The Regatta Vava’u Race was a much longer race than the “Friendly Island Yacht Race” on Friday evening. The bigger race was about 12 miles long from Nieafu to Tapana Island. They had three classes of boats with three different start times: Smaller mono-hulls at 11 AM, larger mono-hulls (>35 feet) at 11:10, and finally multi-hulls at 11:20. See the map below which shows the course, and the blue line showing our approximate track (I lost the GPS track). We had two crew join us for the race: Steve from the Crow’s Nest Cafe in Neiafu (a great bakery by the way), and Andy Turbin (managing editor for Latitude 38, who joined us after the start by motor boat while we were going 8 knots because he took pictures of the start).
View Regatta Vava’u Race in a larger map
The mono-hulls mostly tried to take the shortest course. Tahina swung out a bit and picked up more wind outside the lee of the islands on the western part of the course. This was a good move (thanks to a tip from Steve), and we passed many of the boats during that leg. Many of the other boats lost a lot of wind on the shorter course. But, the reason we ended up with second place, in the multi-hull class, was that the two last legs were upwind, and Tahina (having fixed keels) does not point well upwind. We were beaten by a smaller catamaran that was designed by the same guy who designed “Sea Level” (that beat us at the end of the Moorea race). The boat that beat us was called “Division II” and is owned by a family from New Zealand (see picture to the right). They had dagger boards and were able to point remarkably well upwind and made the last leg in a single tack (heck, even some mono-hulls couldn’t make it!). Tahina sailed a much longer course, and we were still ahead of them on the final leg until we had to tack to make the finish.
After the race, Steve and Andy were treated to beers as we discussed the finer points of the race, and set our anchor in the bay. That night, the regatta hosted the Full Moon Party on Tapana island. It was quite an affair with food, lots of drink, dancing, and a special dance performance all under black lights. We were disappointed that the party included local tourists – not just the regatta participants though. Karen and I left by 11 AM, which turned out to be a good thing because the boat transportation resulted in lots of long waits later. Andy stayed the night on Tahina, and interviewed us for a story for Latitude 38.
For our race prize we got a great carved trophy with an interesting design. We’re still not sure what it means, but it sure looks pretty! And, we got a nice certificate as well. We also got several other prizes in the forms of beers, a free-tank fill, a dinner at a restaurant, and a t-shirt. And, it was a blast to do the race. We didn’t make any bad mistakes, and had a great time!