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Mana Island race record smashed

by Lisa Delaveau 2 Dec 2021 11:46 PST
Phantasea leaving Queen Charlotte Sound © Jason Munro

Waikawa Boating Club’s race to Mana Island, like all of the races in the Versatile Offshore Series is not to be taken lightly. The second race in the four-race series leaves the top of Queen Charlotte Sound, across to Mana Island, rounding to starboard and back to Tory Channel. Crossing Cook Strait can throw up any number of challenges and the boats and crews are well prepared for them.

Saturday’s race left the start line at the southern tip of Motuara Island at 9.30am with 20knts of N.W. wind. Forecasts and reports from the ferries suggested that Brothers Island was seeing 35knts – gusting 40knts.

Chris Willams on Flying Fox said, “We shot past the Brothers, in short, confused seas, caused by the wind over tide and gusting into the low 30’s; it was time to don the wet weather gear!”

Ten boats in the fleet, including High Voltage out of Christchurch, was an excellent continuation of what has already been a very popular series.

Jason Munro aboard Phantasea finished mid-field and gave some insight to the conditions and racing. “Heading to Mana we had warm winds with a steady breeze of 25-30 + knots which gave us good boat speed. But from Mana the wind dropped to 20-25 before the Southerly kicked in just before Tory Channel which slowed everyone down and required quite a few tacks to get over the finish line.”

Second place skipper Chris Williams said that the winds were perfect. “Everyone was finished by 5.30pm so it made for a quick and exciting race”.

Race record holder, Satellite Spy, crunched 58 minutes and 30 seconds off their 2015 time to finish the round trip to Mana Island and back in 5 hours 7 minutes. The record on handicap, set back in 2009 by Spirit Wind, stayed in tack with 4:33:37.

Satellite Spy also took the handicap first placing, followed in by Flying Fox and High Voltage, making the trip north from Christchurch a worthwhile voyage.

The next race in the Versatile Offshore Series is Sentinel Rock; 22 January 2022. This is considered by many to be the classic offshore race in the series with the opportunity to use a full sail wardrobe and everything learned from years of sailing experience. To reflect the significance of the race, there will be a significant prize purse on the table for the winners.

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