2024 Whangaroa Race Debrief

30 April 2024 | 36 Degrees News

Camaraderie and fleet spirit prevail in 2024 36 Degrees Brokers Whangaroa Race.

One race, one start line, one destination – the 36 Degrees Brokers Whangaroa Race from the Bay of Islands to Whangaroa embraces both racers and cruisers alike, and the 2024 edition was no exception.

A building southerly breeze propelled the 23-strong fleet up the coast as two tornado catamarans lead the 30-mile charge to finish within a minute of each other in the annual race hosted by the Bay of Islands Yacht Club on 27 April.

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While the race fleets’ tactics saw them roll the dice to go inside, outside, or through the Cavalli Islands, the cruising fleet kept an eye on their watches to stay within the 2-hours allocated motoring time.

And if the impressive raft up at the end was anything to go by, it’s fair to say that camaraderie and team spirit were equal winners on the day.

“It’s just such a cool race and an incredible destination to finish up at. It was good to have a nice blast out there and obviously a real buzz amongst the fleet,” says winning Tornado skipper Dave Lineham.

Lineham faced some frustrating conditions at the end of the race alongside fellow skipper Wayne Limbrick, as the breeze died, and a strong outgoing tide made for a painstaking match race to the finish.

“We had tacked and tacked and tacked – I reckon 50-60 times from Flat Island, all it took was a bad tack to stop the boat and sometimes there’s just as much skill in the light stuff keeping the boat moving,” he explains. 

Not the only ones to linger in the light conditions after an initial lead, the battle between big and little Ross Boats ensued as Pretty Boy Floyd (Ross 40), skippered by Bill Kidman, also suffered in the fickle finish conditions, watching Black Out (Ross 30) skippered by Kevin Peet, tack along the coastline to take race fleet line honours, finishing in a time of 5 hours and 18 minutes. 

Over the years the event has evolved to include a cruising rally which brings a different dynamic to the fleet as crews have an allocated 2-hours motoring time to assist them.  

This year’s cruising division win went to the Randell family aboard ‘Fast Lady’ with their youngest crew 4-year-old Jackson calling tactics right into the finish line. 

The impressive raft up beneath the dramatic landscape of the Whangaroa Harbour was a fitting way to conclude the race and let the salty tales flow about top speeds, tactics, and what was had for lunch.

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The event is typically held on the weekend closest to ANZAC day and has a separate prizegiving.

“Part of the beauty of this race is the destination sail. Whangaroa Harbour offers a very sheltered anchorage, and the perfect place to raft up and debrief the day. The atmosphere with cruisers and racers is awesome. It’s a bit part of the reason we support the growth of cruising boats and cruising divisions in regattas in general. I highly recommend anyone considering it for next year to give it a go!” says Robbs Hielkema of 36 Degrees Brokers.

Prizegiving for the race will be held at the Bay of Islands Yacht Club this coming Friday, 3rd May.

Provisional Line Results are below:

Racing Division
1st Black out – Ross 30
2nd Pretty Boy Floyd – Ross 40
3rd Unitec – Elliott 780
4th The Farm – Ross 40
5th Natuilass – Beneteau First 36
6th Moving Violation – Elliott 7.9
7th Lazy Bones
8th Wright Formula
9th  Feline

Sports Boats:
1st: C4 – Tornado
2nd VMG – Tornado
3rd Nacra

Cruising Division:
1st Fast Lady
2nd Summer Rain
3rd Far Out
4th Zest
5th Loco Motion
6th Lady Grey
7th Gungna
8th Moana


The Whangaroa Race debrief, written by Hana Hielkema. 

36 Degrees

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