Please select your home edition
Craftinsure 2012
Product Feature
B&G Zeus³
B&G Zeus³

2019 Fiji Regatta Week - Preview

by Ronnie Simpson 12 Sep 2019 18:24 BST 13 September 2019
Fiji Regatta Week at Musket Cove Island Resort © Kurt Roll

The 36th annual Fiji Regatta Week - Fiji's largest annual regatta - kicks off this weekend at Musket Cove Island Resort, located in the beautiful Mamanuca Islands of western Fiji.

One of the premier racing and cruising regattas in the South Pacific, nearly 70 yachts representing over 20 countries on six different continents have thus far registered, with more yachts pouring in around the clock ahead of Saturday's first sailing event. Comprising six days of parties, yacht racing, seminars, a marine swap meet and more, the Fiji Regatta Week is a unique and fun-filled affair that has become a mainstay on the calendar of many world cruisers and keen sailors in the region.

Typically, the Port Opua Hobie Cat Challenge is one the most popular sailing events of the regatta. Close to two dozen teams, consisting of two sailors each, will face off in a single-elimination match racing format held right over the reef, at high tide, at Musket Cove.

Taking place on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, the event attracts cruising sailors, locals and hardcore racers alike, and takes place in a perfect stadium-racing setting held adjacent to the world-famous Island Bar at Musket Cove. Last year's event saw big breeze and some notable capsizes, while this year's event could see lighter winds during the first two days of Hobie Cat racing before stronger southeast trades are forecast to fill in for Tuesday's final.

Also taking place on Tuesday is the Bay of Islands Boatyard Sandbank Race which kicks off the racing for the big boats, the majority of which have sailed in from overseas. Typically sailing upwind towards a mark set near Namotu Island before rumbling back down hill and finishing up with a party at Musket Cove's famous sand bank, the event is always a favorite among the fleet.

The crown jewel of the Fiji Regatta Week however is the 'Round Malolo Classic, sponsored by Marsden Cove Marina and Fiji Water. Consisting of a race around Malolo and Malolo Lailai islands, the race records are seemingly always under threat as the boats entered continue to get faster with nearly each passing year. Both multihull and monohull course records were set in 2017, and currently stand at one hour 15 minutes and 45 seconds for the multihulls and one hour 39 minutes and 30 seconds for the monohulls.

In addition to both monohull and multihull divisions, 2019 will see the inauguration of a new class in the 'Round Malolo Classic; kiteboards. As foiling and kiting have continued to gain traction both regionally and internationally, there has been increased interest in a foiling kiteboard division. Weather conditions will certainly dictate how many kites show up on race day, but this will certainly be one to watch.

Notable entries include the German-flagged Finot-Conq designed all-carbon FC3 53 Nika; a proper water-ballasted, twin-rudder, swing-keel monohull ocean racer with a big square-top mainsail that is capable of more than 25 knots of boat speed when sailed downwind in a breeze, yet capable of being cruised by just two sailors. To be first around the race course, she'll have to overcome a formidable challenge in the form of the ultra-quick Kiwi-flagged 21-meter racing-sled-turned-cruiser NV, who has only just recently arrived into Musket Cove and represents a true dark horse.

On the multihull side of things, the Australian-flagged Schionning catamaran Roam will also have her work cut out for her against a big, fast Gunboat and a super quick locally owned, custom built ultra high-performance cruising catamaran. As this article goes to press, details on some of the fleet's heavy hitters are quite noticeably sparse, though we intend to do some digging and learn a lot more about the yachts that will occupy the pointy end of the fleet before race day on Tuesday and Wednesday's main events.

After a week of predominantly light winds that created world-class surfing conditions at nearby surfing breaks such as Cloudbreak and Restaurants - not to mention fantastic diving conditions - the venerable southeast trades have again returned to western Fiji and are pumping in at close to 20 knots.

A complex, split-high scenario south of Fiji with a small low-pressure system forecast to form in between the highs will interrupt the normal trades and likely create lighter, more variable conditions for the first two days of the Port Opua Hobie Cat Challenge on Sunday and Monday. By Tuesday's Hobie Cat final and Bay of Islands Sandbank Race, the trades should again fill in and stick around until at least Wednesday's Marsden Cove Marina 'Round Malolo Classic.

Related Articles

Entries are now open for the PIC Coastal Classic
The 38th PIC Coastal Classic Yacht Race from Auckland to Russell in the Bay of Islands With 150 days to go, the New Zealand Multihull Yacht Club (NZMYC) are now taking entries for the 38th PIC Coastal Classic Yacht Race from Auckland to Russell in the Bay of Islands. Organizers are now accepting entries online. Posted on 25 May
smarttune Delivering Results
Make your sails set the way your sail designer intended This is your season, your boat has the latest technology, new sails, and you have selected your crew. It's time to set the boat up and train to win. Posted on 22 May
Essentials to keeping your mast & rigging in shape
Points of interest from professional riggers Allspars When a mast breaks, not only are the entire rig and the sails damaged, but also the hull. It is not uncommon for people to be hurt too. Keeping your rig in good condition is therefore essential. Posted on 22 May
COVID-19 forces cancellation of ORC/IRC Worlds
The impact of the coronavirus has been felt throughout the sporting world Despite a strong entry list from the United States and abroad, and the exhaustive efforts of the New York Yacht Club along with the governing bodies for the ORC and IRC rating rules, the decision has been made to cancel the 2020 ORC/IRC World Championship Posted on 22 May
X2. Times three...
This is the third instalment of information about the exciting new X2 by Farr This is the third instalment of information about the exciting new X2 by Farr. Since its inception we have been excited about the project, if for no other reason than it stood up to be counted as a true racing boat. Posted on 17 May
Walk the Rolex Fastnet Race with Ian 'Soapy' Moore
RORC Time Over Distance Volume 7 Ian 'Soapy' Moore hails from Northern Ireland but has lived in Cowes, Isle of Wight for many years. As a navigator, Ian has a highly impressive record with big event wins literally running off the page. Posted on 16 May
Rare colour film of 1967 Admiral's Cup
Discovered in Whitstable YC archives Rare documentary footage of the 1967 Admiral's Cup has been discovered in the archives at Whitstable Yacht Club. It is in colour too! Posted on 15 May
October start for Noakes Sydney Gold Coast Race
A major lead-up event to the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race The 2020 Noakes Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race, a major lead-up event prior to the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, has been rescheduled to start in October. Posted on 12 May
Cyclops Marine launch with smarttune
The first in their Smart Range of load sensors for sailors Cyclops Marine Limited develops load sensors that bring America's Cup technology to ordinary sailors. Get the edge with repeatable settings which help find and maintain superior speeds. Posted on 7 May
The last bus stop
Graeme Ainley - a truly great man - passed away yesterday. Graeme Ainley - a truly great man - passed away yesterday. Posted on 7 May