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Henri-Lloyd 2021 M-PRO PURE BLACK - LEADERBOARD

Waikawa kick of first of big four events

by Yachting New Zealand 28 Mar 19:12 PDT
The race to Tarakohe start line. © Waikawa Boating Club

The America's Cup has been dominating conversation recently at the Waikawa Boating Club but that has changed on the eve of the first of the club's big four events of the year.

The Race to Tarakohe started on Friday, with the fleet tackling the 85 nautical miles from Matuara Island to Tarakohe, Golden Bay. Sixteen boats have entered the overnight adventure which leaves Queen Charlotte Sound, north around the top of D’Urville Island and down into Tasman’s Golden Bay.

"The club has four big racing events during the year: the Race to Tarakohe, Women’s Regatta, Wine Race to Wellington and the New Year Regatta," club manager Lisa Delaveau said. "These events bring in sailors from all over the country and particularly the women’s regatta in September."

Included in the lineup on Friday is Wellington-based Ben Spencer, the owner and skipper of Crewless, a 30-footer designed in France and built in Tunisia and often used in single-handed races.

Size certainly isn’t everything, with Crewless having won closely fought races against much bigger boats, including a Volvo 70 in the Coastal Classic and a 50-footer in the Marlborough to Wellington Wine Race.

Spencer has been trying to get Crewless to the Tarakohe race for the past three editions but weather and Covid-19 have managed to get in his way. This year the weather and pandemic have cleared for a Cook Strait crossing to the start line.

"The mission of getting to the race, across Cook Strait, is as much an attraction to the race as the race itself," Spencer said.

While Spencer will be sailing the boat on his own from Wellington to the start in Queen Charlotte Sound, he’ll be racing with another crew member who is flying up from Christchurch for the event.

Waikawa Boating Club's big four regattas

March 26: Race to Tarakohe

September 18-19: Evolution Sails Women’s Regatta

October 15: Wineworks Race to Wellington

January 8-9, 2022: Giesens New Year Regatta

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