both New Zealand and Australia battling it out in the MRX fleet on the water off Rangitoto Island.

This year’s Pacific Keelboat Challenge includes 4 teams from RNZYS, and 3 teams from Australia - including Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron’s Chris Morgan, Royal Perth Yacht Club’s Paul King, and the Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club’s Chris Way who is back to defend his 2016 title.

Racing got underway in the challenge today, with the rest of the divisions in the Jack Tar Auckland Regatta not starting until tomorrow – meaning the spotlight was well and truly on the MRX fleet today.


The day began very slowly, with the competitors and race management having to wait a few hours for the wind to come to the party. “It was a very slow morning out there but there’s not much we could do, we were happy to get some wind in the afternoon and managed to get 3 races in, but luckily there are still two days racing ahead of us” commented Race Management Team Member Stuart Heine.

When Race 1 finally got underway, the winds were still fairly light and tricky but it was an RNZYS team helmed by Tom Macky who took the first win of the day by a decent margin of over 1 minute, with the 2016 champion Chris Way (RPAYC) coming in second and another RNZYS Skipper Matt Bouzaid third.


Race 2 saw a reverse of the first race but was also raced in light conditions, although there was enough wind for a really good race. This time Chris Way (RPAYC) led from the front and ended up taking the honours by over two minutes, with Tom Macky (RNZYS) second and Paul King from the Royal Perth Yacht Club coming in third place.

Tom Macky then made it his day well and truly with another race win in the final race of the day, clearly making him the skipper to beat over the weekend. RNZYS’ Euan Little had a great final race and claimed second place, with a classic rags to riches result for Chris Morgan’s (RQYS) ‘Team Ragtime’, who had finished last in the first two races, claiming the final podium spot.

The overall series results unsurprisingly have Tom Macky (RNZYS) at the top. Macky today showed his great knowledge of the MRX and his superior skill in light wind sailing. Chris Way (RPAYC) is in second and Matt Bouzaid (RNZYS) third. The bottom half of the table is very close, with only 3 points separating the last 4 competitor’s, setting up a great weekend of MRX keelboat racing.

So after three races there are early indications that the weekend will see a great Kiwi – Aussie battle between Macky and Way, although it is far too early to count the rest of the fleet out.

For full results click here

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