Monthly Archives: November 2022

Musket Cove Regatta: Sandbank Race & Awards

The third and final race of the Musket Cove Regatta 2022 is called the “Sandbank” race.  It is short, maybe 5nm in total, but it proved to be challenging with very light winds.  All the competitors start at the sandbank inside the reef, then fight for position through the pass, out to a mark, then back.

The captain and team on “Wow” are determined to redeem ourselves after our poor showing and retirement from the Around the Island Race.  The boat is prepared, we are psyched and ready!

Engines are off 5 minutes before the start and we position Wow at the start.  Only working sails can be used for the first 5 minutes to ensure everyone has plenty of room and can see as they exit the small pass.

The Musket Cove Regatta photographer gets a few great photos of the crew on Wow.

We quickly take the lead despite the very light winds.  The spinnakers slowly start to be unfurled as everyone desperately tries to capture the wind.

We unfurl our red spinnaker and see little puffs that catapult us forward.  There are times we only have 1-2kts of wind.

Surprise!  Burt is trying to take our lead

We slowly start to see the local boat, Burt approach.  The owner of “Burt” is also the owner of Malolo Island (aka Musket Cove) and organizer is of the race.  He won first place in the Around the Island Race.  Yes, he won his own race in his super light hobie cat boat!

Burt made this a challenging race.  They quickly overtook us, then we were side by side. It wasn’t until we made the mark that we took the lead.

It was super difficult to maintain the lead back through the pass and to the finish, but we did it!  How the heck did we out maneuver this lightning fast boat?

Wow, what a great feeling to come in first on the Sandbank Race on the 2nd race in the Musket Cove Regatta 2022 race week.

Award Ceremony

The closing night was a huge party and celebration.  There were tons and tons of prizes for the hobie cat races, SUP races, Around the Island Race, and the Sandbank Race.

They had an enormous amount of food including pigs cooked in a lovo.

The sponsors gave away lots of swag during the race as well.  This does not include the prize winnings.

Sure was fun participating in the 2022 Musket Cove Regatta Race week.  Wouldn’t have been the same without being crew on the beautiful boat Wow!  Feeling pretty blessed about now.

The events from this blog occurred in early September 2022.  Our blog posts run 6-8 weeks behind actual events.  We retire from the most challenging race during the Musket Cove Regatta – did you read about it?

Musket Cove Regatta: Around the Island Race

The Around the Island Race is the most serious and competitive race of the Musket Cove Regatta week.  The course takes the racers around two islands, inside the reef, Malolo and Castaway  where the boats will see winds coming from all directions.  It is a challenging race with lots of boats trying to out maneuver their competitors in small sailing grounds around dangerous coral reefs.

Around the Island Race

Around the Island Race

Our captain, Dave is feeling confident in his boat and his team.  He is a big racer and very competitive.  He has raced his boat “Wow” several times in many challenging races and won most of them.

In order to make his already light boat lighter, he empties his water tanks, leaves his dinghy, anchor chain and anchor behind at the anchorage.  All to lighten the weight of the boat to make her go faster.  We then change the working sails to the “racing sails” and prepare the code zero and spinnaker on deck.   The captain is prepared to win the Around the Island Race.

There are 24 boats competing in the race but another 10-12 boats are participating and clogging up the course.   The start is tricky as you can go on either side of a sand bank when the horn blows.  Nobody can use anything other than working sails (until 5 minutes after the race starts).  This is to give the boats a chance to get through a narrow portion of the course without having huge head sails out.

The Start: Around the Island Race

We had a rough start and picked the wrong side of the start line.  We got between two boats and had to give way to get past a reef.  Then we got stuck in the wind shadow of a large monohull and could not pass for a good 10 minutes (which is a lifetime in a race)

It was our fault for coming up on their leeward side, if we had room we would have come up on their windward side and stole their air.  But

We were in 5th place at this point (30 minutes into the race) and were finally given enough space to overtake the monohull (who later one first place for monohulls). You can see our jib luffing as the dirty wind comes past the other boat.

We started to round the corner by Castaway and were putting out the code zero when we noticed we had a huge problem!  The top of the jib had a severe tear in it.   The code zero (which is a large head sail) was already being launched and then we furled the jib. 

