New Zealand Olympic sailor Dan Slater yesterday skippered the 60-foot O Canada to line honours in the ANZ Auckland-Port Denarau yacht race. Then he said he needed a cold beer.
This came after unexpectedly light winds in the later stages kept the fleet at sea longer than predicted, with some starting to run short of food and water.
O Canada crossed the finishing line at Navula Passage at 9.41am to take the President’s Cup. It had left Auckland on Saturday afternoon.
Slater said it had been a race of contrasts with everything from stormy winds early on to being near becalmed as they got closer to Fiji.
Slater said a huge effort had been made by the crew of O Canada.
Slater said after being pushed along in 30 knot winds they experienced no wind for 18 hours.
“On the third day we literally sat flat,” he said.
“There are tricky conditions as the yachts get closer and closer to the Fiji Islands,” he said.
What was he looking forward to? “Right now I am looking forward to my hotel room and a real bed.
“And cold beer to soak it up.”
Regular offshore racer Wired was last night predicted to be the second yacht home. She was, at last night’s report, due near 7am.
The Royal Suva Yacht Club entry Bare Essentials was being predicted to finish just before 7 tonight in fourth place in the line honours race.
But this could all change, if the wind changes. Bare Essentials was also showing up well in the handicap division results which are an important part of the event.
Seventeen yachts are taking part.
The race is organised by Auckland’s famous Royal Akarana Yacht Club. It is working with the new Port Denarau Yacht Club. This has its temporary headquarters and bar above Cardo’s Restaurant on the Port Denarau Marina waterfront.
A report from Royal Akarana Yacht Club organisers last night said:
“I imagine that by now, some of the boats may be down to eating their extra ‘instant noodles’ for dinner, as I know at least two of the boats only had enough ‘pre-prepared’ meals for 6 nights.
“Someone had made the comment ‘ I bet a few of the boys might be foraging in the bilges for old candy bars’.
“While I’m sure that none of the boats will have to resort to this I am sure that when they eventually arrive, Cardo’s Steakhouse aka the Denarau Yacht Club will do a roaring trade in T Bone steaks!
SUN FIJI SPORTSDESK