Please select your home edition
Allen Brothers

2019 Fiji Regatta Week - Preview

by Ronnie Simpson 12 Sep 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

Scarborough YC Autumn Series race 2
A Grand Day Out wins a well-attended race Despite continuous rain and grey clouds there was a good turnout for this Sunday's race, with crews well wrapped up and moving carefully on yacht surfaces in slippery conditions. Posted on 15 Oct
HYS Hamble Winter Series week 2
28 teams ventured out... 16 sailed the course The forecast for Sunday the 13th October did not look great on Saturday night, but PRO Kathy Smalley, decided to go out and have a look on Sunday morning. Posted on 15 Oct
Lymington Town Sailing Club Solent Circuit day 1
Almost forty entries, ranging in size from Folkboats to 45ft cruisers Sunday 13th October saw the first race of the 2019 Lymington Town Sailing Club Solent Circuit, sponsored by Pennyfarthing Homes. With almost forty entries, ranging in size from Folkboats to 45ft cruisers, the organisers were all set for a busy first race. Posted on 15 Oct
Sunsail sets sail with Festival of Sails 2020
Win a $5000 Bareboat Charter in Thailand Royal Geelong Yacht Club has today announced its 2020 Festival of Sails early bird prize of a bareboat yacht charter in Phuket, Thailand on a beautiful Sunsail charter yacht worth $5000. Posted on 14 Oct
2019 China Coast Regatta overall
Two final races to the southeast of Lamma Island Luckily with the arrival of northeasterly monsoon, an average of 6 to 7kts of breeze greeted the sailors today as they reached the race track which was located at the southeast of Lamma Island. Posted on 13 Oct
Newcastle Bass Island Race overall
TP52 Ichi Ban have taken the overall win After 215 nautical miles of ever changing conditions along the New South Wales coastline, Matt Allen and his team on the TP52 Ichi Ban have taken the overall win in the Audi Centre Sydney Blue Water Pointscore Series Newcastle Bass Island Race. Posted on 13 Oct
Newcastle Bass Island Race overall
David Griffith and his Chinese Whisper team take line honours Chinese Whisper, the Judel-Vrolijk 62, did not have it easy, as TP52 Ichi Ban were on their stern from Bass Island to the finish line. The two yachts were in a drag race to the finish, matching each other's speed in the pulsing wind conditions. Posted on 12 Oct
Olympia Tigress all set for Rolex Middle Sea Race
Susan Glenny to take part in the 40th edition with a diverse, mixed gender, international crew Olympia's Tigress is a regular competitor at many of the Northern Hemisphere 600 offshore races claiming a third in class in the 2018 Caribbean 600 and was recently the overall winner of the Ed Wheelan Celebration Trophy at this years Cowes Week. Posted on 11 Oct
A slow but satisfactory start
RHKYC's premier inshore regatta starts with close competition Light and shifty winds made the first day of the China Coast Regatta challenging both for the Race Committee and competitors. Officer Inge Strompf-Jepsen managed to find a patch of westerly breeze averaging 6kts southeast of Hong Kong's Lamma Island Posted on 11 Oct
A wing and a prayer and just enough breeze.
Typhoon Hagidis bends the weather The weather forecast was enough to make you stay at home, but hope springs eternal in the veins of every sailor. Did you ever hear tell of a boat this didn't go to the start line because the forecast was a bit soft and funky? You never know… Posted on 11 Oct