We had to evaluate our options.  We knew as we rounded the Malolo island we would be directly into the wind and would need our jib.  The code zero and spinnaker are for downwind and or reaching.  With no way to finish, we decided to turn the engines on, turn around and head back to the anchorage.  It was a DNF for us and we were the only boat to not finish.  Really disappointing.  

We really had a bad day as we all made bad decisions that caused delays and set backs.  But it was a good learning experience.  Just unfortunate that we are no longer contenders for the “Around the Island Race.”


I will say that the race could have been organized a lot better, in my humble opinion.  They only had 2 categories: monohulls and multihulls.  The problem with that is they had 3 local hobie cat boats (that are not “live aboard”) enter the race.  They are super small, light, and very agile.  Live aboard boats just can’t compete against these boats at all (considering we have beds, galleys, toilets, refrigeration). 

But it was a proud moment for Fijians as the top three spots went to locals.  Each of these boats finished the race in under 1 hr 35min and the next cruising boat (live aboard) finished a full 25 minutes after.

All in all, it was a good race day, nobody got hurt and everyone had fun.  In our next blog we try to redeem ourselves in the sandbank race.

Damage to the Jib

Once we got back we were able to assess the damage to the very expensive racing jib.  The top seam delaminated and the next seam down seemed well on its way to doing the same thing.  We couldn’t have done anything during the Around the Island Race.

Even the photos at the start of the race showed the compromised sail.


The events from this blog occurred in early September 2022.  Our blog posts run 6-8 weeks behind actual events.  We win the first race, the beachcomber race, in the Musket Cove Regatta 2022.   

Musket Cove Regatta: Beachcomber Race

The Beachcomber race is aptly named because it is a race to the island called “Beachcomber.”  This is a very unusual race as “anything goes.”  What does that mean exactly?  Well it means you can use your engines; you can use any sail configuration, and you can do pretty much anything to get yourself quickly to the island.

There are 3 prizes:  first boat to arrive, first captain to shore, and best pirate costume.

Here is the course:  it starts at the sand bank just south of Malolo island, then goes around the southern tip of Malolo and straight to Beachcomber.  The course is only 11nm so it should take us about an hour to get there in our super-fast boat.

On race day we have ridiculously light winds!  What a bummer, looks like it will be a motor sail.  We position ourselves near the start, wait for the horn, and off we go.  We are not first across the start line, but within 2 minutes we are in the lead.  Wow can motor at 10-11kts per hour with (2) 25hp outboard engines!  Yep, he has outboard engines.  Sugar Shack has (2) 50hp engines and we average 6kts!

A photo 5 minutes after the start taken from our stern.

It is pretty easy race as there is nothing we can really do under motor.  No sail changes, no tacking, no trimming.  So, the captain has us move up front to the bow to see if we can get more speed out of the boat.  And wouldn’t you know it, we gain a half a knot!

We are the first to cross the finish line and arrive at Beachcomber.

Dave, our captain jumps in the water as we anchor the boat.  He wants to be the first captain to shore. 

A Pirate’s Reception

After we secure the boat, a panga comes around to collect us.  We are immediately attacked by a bandit of pirates who hold us up at sword point and put nooses around our necks.  We are forced to walk single file, across hot burning coals, and told to take our rum vaccination shot!

Our winning team take photos under the Beachcomber sign

Outside there is a mass grave site and a hanging station.

Debauchery with Fellow Pirates

It is amazing how a little costume can make the inhibitions go away.  Well that and maybe a little liquor which was flowing freely.  These two lovely ladies are Mel and Claire.

Christine, Mel, Claire

Christine, Mel, Claire

Many joined in the fun with partial or full costumes.


After lunch, the Beachcomber resort brought out the dancers and fire walkers.  What a treat to see them this up close and personal!

Five dancers wowed us with their beauty, grace, and skill.

Then we went outside to see the fire walkers.  Not sure how they did it in the heat with the hot flames!

They lit flames using their hands and feet.

Truly amazing performers


Finally, it was time for the awards…First boat across the finish “Wow”, first captain to shore “Wow”, best pirate costume “Christine from Wow” we sweep the award ceremony.

I did not even know how they knew my name.

Time to head back while the sun was still out to show us the reefs.  We were the only boat to attempt to sail back, but it just got too much for the captain to be in last place so we turned on the engine about half way there.

What a spectacularly funny day!

The events from this blog occurred in early September 2022.  Our blog posts run 6-8 weeks behind actual events.  The world renowned Musket Cove regatta kicks off in our last blog