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RS Sailing 2021 - LEADERBOARD

2020 Fiji Regatta Week at Musket Cove Yacht Club - Preview

by Ronnie Simpson 2 Sep 2020 02:36 PDT 9-12 October 2020
Sand Bank Race start - Fiji Regatta Week © Musket Cove Yacht Club

The 37th annual Fiji Regatta Week will take place October 9-12 at Musket Cove Island Resort on Malolo Lailai Island in western Fiji. Originally scheduled for September 11-16 the fate of this year's regatta was uncertain, until recently, as a result of the COVID 19 global pandemic.

Due to Fiji's status as a 'COVID-contained' nation however, the government has been able to re-open it's borders to foreign yachts with their 'Blue Lane Initiative', first announced in late June. Since this initiative came into effect in mid-July, more than 70 foreign yachts have safely re-entered the country, with more currently in quarantine and even more on passage to Fiji as of this writing.

"With the opening up of the 'Blue Lanes' and the great initiatives of the Fijian Government, we will once again be able to attract an international fleet of cruisers and yachties", explained Company Director William Moffat. "It was really important for us to keep the tradition alive for this 37th running of the Fiji Regatta Week at Musket Cove. With 2020 marking the 50th anniversary of Fiji's independence and the 40th anniversary of the Musket Cove Yacht Club, we are honored to be able to again hold this world class regatta".

"Although we are in a COVID contained country, it's obviously extremely important for us to remain a safe destination", added fellow Company Director Josephine Smith. "As such, we'll be following all of the government's health guidelines, including requiring the installation and use of the 'Care Fiji' contact-tracing phone application. We will have a registered nurse on-site who will check temperatures and symptoms for all participants as they arrive to the island and as they register for the regatta. We will also have hand sanitizer and hygiene stations located throughout the event. With the regatta numbers being reduced from a normal year and all events being held outside and in open-air venues, the regatta will also be fully compliant with the government's social-distancing guidelines".

This year's regatta has been compressed from six days during a normal year to just four days in 2020, given the event's later dates and smaller anticipated fleet size. Beginning on the morning of Friday October 9, the regatta will kick off with Day 1 of the Port Opua Hobie Cat Challenge, which has become arguably the most popular event of the regatta. Utilizing Musket Cove Resort's fleet of Hobie 16 catamarans, teams will sail in a single-elimination match-racing tournament.

In the early afternoon of Friday, many of the cruising yachties will then trade the Hobies for their houses and race in the annual Sand Bank Race; a roughly 10 nautical mile race which exits through a narrow cut in the reef of Musket Cove before sailing towards Namotu island and then back into the finish just off of the Sandbar. Friday night's activities will include an abbreviated opening ceremony and a welcome dinner before an evening at the resort's famous Island Bar with a live DJ set.

Day 2 of the 2020 Fiji Regatta Week will certainly be one to remember. To kick off the day on Saturday October 10, there will be a Fiji Day celebration in the morning to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Fiji's independence from British colonial rule. Shortly thereafter will be Day 2 of the Port Opua Hobie Cat Challenge, as well as the inaugural running of the Mamanuca Board Traders SUP Challenge. Four competitors at a time will race off the beach and around a buoy before returning back to the beach, again in a single-elimination format. Later on in the afternoon will see the running of the 5k Rum Run Race. The evening's festivities will include a buffer dinner, a live local band and a pirate's theme; always popular with the sailing crowd.

Sunday's day three will feature the Marsden Cove Marina Around Malolo Classic race; a roughly 15 nautical mile race which circumnavigates Malolo and Malolo Lailai islands. Both multihull and monohull course records were set in 2017, and currently stand at 1 hour 15 minutes and 45 seconds for the multihulls and 1 hour 39 minutes and 30 seconds for the monohulls.

With the ever-growing fleet of international cruising yachts slated to participate and several local boats planning to attend, the Around Malolo Classic is always a highlight of the week. This year in particular, two small but very quick local racing multihulls - a SeaCart 26 trimaran and an 8.5 Meter class catamaran - should be up near the front of the fleet. Sunday night's party will include a special 'Sunday Roast' buffet dinner plus a DJ set, and fun and games at the Island Bar.

The fourth and final day of the 37th Fiji Regatta Week, Monday October 12, will start off with the finals of the Port Opua Hobie Cat Challenge. Last year, Rod and Kerry Waterhouse of Sydney - parents to Olympic sailor and professional sailor Jason Waterhouse - won a hotly contested Hobie Cat regatta over several top-flight competitors. With many of the international ringers unable to travel to Fiji due to the border closures, who will reign supreme this year? Following the conclusion of the Hobie Cat race, the Mamanuca Board Traders Downwind SUP Race will take paddlers from Namotu Island to Malolo Lailai; a distance of about five nautical miles. There will be a prize-giving, closing ceremony and special buffet dinner on Monday night at the Island Bar, again with a live DJ set.

Entry into the regatta costs FJ $50 per head for adults, FJ $30 for children 12 and under and children under five are free. The buffet dinners on the opening night and on the final night are included in the entry fee, as is entry into most events. Any inquiries regarding the regatta, mooring availability or accommodation should be sent to .

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