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Auckland – Tauranga Centennial Yacht Race/Rally

The Farmer Autovillage Auckland to Tauranga Centennial Yacht Race/Rally was held recently on the weekend of the 26 th , 27 th & 28 th of March. A brisk headwind NE breeze of 19-25kts and a lumpy seaway faced the competitors as they crossed the Hauraki Gulf which proved very challenging for all.

Once around Channel Island and heading for Tauranga, they all enjoyed very fast and very pleasant sailing with reaching conditions and an easing breeze 18 – 15kts allowing for very quick times by all. No wonder they all looked very proud of themselves, especially the winner Dougal Love in his 60’ ocean-going trimaran “Romanza” which managed to hold off the fast charging Volvo yacht, Bianca Cook’s, “NZ Ocean Racing 65”, at the finish for a winning time of 10hrs, 42mins, 46sec. This very fast time was unfortunately for Dougal, still 1 hour 7 mins outside the race record of 9hrs, 35mins, 01sec set by the Maxi Keeler, “Zana”, in 2005.

The prizegiving packed out the TYPBC Clubrooms as happy yachties received their trophies and generously sponsored winning and spot prizes.

Mike Farmer, Managing Director of Naming Rights Sponsor, Farmer Autovillage, congratulated all the crews for their strong performances and fast times and added that it was a pleasure to be involved in local community events such as this historically significant yacht race that was first held in 1921.

Ian Cook from Yachting Developments is the current owner of the iconic race yacht Ranger – which was built-in 1938, took line honours in the 1939 race, placing 3 rd on handicap – and was largely unbeaten in Auckland for 30 years, spoke about how the restoration of the yacht was carried out. Ranger came a very creditable 6 th on line and 4 th on PHRF against all the modern yachts in this year’s race.

Ian also spoke on behalf of his daughter Bianca Cook, owner and campaigner of the ex-Volvo Ocean Race yacht, “New Zealand Ocean Racing 65”, which not only was a close second in the race but took three separate groups of young people out for a sail around the harbour on the Sunday following the race. Bianca is particularly keen to promote ocean racing as a career option for young people and there were many happy youngsters who thoroughly enjoyed the experience offered. Bianca plans to enter the yacht in the next round-the-world Volvo race now called “The Ocean Race”. The third yacht to finish was “V5”, a TP52 campaigned by ex-Tauranga legendary yachtie Brian “BP” Peterson.

BP couldn’t match the flying Romanza or NZ Ocean Racing 65 but was well ahead of the chasing pack of local and visiting yachts. BP says he is addicted to racing and plans to enter V5 in Hamilton Island Race Week and the Sydney to Hobart Race this year, Covid-19 allowing.

First Tauranga based yacht to finish was Frenzy, who finished a very credible 5 th on line and 7 th on PHRF overall with a very fast elapsed time of 17hrs, 03mins, 48sec. This excellent result made Frenzy the 1 st Tauranga yacht on line, 1 st Tauranga yacht on PHRF and 1 st on TYPBC outside handicap which earned her the prestigious Gold Cup – originally awarded to the first yacht on handicap overall in this race but is now awarded to the first Tauranga yacht.

In an attempt to attract classic yachts and launches to participate, an invitation was sent out to the Classic Yacht Association (CYA), in an endeavour to attract these historic vessels to take part in a ‘Rally’ as opposed to a race, staying overnight at Mercury Cove for the night and restarting the Rally the next day. Only Ngaio, a classic 100-year-old launch accepted the invitation and made it to Mercury Cove where the condition of a crew member encouraged them to return to Auckland. Ngaio was accompanied by Seas the Day and Enculadus, 2 locally owned 40’ Cruising yachts who had a great cruise and recommend using the format again in future races.


by Roger Rushton

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