Four Vaka class yachts were prepared and crew strategies discussed on the Saturday morning leading into the start of racing at 1.30pm.
The weather conditions in Muri was perfect with a 10-15 knot wind allowing for competitive and challenging conditions throughout the event.
Eight Olympic course races were held over the two days and these were overseen by on-water umpire Jeff Hill, who returned to Rarotonga for the event. Breaks were held every two races to allow for boat repairs, strategy discussions and to rest and re-fuel the sailors’ bodies.
As expected, the starts were all action as each crew jostled for the best position off the start line.
There were few collisions and protest incidents which shows that silky sailing skills were practiced, even in tight, close-quarter situations such as rounding the buoys. Having a buoy rounding right near the sailing club made for great viewing from the club’s deck.
The gathered spectators could appreciate the skill of the sailors and the speed at which the vaka were travelling from this vantage point.
The top-four placings were keenly fought and not confirmed until the final race. Overall stand out and winner of the 2018 National Vaka champion, with a perfect score (six points) was the expert crew of Staffan Johannsson (skipper) and Teakoua Framheim. Despite being behind during a number of races they were able to take the lead from the other crew and hang on to win.
Second place went to Craig Bennett (skipper) and John Batty, third place was Barry Warner (skipper) and David Holt, and fourth place went to Francis Kirkham (skipper) and Barbara MacLennan.
It was a great event with thanks due to the officials, major sponsor Air New Zealand and Tangaroa vaka designer, Thomas Koteka.
Meanwhile the Rarotonga Sailing Club is holding its opening day for the sailing season tomorrow.
Festivities will start from midday at Sails in Muri. The club is planning to get all boats out on the water and will have a BBQ fired up.
This is a free event and a great opportunity for current members to sign up for the year as well as prospective sailors to check out the club, its learn to sail programme and experience sailing on the beautiful Muri lagoon. Everybody is welcome.