This Melbourne Life will be coming to you from Fiji over the next few weeks. I’m over here to participate in the Fiji Sailing Regatta with good friends Robyn and Roger on their boat Phantom Mist and to spend time sailing around the beautiful Fijian islands.
This was the 32nd year of the Regatta, a five day feast of sailing, sun and other fun activities at Musket Cove on Malolo Island off the west coast of Fiji. Most of the yachts were from Fiji and New Zealand, with Australia also well represented. Others came from countries further afield including South Africa, Germany, Canada, Brazil, Belgium, the Netherlands, Russia, USA and the UK.
The regatta kicked off last Saturday with a ‘no rules’ race to Beachcomber Island. Around thirty boats ranging from a 120ft luxury yacht to a windsurfer raced to the island where we had lunch and were entertained by traditional Fijian dancers.
I took the opportunity whilst at Musket Cove to visit my blogging buddy Lisa Dorenfest as her boat was moored only a short ferry ride away at Port Denarau. Lisa and I had not met face-to-face before, but bonded immediately and had a fantastic time roaming around Nadi Town taking photos and chatting. I recommend you take the time to read all about Lisa and her amazing sailing adventures and to look at her beautiful photos via the link above.
While I was enjoying my day with Lisa in Nadi Town, Roger and the remaining crew sailed in the first serious race of the regatta. I was delighted to arrive back to the news that they’d won. Many of the race participants come to the regatta every year so our win was big news around the marina – an unknown and relatively small Australian keel boat had taken the lead at the start line and kept it for the entire race. We’d suddenly become a serious contender for the ‘big one’ – the Malolo Sailing Classic on the final day of the regatta.
We started well in the final race, again taking the lead and maintaining it for quite a distance. It’s a wonderful feeling to be flying along and to look back and see all the other boats behind with their beautiful spinnakers billowing. Unfortunately we lost wind and many of our competitors were able to take advantage of local knowledge and our bad luck to change course and overtake us. We eventually picked up speed and managed to make up some of our lost time to finish a very respectable third. It was a fantastic day and we all swore to return next year to have another go at the trophy.
We left Musket Cove on Thursday for the next stage of our adventure – two weeks sailing around the Fijian islands starting with two nights at Vuda Marina on the main island to stock up on food and supplies as we’ll be spending the next three nights on anchor. As I write this post we’re sailing out of the marina and heading north towards Valua Bay. Stay tuned for more stories from Fiji.