After two days of near perfect sailing conditions two inshore races and tow long distance races have been held.
Wind conditions on both days have been 6/8 knots on the start line building to 12/15 midday and 18/20 to top of the days. The racing has been held in lagoons or behind islands. With flat water and good sailing breezes the Hobie 16’s have been racing flat out. One for the long distance races had a 30-minute double trap reach to the beach.
There is a lay day for the sailors to relax to go diving, eating and just generally relaxing . With another long distance race scheduled after the break.
Results for inshore races after 2 races
Races for long distance races after 2 races
Another magic day of racing today with a nice 2-hour long distance leg. The first upwind in a brisk 15 knots double trapping before a nice downwind home leg with a reach to the finish
Aaron Worral arrived at the top mark just ahead of Mike Montague (USA) and Grahame Southwick Aaron spent a few moments too long dreaming about lying on the beach with Paris Hilton and lost the plot ( her beach house was the turning point ) Got to dreaming and found a long reef across his path and had to jibe off to meet Mike and Grahame coming in hard. Net result that Aaron and Grahame fought it out all the way home and crossed the finish line with nothing between them.
Tomorrow an early start for what will probably be a 4.0 hour down wind leg to our next resort The Manta Ray This is the home of herds of Manta Rays, hence the name of the resort
Day 4 of racing and the longest leg
The race was from Mana to Manta Ray Resort for what was expected to be a 3-4 hour run with a downwind start over crystal reef flats and 10 knots on our tail A great tussle between Rob Stewart ,Mike Montague, Marshal and Grahame Southwick for the first two hours as the wind dropped off eventually to ZERO .Two more hours of drifting, cursing and praying and desperation fliers, saw Mike drift of into the distance towards the midway gate ,and round a good two minutes clear of Rob and the rest 5-8 mins back. With 4 O’ Clock fast approaching as that was the official cut off time for the race. Saw everybody except Mike and Ray Cox stationary; the race was abandoned as nobody finished within the time limit and the times at the gate recorded as the finish .A clear win to Mike Montague for the day.
As to be expected 20 mins after half the fleet began the tow home they all got hit with a 20 knot SE wind. The towlines were disconnected and a smoking 20 run to the Manta Ray.
The morning opened with gusty 25/28 knots and a bit of lack of interest in getting off the beach after the long day yesterday. A quick beach decision was to declare a lay day and all go diving, fishing and spearing lobsters on the sheltered side of the island. So a great R and R day and lots of sashimi Tuna compliments of Arron and lobsters by Grahame. Forecast for tomorrow is much better and the racing will be back at full pace.
The day started with a nice 10 knots to get the fleet away for a long distance leg. A short one around the two islands and reefs. It was planned to be fast and furious culminating in a 30 min screaming reach in flat water accompanied by 15-18 knot gusts. This created an exciting run with a bit of wave jumping for those who risked cutting close to the reef breaks. Once again Mike Montague took a sweet lead and after a bit of confusion finding the turning mark, smoked everyone to finish.
With a large two minutes in front of Grahame Southwick and about 4 mins ahead of Rob Stewart. A lunch break then three races for the youngsters. A great day and weather great. One more day of course racing tomorrow to finish off the Hobie Fiji Challenge.
Day 7 and last day for the buoy races
Great day of snorkeling with a little bit of Hobie Cat racing to boot. A group of us joined the resort’s boat trip to swim with manta rays and were lucky enough to see them out in force today. Then back to the beach to rig the boats, have lunch, and get out on the water for 2 quick races in building wind. Mike Monatgue got off to a great clean start to win the first race with Ray Cox in second and Epeli in third. The second start was a mess with three of the top four boats called OCS. In the end, the only all-female team (Katie Peterson and Haylee Williams) ended up tied for second with 10 points for the series. After it was all said and done, Ray Cox and Sharon Rayner took the top spot in the buoy races and Mike Montague and Heather’s bullet in the first race today broke the tie to put them in second. Katie Peterson and Haylee Williams ended up in third place overall.
Day 6 of the Challenge
Another long day today with the run from Manta Ray Resort to Beachcomber Island Resort. Only a distance of 30 miles, but complicated by a 180 degree wind-shift mid-race.
The fleet departed Manta Ray at 9.30am with a memorable beach start and a 3 knot rip along the beach. Lots of yelling and laughter with the fleet starting in a gentle 8 knots. Pretty well directly on track to Beachcomber 30 miles away.
2 hours of juggling in the light conditions saw the fleet scattered to the 4 corners of the earth (corners? I thought that the earth was supposed to be round!) and then the wind died.
Another 2 hours of drifting and sails flopping … and the work became a downwind in 3-4 knots. Mike Montague (USA), Rob Stewart (NZ) and Muzz (Aust) found themselves on the right side of the shift, with Grahame Southwick (FIJI) and Ray Cox (AUS) on the wrong side.
Net result as the breeze filled in to a nice 10 knots with Rob crossing the line for a good win, ahead of Muzz and current Challenge front runner, Mike.
One day to go and Mike is looking good with 12 minutes in his back pocket with a 2-3 hour long run home tomorrow.
Well sad to say , another Fiji Challenge is over, and most on the way home.
Post Regatta Depression is setting in, but fortunately lots of cleaning up to do for the moment For those of you who have kept up with the daily reports, you almost know it all… except for the final day. We departed Beachcomber Island bound for Smugglers Cove finish just 14 miles away with
10 knots on the nose but 30 mins out the 10 knots became 5 knots then 2 knots !!!
The whole fleet began drifting and flapping about and split with everyone trying to choose a side to drift to and make their way to at 1 knot. Those on either perimeter gambled on the wind shift and eventually the shift and breeze built to a nice 12 knots with Grahame Southwick accidentally finding himself on the right side for a change and running in for a last leg win Second was Epeli closely followed by Mike Montague and Heather Mathews in Third.
Grahame’s win however was not enough to unseat the final winner of the Fiji Challenge, Mike Montague and Heather Mathews (USA)
Third, only 3 mins behind Grahame after some 18 hours of racing were Rob and Tineke Stewart of NZ.
Mike and Heather also took out the Fossil Shield (Skipper over age 60) and by virtue of their combined performance, the Inter Country Trophy to the USA pretty clean sweep after some splendid sailing.
Over all a great event, whales, Mantas, diving, fishing and great food and sailing … standby for more photos!!
A really interesting plan hatched for 2018..see you all in Fiji … Plan early !!!!