Wow, That Was Some Finish!

How exciting!
A huge congratulations to Malcolm Dickson and the beautiful Sarau taking Line Honours and First Place in the Adventure-Monohull division at 1453 Yesterday in a race time of 10 days, 1 hour, 53 minutes, 50 seconds. This sets the first race record for a new destination of Southport.
Malcolm led the race from New Plymouth all the way across the ditch, giving nothing less than 80nm to his nearest competitor.

The race for second, third and fourth place has kept me glued to the tracker and up through the night. At 2pm yesterday there was only 3minutes between the ETA of Mister Lucky and Allegresse at the finish line. The update at Wednesday night's schedule report claimed 1nm between them. As the sun set speeds dropped and the drag race to the finish between these two continued to the finish. Hullabaloo was heading to the finish on a beam reach at 8kts ahead of them.

Congratulations Jim O'Keeffe and Hullabaloo, sailing over the finish line at 0319 (NZST) and claiming second place in the 2023 Ray White Solo Trans-Tasman Yacht Challenge. A fantastic race from start to finish by a legend of a sailor from the Port of Yamba Yacht Club. It's been great having the club following the race with snippets of commentary.

Crossing the line in third place, Mark Hipgrave onboard Mister Lucky claimed Winner of the IRC division in a corrected time of 10 days, 23 hours, 25 minutes and 18 seconds. Congratulations Mark and Mister Lucky. I have thoroughly enjoyed your tantilising Tasman crossing with all the tacks and weather experiences you have shared through your reports.

So close behind Mike Carter and Allegresse crossed the line at 0357 finishing their debut Solo Trans-Tasman Yacht Challenge. Mike's southern strategy gave us a great spectator race to get engrossed in. It has been a pleasure to cross the ditch with Mike through his email updates of 'how it's going'.
Still racing, Crocus is punching through 24kts of wind passing by Lord Howe and its reefs and is set to pick up some building winds for her final wild ride into Southport. Frontier is hugging the rhumbline and looking forward to arriving in Southport later today in time for a weekend of celebrating with brother Malcolm.
This 14th race has delivered so many stories…
• 45 years on from the 1978 race between Malcolm Dickson & Jim O'Keeffe, they came back to compete against each other for a second time.
• Six entrants had previously sailed the race, returning for a second and third time
• Brothers Malcolm & Alister Dickson racing against each other at 76 & 74 years.
• Four Septuagenarians sailing solo across the Tasman
• Two personally designed and built boats
• Two yachts built by their skippers
This race is in NZ sailing history for a reason.

The Finishing Line Approaches

The Solo Trans-Tasman Yacht Race history continues as the 14th race nears a winner.

The race started in 1970 and is the second-oldest continuously-run single-handed ocean race in the world. It is the only race of its kind in the southern hemisphere.

Line Honours will be awarded the Sir Francis Chichester Trophy, which arrived in NZ April 1970, gifted by Lady Chichester and has been awarded to the first skipper over the line each race. It is awarded together with the presentation of The Taranaki Newspapers Ltd Trophy, made in 1970 by New Plymouth cabinetmaker, Mr Wally Briggs.

Follow the closing miles of the Ray White New Plymouth Solo Trans-Tasman Yacht Challenge on the

YB race tracker or through the race website

Two Great Sailing Days, Smokin’

Monday evening’s remarks of “Great Sailing, 15kts beam reach” and “Smokin” back up the last two days' race statistics. Spirits are high, distances made good smashed 160nm and speeds crept over 9kts. Tuesday, saw the biggest day of the race for our six skippers, currently speeding towards Southport. The music playlist today; Val Doonican, Bob Marley, and Modern Housework songs?! Great to hear our skipper’s sense of humour and sailing pleasure loud and clear. Out the front and back, Sarau and Crocus were frustrated in light winds Monday until finally at 1500 Crocus started to sail in a southerly wind of 13Kts. Sarau sits in Line Honours position with a DTF of 150nm.
Mid-fleet there has been some leap-frogging and Hullabaloo, Mister Lucky, and Allegresse are converging closer. Mister Lucky and Hullabaloo were close together again Monday (12nm) – visible to each other on AIS and possibly close enough for a radio call. Their progress Tuesday means they might now contest a very close finish with just hours between each other after 10 days of Tasman sailing. Mister Lucky made the greatest distance over the last 24 hours. In his morning schedule, Mark commented “Amazing how dark it still is at 0630 now that we are so far west!”
In the early hours of the Tuesday morning Frontier sailed by Lord Howe Island and is running parallel to the rhumbline at present after a “very boisterous day”.
Crocus and Craig have been enjoying a “wild ride!”, maintaining 8kts in a 20kt SE. He’s expecting to “come up on the rhumbline soon”
Sunday was reported as a ‘shorts and pina colada day’ whilst on Monday with the southerly change out came the ‘Merino and Goretex’.
In Southport, members of the race committee, sponsors Ray White New Plymouth, family, and friends are gathering ready to welcome each skipper over the finish line and into the Superyacht berth at Southport Marina.

