Yesterday afternoon Tahina raced in the “Classic Friday Night Race” right here in Neiafu harbor in the Kingdom of Tonga (NOTE: we’re now across the International Dateline so it’s Saturday morning here). It was a special race this time with the Regatta Vava’u being held this week and 25-30 boats in the race. And, prizes were coming from the Whangerei, New Zealand business community. Tahina took first place in the multi-hull class, and fifth place overall! Special thanks to Ed of s/v “A Capella” and Steven of s/v “Scream” who joined us to help crew Tahina!
This was a tricky race for Tahina because it was a short course, and the winds favored mono-hulls because the long parts were tight reaches and the finish was upwind (winds were mostly from the southeast). This wasn’t a serious race, so no protests were allowed and everyone was supposed to keep from being too serious. Our start wasn’t perfect (we didn’t have Jason to give us tactics), but we were only about 6 boat-lengths from the start line at the horn. We managed to pass several boats after the start, and around the first mark. But, there were four mono-hulls who were fast in the light winds (8-12 knots average), and we just didn’t have enough maneuvering room to give our multi-hull an advantage. None of the 5-6 other multi-hulls were close to us though. s/v Jenny took first place overall – a beautiful older J-boat about 25 meters in length.
Here is a short slideshow with a few photos from the race taken by Karen:
At the last moment, just before the finish, our friends on One Flew Blue (who we met in Rarotonga), who also had our Brazilian friends Jeff and Ana on board, tried to pull a “starboard tack” maneuver on the final tack as we were on a port tack 100 meters from the finish line (which was right amidst the mooring field with a lot of boats parked). But, I saw them coming and managed to slow just enough to turn right behind them with a moored mono-hull only a few meters to our starboard and 3 meters behind those turkeys (yikes!). We raced across the finish line 2 boat lengths ahead of them in fifth place overall, and first in multi-hull class. Not bad!
Here is the GPS track of our race colorized according to speed our top speed (in magenta) was 8.7 knots (view in Google Earth for a closer look):
View Tahina Tonga Race in a larger map