Gucci takes trophy for overall win

JONATHAN MCKEOWN
Last updated 13:04 22/01/2013
gucci yacht
PATRICK HAMILTON/Fairfax NZ
TROPHY TRIUMPH: Brent Darwood (right), the skipper of Gucci, stands proudly with his crew while celebrating their Royal Port Nicholson to Nelson race win.

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Gucci, skippered by Brent Dewhurst, returned from a circumnavigation of the South Island to win the Royal Port Nicholson Yacht Club, Wellington-to-Nelson annual race in the same week.

One of the smaller boats in the handicapped mixed fleet, the crew of the 10-metre yacht were awarded the Dimock Offshore Trophy at the host base of Tasman Bay Cruising Club on Sunday as the overall winner on handicap.

Leaving the Royal Port Nicholson Yacht Club at 6pm on Friday night, and sailing through mixed winds, Gucci crossed the line near Nelson Yacht Club just after 2pm on Saturday.

Racing in winds ranging from five knots (9kmh) to 35 knots, the race record of just over 11 hours was never in jeopardy, the final boat to finish arrived in the harbour just after midnight on Sunday morning.

The first yacht home, claiming line honours, was 2012 Dimock Offshore Trophy winners, the 15.8m Canting Keel offshore racer Ran Tan. Of the five yachts from Nelson, Jet finished second overall in the Royal Port Nicholson offshore championship event.

One of the smaller yachts racing in the event that has been held since the 1960s, Gucci and her crew had not logged much land time over the past two months.

Gucci set sail from Wellington on December 3, destined for Milford Sound via Torrent Bay and down the West Coast. After spending time in Bligh Sound and Doubtful Sound in Fiordland, Gucci arrived in Dusky Sound, Stewart Island on January 5.

After time spent around Stewart Island, Gucci then took only 3 days to reach Wellington, setting a personal speed record of 20.2 knots. Just after arriving in home port on Wednesday, Gucci set off to Nelson two days later.

Doug McKee, Nelson Port Captain and Port Captain of the Royal Port Nicholson Yacht Club, himself a four-time winner, said the Wellington to Nelson race and the subsequent Nelson Regatta was one of the highlights of the racing calendar.

"The Wellington yachts really enjoy the Nelson Regatta for its variety and hospitality, hence the number of boats staying over from the race on the weekend."

Most of the 19 boats stayed on for the New Zealand King Salmon Nelson Regatta taking place this week, and concluding with a final race from Tarakohe to Nelson Race tomorrow.

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- The Nelson Mail

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