The Race Over the Weekend….

Great Speeds as First Yacht reaches Half-Way

Day 5

Friday saw a building breeze from 17-25 Kts, coming from the right direction to enable our skippers to make progress toward Southport. After five days the first boat crossed the halfway milestone. Sailing speeds improved, averaging between 7 & 9Kts, and at lunchtime, Sarau was clicked doing a top speed of 9.2kts. The closeness of the race between the 2nd & 5th positions Friday night was just 36nm.
The skippers reported in:
“Today has been fabulous sailing with the assy (asymmetrical spinnaker) up for 6 hours straight, averaging over 8 knots”
“Lowered main, just yankee, expecting heavy stuff tonight”
“The tack line parted at the end of the prod due to a sharp edge on the Selden fitting, no drama though, the sock brought it all under control and stowed away”
“Now three sail reaching”
“very boisterous sailing, hard cooking tea and eating it”
Alan and Melting Pot arrived back in Mangonui and are safely moored up and resting after a very tiring passage on the helm.

Rocking the Waves

Day 6

Ever wondered what a solo sailor tunes into mid-Tasman? Alister Dickson is rocking the waves to Jimmy Barnes. As conditions calmed Saturday Frontier was filled with Andrè Rieu and then ‘more appropriately some Country music’. She was sailing close reach in 15kts and should reach the halfway mile during Saturday night. Sarau, Hullabaloo, and Mister Lucky are over the hump, now closer to Australia than New Zealand.
Watching the race duration change each day as wind and sea conditions impact the yachts has seen early race durations of 8-9 days extend out to 13-17 days and now drop back down to 12-13 days for the mid-fleet boats. The lead boat skippers are now in for some hard work through Saturday night to keep moving in light winds.

No Wind

Day 7

“No Wind”, “Turning Circles all night”, “Lowered sails at 0000 - they were banging so much”
0700, a new day, Wind! and all boats are moving again. Saturday’s distance made good ranged between 144 and 113 NM. Crocus and Hullabaloo had big days in a good breeze. As the light wind met the boats Sunday’s DMG dropped significantly. Allegresse maintained the best wind, making 98 NM, while those boats furthest North were limited to less than 50 NM. The wind pattern for the next 48 hours looks to split through the fleet again. Sarau is still out front reducing the miles to the finish down to 400nm. Mid-fleet Hullabaloo, Mister Lucky, and Allegresse stand within 8nm of each other to the finish. Loving watching this race and anticipating the next tracker update.

Four Septuagenarians Mid-Tasman

Featuring in this 14th Solo Trans-Tasman Yacht race are four septuagenarians, six previous finishers and two brothers. Malcolm Dickson remains at the front of the fleet with Sarau and has enjoyed a couple of lovely evenings mid-tasman. This is Malcolm’s third Tasman race and his second in his self-designed and built 50’ yacht. Today’s conditions have kept him busy with big light weather sails to maintain a steady speed of 4-5 knots. Alister Dickson, his younger brother is sailing 150nm behind him in Frontier. Frontier was designed and built at home by Alister and although it’s her first time across the Tasman, Alister sailed the race previously in 1998. Close by Frontier, Hullabaloo has sailed into second place under the skilful helm of Jim O’keeffe. Jim's first Solo Tasman race was in 1978, together with Malcolm Dickson. Jim in Yantha finished 15hrs ahead of Malcolm in Spindrift of Nelson. Jim brought the male mould for his Adams 13 and then set about building Hullabaloo to his own sailing style, launching her in 1994. Craig Ansley on Crocus also started his sailing and boat building adventures in his twenties. This is Craig and Crocus's first Solo Tasman race. For the last 12 hours Crocus has been becalmed. Just before dark tonight she caught some wind and has taken off again. I’m looking forward to the schedule from Craig this evening – he always has a story to tell us.
These four skippers have been sailing for 50-60 years so plenty of sea miles and global experiences between them, providing an interesting race for us to watch.
Mister Lucky sits 3rd with a distance to finish of 879nm between Hullababloo (868nm) and Frontier (884nm). Allegresse is a very close 5th with 889nm DTF. What will the morning bring?

