A crew made up of top paddlers from the island’s two main clubs of Te Tupu O Te Manava and Ngakau Toa Vaka was a winning formula for the Home Cookie mixed crew who took out the Bob Worthing Memorial Trophy for the mixed-relay race.
Course changes for the normally round Raro race made for new challenges for oe vaka athletes, but the lads and ladies from Home Cookie went out to win and showcase that the podium finishes by both local clubs over the week-long festival was no fluke. From The Boiler start line, paddlers pushed east to the Matavera Point for the first turnaround leg to race past Avarua to Arorangi in the west for the last turnaround just before the Rarotongan Resort and Spa.
The course and race conditions were described as “murderous’’ by long-time Vaka Eiva photographer Harvie Allison, who also said that with safety as a priority, race directors had made the right decision for the course.
The combined club crew of Home Cookies smashed across the finish line in 3.03.29 with master mixed crew from Ngakau Toa Vaka taking out second nearly 10 minutes later in 3.12.32 followed by third-place getters the open-mixed crew also from Ngakau Toa Vaka finishing in 3.18.20.
Rarotonga’s race conditions were certainly not for the faint hearted, but a thrill for all the 15 crews that took on the challenge. Awards for top oe vaka crews were presented last night ahead of the wrap up party of this year’s Vaka Eiva festival presented by Matson Shipping.
The closing ceremony was staged at the OTR Bar and Rehab “vaka festival’’ area where top live music and much celebrations was promised for the paddles-up party. - MW