Eleven crews lined up to contest the Bob Worthington Memorial Round Rarotonga mixed teams race on day three of the Vaka Eiva 2018 yesterday.
The ocean was reasonably benign with a one-metre swell but the accompanying heavy wind chop would make conditions less than pleasant for the competing paddlers.
Conditions pretty much round the whole island were heavy going. The ocean offered no assistance making it a hard slog from start to finish.
Taking a wide line from the start to get the advantage of some downhill wind and swell, the Ngakau Toa Vaka and Te Tupu O Te Manava canoes raced to the front and by Black Rock had already opened up a substantial lead over the rest of the field with NTV leading by 200 metres.
Past Arorangi and The Rarotongan, The Needle in view, positions hadn’t changed.
Over one kilometre back third placed Hanohano from USA were holding their own and in the masters division and right beside them Te Tupu, steered by local legend Sani Sosene, held the lead.
The rest of the field were a further kilometre or more behind the group. Team positions hardly changed throughout the field for the remainder of the race as crews toughed it out to the very welcome finish line at Trader Jacks.
The punishing conditions meant frequent crew changes in an effort to keep the pace on for all teams competing as it was a very tough race, most just happy to grind it out and complete the arduous course.
On the home straight and still holding their comfortable lead, NTV charged to the line at Trader Jacks and they were elated with the win. Another gold medal in the bag!
Open Mixed - Ngakau Toa Vaka - 3:01:32, Te Tupu O Te Manava - 3:03:10, Hanohano - 3:18:21; Master Mixed - Te Tupu O Te Manava - 3:31:27, Team Kaimana - 3:36:50, Matatoa (Taranaki OCC) - 3:47:19; Senior Master Mixed - Mahi Kotahi (Horouta, New Zealand) - 4:02:39