From Port to Fourth

72 hours into the Ray White New Plymouth Solo Trans-Tasman Yacht Challenge, it is living up to its name. The six remaining entrants have tracked north over the last 24 hours, most now sailing above the rhumb line trying to avoid the hole that is circling towards NZ. Conditions offshore have settled and after reporting a bit of everything yesterday… thunder and lightning, rain then sunshine, skippers enjoyed a lovely evening out there and this morning were feeling dry, fixed and looking forward to a fried breakfast.
Mike Carter has sailed Allegresse back into the fleet, achieving a DMG today of 107nm, compared to those sitting in large swells and very light head winds limiting the DMG to 65nm. Allegresse is the only wooden boat in the race. She is a Bruce Clarke design based on Sir Francis Chichester's Gypsy Moth III. Her elegant lines are reported to promise both sea-kindliness and peace of mind in a design aimed at tackling whatever the sea can throw at her. Over the last few days the Tasman Sea has certainly tested that.
We continue to track Melting Pot as Alan takes her home. We wish them both a safe passage as they head around the Cape and down the east coast.

Click Here to View Pics of Race Start

Photo credit: Stu, Smokeylemon


Three Retire from Challenge

Skippers of the Ray White New Plymouth Solo Trans-Tasman Challenge 2023

The latest news from the skippers…." all is well onboard" They have been sailing through challenging conditions for the last 48 hours with winds up to 45kn. Out in front, Sarau is reaching quieter conditions and reported this morning "It's nice to have some good sailing again" Meanwhile Hullabaloo is hove to in rough seas. Melting Pot has suffered autopilot problems and Frontier reported "The breeze is where I want to go". Mister Lucky is leading the IRC handicap at present.
Electronic issues have forced the retirement of three yachts, Apriori, Nerissa K, and Melting Pot.

Ray White New Plymouth Solo Trans-Tasman Yacht Challenge Race Secretary, chatted today with Charlotte Ryan on Radio NZ about the race.

Click Here to Listen to Audio

SS Fb Sarau1

The first 24-hours!

Wow, what an exciting and interesting start to the Ray White NP Solo Trans-Tasman Yacht Challenge. Malcolm Dickson on Sarau tacked on the start line to be the first to cross. Mister Lucky laid the mark in a single tack, being the first to round. The fleet disappeared quickly over the horizon in 15kn from the NW. As darkness fell Sarau was heading NW with 5 of the fleet following a more westerly direction, converging close together. An IRC dual was occurring between Mister Lucky and Melting Pot.
Allegresse returned to port late afternoon, from 12nm out to resolve an issue onboard. She and Mike Carter headed back out at first light and are making great pace and ground today in a very uncomfortable sea.
Overnight conditions have been busy and challenging with 44kn and a very bumpy sea. Skippers reported all good onboard during this morning’s schedule, if a little wet.
Lucy onboard Nerissa K developed some sail and electronic issues with her chartplotter and AIS late yesterday afternoon. Her sail issues saw her crabbing at 2-3 knots overnight. Lucy has been unsuccessful in resolving the issues in the rough choppy sea and is heading back to port.
Meanwhile back in Port Taranaki, Apriori remains on her mooring suffering autopilot issues during the prestart checks.
Malcolm Dickson and Sarau currently lead the fleet 180nm from the port, doing 6.5kn. Mister Lucky and Mark Hipgrave are leading the IRC division at 165nm with a VMG of 5.9kn

To view the live Race Tracker - mouse over The Race in the menu and then click on Race Live.


Frontier arrival 20230315 (WH)

2023 Start Line Arrivals

Alister Dickson -"Frontier" is the first competitor to arrive in Port Taranaki, New Plymouth for the start of the Ray White New Plymouth Solo Trans- Tasman Yacht Challenge 2023. RACE START: 13:00 9 APRIL 2023

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