Among South Pacific cruisers, the Vava’u island group is the place to be this month. Not only is it the ideal end-of-season staging area for New Zealand-bound cruisers, but it is the site of the annual Regatta Vava’u — one of the most fun-filled cruiser events we’ve ever attended.
The brainchild of former Bay Area sailors Ben and Lisa Newton, the October 17-21 event includes two semi-serious yacht races; a ‘fancy dress’ pub crawl to virtually every watering hole in Vava’u’s waterside capital, Neifu; a day of silly beach games; an extravagant (Almost) Full Moon Party; an awards ceremony and more. Representatives from a variety of New Zealand businesses will be in attendance all week too.
After adopting the cruising dream during a shoreside Hawaii vacation — they literally looked out at cruisers in the nearby anchorage and thought, "We could do that" — Ben and Lisa learned to sail, bought a boat and dove head-first into the cruising life. When they got to Tonga, they fell in love with its unspoiled natural beauty and decided to make it their new home.
Since then, they’ve become great friends to the cruising community, and great ambassadors for the "Friendly Kingdom" of Tonga. The Vava’u Group has always been a preferred staging area of New Zealand-bound cruisers, who wait here for an ideal weather window to make the weeklong crossing to Kiwiland’s north island.
You may not be able to attend this year’s regatta, but we recommend you consider attending the next time you find yourself heading west across the South Pacific.
Planning to race to Hawaii next year, or even just thinking about it? Whether it’s the Pacific Cup or the Singlehanded TransPac, the organizers of each race are holding seminars this month to prepare potential skippers.
First up is a free introductory meeting for the Singlehanded TransPac at Oakland YC this Wednesday, October 9, starting at 6:30 p.m. Anyone interested in joining next summer’s edition of the 2,120-mile race from San Francisco Bay to Kauai (starts June 28) is invited to hear advice and sea tales from race vets, and find out more about the race itself. Call Ben or Lucie Mewes at (510) 301-0319 with questions.
Following that on October 19 is the second episode of the Pacific Cup’s Pacific Offshore Academy at Richmond YC, starting at 1 p.m. This class, organized by Sally Honey, will cover emergency gear, power consumption, rig integrity, sail selection and details on race inspections. The cost is $20 and the class is open to anyone. Register HERE.
If you’re reading this, you’re obviously a fan of ‘Lectronic Latitude, but did you know it’s an extension of something much, much bigger? Latitude 38 is the premier West Coast sailing magazine, packing more stories and photos into each issue than many sailing magazines combined, and it’s completely free! If you’ve never checked it out, you can grab a copy up and down the West Coast, including Hawaii and Mexico, at marine retailers, boatyards and marinas.
If you’re outside the area, or have a hard time finding the magazine, you can download it — and issues going as far back as May 2007 — directly from our site … for FREE! You’ll get all the same photos (which are particularly spectacular on a computer screen), stories and ads that are in the paper copy, delivered right to your desktop. And now you can choose between downloading a PDF directly to your computer or reading the issue online via publication viewing site Issuu. Check out the latest issue today.
This is the last week to catch the Impressionists on the Water exhibit at the Legion of Honor in the City. The show was planned to coincide with the America’s Cup and features more than 80 nautical-themed works by Monet, Caillebotte, Renoir, Pissaro and many more. Be sure to rent headsets for the tour to learn more about the paintings and the artists. For example, did you know Caillebotte also designed sailboats? Or that many artists worked or even lived on boats so they could capture the light and movements of water? Tickets are $20 and the show runs through Sunday. Visit www.legionofhonor.org or call (415) 750-3600 for more information.