Roughly 200 sailors from a dozen countries are feeling a bit more connected to their Polynesian hosts this morning, after participating in the Tahiti-Moorea Sailing Rendez-vous. Now in its 11th year, the three-day event serves as a forum for visiting cruisers to celebrate their successful passages to the islands — 3,000 miles nonstop from Mexico or 4,000 miles from Panama — while being introduced to highly revered elements of Polynesian music, dance, sport and cuisine.
With 66 boats attending, this was the largest Rendez-vous fleet ever, and the event had the largest contingent yet of sponsoring partners who flew in from New Zealand, Fiji and Australia to share info on the services and attractions of their cruising destinations.
As in years past, the fun began with a detailed chart briefing on cruising Tahiti and her islands by our longtime partner Stephanie Betz — who organizes the entire event. A hearty welcome by Minister of Tourism Jean-Christophe Bouissou was followed by a blessing of the fleet, a high-energy dance performance by a troupe of heavily tattooed Marquesans, and a cocktail party where old friends and new acquaintances swapped cruising tales.
Sadly, winds were too light and fluky Saturday morning to run the usual race to Moorea, but the vagaries of wind and weather are well known to these sailors. Afternoon and evening activities included a cocktail schmooze and a brilliant music and dance show that included traditional fire dancers.
As always, the highlight of Sunday’s activities was the six-person outrigger canoe racing on the lagoon for kids and adults alike. Other traditional sports contests included the fruit-carrier’s race, tug-of-war, stone lifting and coconut husking.
A traditional ‘ma’a’ luncheon introduced the sailors to a wide assortment of island favorites such as sashimi, poisson cru (Polynesian ceviche), poi, taro, roast pork, and island-grown pineapple.
Needless to say, it was all big fun, while giving attending cruisers a greater appreciation and understanding of their island hosts. Read more about the Rendez-vous in the August edition of Latitude 38 magazine. And look for our Pacific Puddle Jump recap article in September, complete with crossing data and cruiser comments.