An annual Christmas ocean race across Cook Strait for keel yachts has been held under the auspices of the Royal Port Nicholson Yacht Club since 1928. An annual race is also held from Lyttelton to Akaroa by the Banks Peninsula Cruising Club. In 1951 an ocean race was sailed from Wellington to Lyttelton in connection with the Canterbury centennial. Leaving Wellington on 21 January in bad conditions, the 22 yachts faced a severe southerly gale, which resulted in the withdrawal of nearly the whole fleet. The Wellington cutter Astral was dismasted; the 26 ft Nelson cutter Husky and the 30 ft Wellington cutter Argo were lost with all hands. The toll of 10 lives in this race constitutes the worst disaster in New Zealand yachting history. The winner, and only boat to finish, was the cutter Tawhiri, of Nelson.
The 100-mile race sailed by Auckland yachts for the Balokovic Cup is an annual event controlled by the Royal Akarana Yacht Club. The above club, whenever a sufficient number of entries is forthcoming, holds a race to Australia for the Trans-Tasman Cup. The first race, from Auckland to Sydney, was sailed in 1931 and was won by the visiting Norwegian cutter Teddy. In 1934 the cup was contested by the German yawl Te Rapunga and the New Zealand cutter Ngataki in a race to Melbourne, a distance of 1,630 miles, the former winning in the slowest time to date, 19 days. On the third occasion (1938) of the race, the two contestants withdrew, the schooner Aurora Star proceeding to Lord Howe Island and the disabled 36 ft cutter Wayfarer making her way back to the New Zealand coast, reaching Whangaroa Harbour in a sinking condition. The cup has been contested four times since 1945, the last race being held from Auckland to Sydney in 1961. The fleet of 15 yachts was the largest to date.
In 1956 a race was sailed from Auckland to Suva, Fiji, in which there was one Australian entrant. The New Zealand yacht Wanderer won the 1,250-mile event.
In April 1964 a race was sailed from Whangarei to Noumea, New Caledonia. The ketch Tarau, Whangarei, won on corrected time from a fleet of 36 boats.
|Winners of Trans-Tasman Ocean Race, 1931-61|