Welcome to Bora Bora

Dick and Irene Craig
Mon 17 May 2010 03:33
A great number of people watched the start of the Tahiti Pearl regatta
practice race on the afternoon of the 12th May, despite the pouring rain.
There was very little wind and spinnakers were collapsing, one was twisted
and it rained heavily.
I don't believe that any of the WARC boats took part in the practice race.
We didn't want to risk losing our berth so chose to watch rather than
compete. I don't know why other WARC boats hadn't taken part, perhaps for
the same reason as us, perhaps because of the rain, perhaps because there
was no wind or perhaps a combination of all of those reasons.
When we were in Tahiti, the guide who showed us around the island told us
that they had two seasons in the Society islands, the wet season and the
very wet season. We are beginning to understand what she meant although
until today, most of the rain has fallen during the night. Had we not
experienced otherwise, we would have continued to believe our geography
lessons from school, that the current season is the dry season. We now know
better. It is no small wonder that everything is so green and lush with the
jungle growing down to the beach.
Generally, I have to say that despite the cost of everything. Polynesia is
little short of paradise.
The skippers meeting for tomorrow was held at 18.30, at the restaurant where
we ate supper last night. Drinks and a get to know you supper followed the
Next morning we left our mooring and were on our way to the start line by
8am. There were three divisions, two for monohulls and one for multihulls.
Because the wind was so light, the multi-hull division set off first, at
Before we had left the lagoon, we heard a loud graunching noise and saw one
of the WARC monohulls get stuck on the reef. Even the engine didn't help.
One of the support boats speeded back towards the immobilized boat which was
subsequently rescued by another WARC boat, not participating in the regatta.
With a wind speed of force 2, we managed to sail only 13 miles and at 3pm we
retired from the race and switched on the engines. Just as well we did as
the line closed at 3.30pm and even using the engines, we had no chance of
arriving at the finish line by that time.
As we entered the lagoon at Bora Bora, we were greeted by a band playing
their instruments from a double canoe equipped with bench seats and which
was used during the regatta to collect party goers from the boats and take
them ashore. The first night the festivities were at the Hilton Motu. As
required, all attendees were dressed in white and the effect was stunning.
We dropped our anchor as a huge black cloud approached and although we could
see the sheets of rain pouring down onto the island, it just missed us.
Unfortunately the venue for the party was not as lucky and the tablecloths
were still wet as the diners sat down for their extensive buffet meal.
However, the exotic dancers soon had the place sizzling.
Next morning around 7am, a small motorized boat visited each of the boats
participating in the Tahiti Pearl regatta, bringing with them French loaves
for breakfast.
We left our anchorage again before 8am and made our way to the pass in time
for the start of the race to Taaha. Again, because there was little wind,
the multi-hull division started first and there was much darting about with
fenders as all the boats proceeded out of the pass and into the south
As we sailed along the outside of the reef, we had some good wind and
managed to sail, with the cruising shute at 6knots. Changing direction by
45º the wind was head on and the only way we could make any progress was to
sail 90º off course from between zero and 2knots. Between 11am and noon, we
actually covered less than 1.5 nautical miles and not necessarily in the
right direction.
By 2pm we retired from the race and switched on the engines. We still had
over 20 miles to cover before reaching the anchorage, at least half of the
distance being within the lagoon and it gets dark soon after 6pm.
A monohull crossed the finish line as we were approaching it at 15.54. The
guys sailing her were distraught that having sailed all the way from Bora
Bora, they were 9 minutes too late so were also included in the group which
were declared DNF (did not finish).
Dinner on Motu Ceyran was a typical Polynesian meal and the diners were
again entertained by beautiful people performing traditional dancing.
The race on Saturday was within the lagoon with a forecast of 8-9knots of
wind initially but blowing 35knots later, with 3 metre swells. We decided
not to take part. Our hearts are not into racing and being such a heavy
cruising boat we could only be marginally competitive when down-wind
sailing, using the parasailor. Instead we snorkeled in the blue water,
visited a turtle sanctuary and generally chilled out. We tried to visit the
pearl farm on the Motu where the reception was held that evening but it was
closed, probably due to the activities of preparing for the fancy dress
party and barbecue.
That evening the wind blew at 25 knots and although we were on a mooring
buoy in 32 metres of water, it was not a comfortable night. Next morning,
leaving the anchorage to make passage back to Utoroa, we were head-on into
30knot winds. The rain was sharp and cold, like sleet or hail. When it was
possible to sail, we used only the genoa and even that had 2 reefs in it.
Nonetheless, the final day of racing still took place within the lagoon,
just a couple of miles from Utoroa.
At 1pm, the shuttle from the marina to the reception and prize-giving, left
from outside Champion supermarket.
Ciao, a Sweden 45, one of the WARC boats, did amazingly well. They were
placed second in their division on the first race and were first on handicap
in the next two races. Regardless of the results of the fourth race, they
must be the overall winner. Well done guys, it was no surprise that you did
so well, you both deserved it!

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