The 9th edition of the annual Tahiti Pearl Regatta is about to begin! The most popular of its kind in the South Pacific, it’s scheduled to start on Wednesday, May 16th. This four-day event attracts an average of 30 boats, both local and international, bringing people from all over the world to the gorgeous islands of Tahiti. It’s the perfect balance between a competitive sport and a festive celebration.
A Recreational Race
Although the route varies from year to year, the Tahiti Pearl Regatta always takes place throughout the Leeward Group of Society Islands. With the exception of two open-ocean passages, the distance normally doesn’t exceed 20 nautical miles, making the event a favorite for sailors and young Polynesians looking to develop their competitive racing ability. It’s open to boats of all types and sizes including catamarans, monohulls, trimarans, and private yachts or chartered ships.
This year’s event will sail to Raiatea, Taha’a and Bora Bora, and each island is very different in terms of culture, scenery and navigational challenges.
A Festive Event
Adding to the overall experience is the fact that the Tahiti Pearl Regatta takes place in a friendly and genuine atmosphere where Polynesian tradition abounds. The festivities are just as intense and renown as the race itself! Every night, participants gather to enjoy Polynesian food, dance, music and games. On the final day, the Regatta concludes with an award ceremony and a spectacular fire dance show.
To give you a better idea of what the Regatta is all about, here’s a great article from Sail Magazine with a first-hand account of the event from previous years. Or below is a video from the 2010 Tahiti Pearl Regatta. Good luck to this year’s participants!