The inaugural Race to Tarakohe was held at the end of March 2017 in an attempt to liven up the Clubs yacht racing programme. And boy, did it ever. With 21 yachts entered and 18 making the start line this 85 mile race had a bit for everyone. In two and three handed divisions all crossed the Motuara Island start line in relatively close order with the fleet quickly dispersing with some taking the outside approach to Cape Jackson and those in the know sneaking through and gaining a good lead on the field in the stretch up to the top of Stevens Island. With a constant NW ranging from 20-35 knots across the course, those yachts taking a more coastal route gaining ground on the yachts further out in the strait. The Chris Williams skippered Flying Fox rounded the top of Stevens first with the next group of 10 or so to pass this crucial mark in quick succession. With darkness falling and the tide changing three yachts couldn’t sail against the tide in softening wind and retired from the race and took up safe anchorage in D’Urville Island (and no doubt a spot of fishing as well). With darkness the wind died completely and only those with lightweight sails made much ground. Several yachts reported sailing through the odd 360 during the night. The night was not without drama with Excel unable to maintain radio contact due to flat batteries and an engine refusing to start. Midnight Express also had engine problems once across the line at Tarakohe harbour. Prime Suspect II earned their Spec Savers award with a navigational error seeing them report their position 2 hours closer to the finish than their actual position!
Flying Fox held onto their early lead and gained Line Honours with a time of 20 hours and 7 minutes, Midnight Express followed 17 minutes later, both in the 3 handed division. Eventual overall winner went to Olmari skippered by “Capt” Kerry Kirk and winner of the 2 handed division.
The 2020 race scheduled for Friday 27 March has now been postponed, hopefully will be back on track for later in September and will feature the 2 handed division as well as a fully crewed division.