The icing on the cake.
Princess has been a regular at the Mahurangi regatta for several years. This year was a cracker.
The Saturday regatta was only part of a full on long weekend for us which started on Friday afternoon off the Devonport Yacht Club and lining up with the classic fleet for the night race up the coast. The starting signals take a bit of finding, ignoring a perfectly good flagpole, the DYC choose to drop division and start flags over the balcony. Learning from past Devonport starts, we hit the line at pace alongside a powered up classic Tawera who cleared North head just ahead of us. Princess settled into long and short legs along the North Shore in a slowly dying breeze before edging out towards the Tiri channel into the flood tide which was gathering strength. We crept up alongside the 50ft Tawera while the fleet behind us split looking for wind. To our surprise and delight we passed Navy buoy in the lead and cleared the reef in daylight. Pia and Tawera were the next to round, by which time we had eased sheets and cracked a beer. In previous years the big gaffers have run us down reaching into the finish off Saddle Island, this time we had 30 min over the next boat home. A fine start to the weekend.
The Mahurangi regatta gets better every year. Nowhere else will you see such a variety of eccentric craft. During a lazy morning the diverse racing fleet gathers off Sullivans bay, registration and handicap negotiations take place while swimming, rowing, kayaking, you name it, races take place off the beach. Pavo, Pia, and Princess lined up among the ‘modern’ fleet, or more likely, anything less than 100 years old. A swift rounding of the committee boat, due to a minor, on board, timing error, found us in clear air and on a good lift. Our race just got better from there, Two laps of the harbour in stunning weather conditions, and we get our second gun of the weekend. To cap it all, at the prize giving BBQ in the evening, we are awarded the Double. We can thoroughly recommend the Mahurangi regatta, after all Princess’s handicap is now truly stuffed.
Sunday morning dawned calm for the CYA Mark Foy race back to Auckland. Princess was to be last away. No objection from the crew who for some reason were a little slow rousing. The whole fleet lay becalmed ahead of us in a line towards Whangaparoa. Our big blue 10 knot ‘Roydon gossamer special’ kite went up, set, and with a new breeze we slowly wound them in, all but one, ‘Prize’ who crossed the line just ahead of us at Orakei wharf, but another handicap win for us. Sometimes you get lucky.
The final act of the weekend was the Anniversary day regatta, and for ‘Princess’ it would be part of the CYA harbour series. Last year as a modern classic, we found ourselves in the same start as ‘Fidelis’, In the heavy air back then she just left us standing, this year Innismara was the big boat, admittedly it was her very first outing, and we found ourselves able to out tack her in the harbour, however once clear of North head she just took off on long tacks. To our huge surprise we came together again at Northern Leading, by which time Ranger was also alongside us having started 10 mins later. Where was the rest of the fleet? Focus on the next mark, there are boats everywhere on different courses, spectacular but confusing. We round North head for the last time on starboard jybe to see Innismara powered up on port converging and flying her massive new gennaker. We were in with a chance here. She dipped behind us and went off for her own ‘in house’ battle with Ranger. Two more marks, a melee of boats , a 180 deg wind shift, the finish in sight and Innismara is not far ahead. Another handicap win to us, Princess gets her name on the savoy cup. The icing on the cake. Charles