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Tonga Regatta Builds Momentum

Most cruisers will tell you that they relish quiet moments in secluded anchorages and savor the solitude of being alone on a vast ocean. But most also love to socialize with like-minded sailors once in a while. For those heading west across the South Pacific this season, the second annual Regatta Vava’u & Festival offers a perfect opportunity to do just that.

You can see by this dreamy shot why the islands of Tonga are considered one of the most idyllic cruising grounds in the South Pacific.

© Regatta Vava’u

Organized by a group of local residents — many of whom are sailors — the six-day sailfest, slated for September 22-28, will include two yacht races, a "fancy dress pub crawl," a kid’s day, a full moon party, and something called a "cornhole tournament" — the schedule seems to include something for everyone.

The Friendly Island Yacht Race, to be run September 24, is a tradition that predates the Regatta by a decade. "The layout of our cyclone hole and the reliability of our trade winds afford a consistent, under-1½ -hour race track around the harbor that creates photo finishes time and time again," says organizer Lisa Newton.

The longer Vava’u Cup Race will follow the next day. "The best thing about this race," explains Lisa, "is that it ends in a beautiful and expansive anchorage that boasts one the world’s best natural amphitheater locations in which to throw a party." With that in mind, a Full Moon Party will follow that night.

Both local and off-island sponsors are offering prizes for races as well as non-race events, some of which are said to be "lucrative." Check the website for signup and itinerary info. About a dozen boats have signed up so far, and more are trickling in daily. We hope to bring you a full report on this fun-filled event in a fall edition of Latitude 38.

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