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Rendezvous Reunion in Paradise

If there was a prize for fortitude it would have gone to the San Diego-based Morgan O/I 33 Orca Suite. After the autopilot crapped out, Bill and Belinda Tackett had to hand steer for 40 days. Along the way they started hearing imaginary voices due to sheer exhaustion.

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©2013 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Dozens of sailors from all over the world converged on Papeete, Tahiti, late last week to take part in the eighth annual Tahiti-Moorea Sailing Rendezvous (June 28-30). All had recently made the 3,000-mile passage from the West Coast of the Americas to the fabled landfalls of the Marquesas and Tuamotus — the voyage we call the Pacific Puddle Jump. 

The big French cat Spirit of Pontapreta was looking good coming into the finish off Cook’s Bay.

latitude/Andy
©2013 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Organized by our longtime Tahitian partner Archapelagos, with additional support from Air Tahiti Nui, Tahiti Tourism and other organizations, this annual gathering serves as a forum for fleet members to celebrate their successful crossings while swapping tales with fellow cruisers. It’s secondary goal is to showcase highly revered Tahitian cultural traditions in music, dance, sport and cuisine.

Happy cruisers? Yeah, well it’s tough to be in a bad mood when you visit an anchorage as idyllic as Cook’s Bay.

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© Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Among Friday’s activities were a chart briefing about local cruising highlights, a cocktail party, the blessing of the fleet by a Tahitian chieftain, and a dance show. 

Saturday, the fleet made the 15-mile crossing to Moorea’s majestic Cook’s Bay in robust conditions that had every boat hitting its hull speed, with the spray flying. That evening, fleet members came ashore at the Club Bali Hai where Miss Moorea welcomed them with flower leis. The evening’s big treat was watching the International Uke Festival, which was hosted by the hotel — an uplifting experience for all.

The canoe races were awesome, as always.

latitude/Andy
©2013 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

The Rendezvous’ Sunday schedule is always filled with a variety of beach games and cultural demos, the highlight of which is always the six-person outrigger canoes races. Via a series of round robin eliminations, this year’s champs were a studly group of young men from the catamaran Skimpy, whose unique team name was ‘We’re Not Wearing Any Underwear’.

That’s the basics, but as you can see, the pictures tell the story. If you plan to sail to the South Pacific next year, we highly recommend you put the Rendezvous on your must-do list. It happens every year on the last weekend of June or first weekend of July.

Traditional dancing is still highly revered throughout French Polynesia. Performances are a feast for the eyes.

latitude/Andy
© Latitude 38 Media, LLC
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