THE 99TH LIPTON CUP RACE – 5 December 2020
In retrospect a great day! There were different challenges this time but the weather cooperated! For 3 days light to moderate westerlies were predicted and draft course set on Friday was spot on!!
The first Lipton Cup race sailed in 1922 raced from a start off St Mary’s Bay to Sandspit buoy off Devonport Beach to a Mark laid off the Watchman Island and after two laps finished off St Mary’s Bay. With the predicted wind this was a trial resail for the 100th but there was one consideration. We were sharing the harbour with 85 Surf skis due to paddle under the harbour bridge about 1215 and thence, keeping to the northern side of the harbour, round North Head to Takapuna. For the beat back up harbour Resolution Buoy was included to encourage the fleet to stay south. Tamatea & Orion II considered the option – a couple of cargo ships on the move or surf skis! The paddlers had been warned at their briefing that the Mullet boats were racing and that power gave way to sail! Close but no disasters!!
After a couple of false starts – moving start mark and missed timing, the fleet of seven were away just 8 minutes late. Orion II was over by more than her bowsprit (New rules come in to force on Jan 1st) but recrossed rapidly. The top mark was laid to the right-hand side of the centre span – strictly speaking in the fairway – and steaming at a fast rate towards the tacking fleet – the Spirit of New Zealand. A quick call on the VHF to the SONZ and she paused - her passengers would have had a grandstand view of the fleet rounding the top mark. Thanks Spirit!
After 3 times round the top mark on the short windward leewards it was up spinnakers and a kite run, with the tide and gybes, all the way to Bean Rock Buoy. The four leading boats were close enough as they rounded it was still anyone’s game for the tacking duel up the to Meola Buoy. Tamatea led Orion by 40 seconds who was 23 seconds ahead of Limited Edition and another minute and a half to Valeria.
By Resolution Buoy Tamatea still led Orion but by just 26 seconds and the battle for third and fourth was 3 minutes behind with a 40 second gap between Limited Edition and Valeria.
From Meola there was a short downwind leg to Stanley and then the beat to the finish between the committee boat and a buoy laid off the Clubhouse where the spectators had a grand stand finish of Tamatea getting the gun at 1450 by 67 seconds over Orion. Limited Edition held on for third followed by Valeria, Martanza, Rangi Manu and Komuri (non-spinnaker).
The sun was shining, the wind, although variable in strength, had held and the sailors had no complaints!! Orion’s description of their duel with the paddlers added interest and creating an overview of the whole event were the cameramen and their drone running a trial coverage for the big 100th LIPTON CUP race on March 20, 2021.
99th Lipton Cup RESULTS
Janet WatkinsRace Officer
Orion II chasing Tamatea
And a big thankyou to our Sponsors, GLAISTER ENNOR who will again be sailing with us at the 100th!