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sailboat  Race

Imagine if you loaned your yacht to the Tauranga Yacht and Power Boat Club so it could be raced in an international regatta, and it sank - and was unable to be recovered.

That's what happened to the Rotorua owner of a Noelex 25 that was taking part in the PacRim Regatta outside Tauranga harbour last week.

Noelex 25s in racing trim are virtually irreplaceable as they have ceased production.

The Russian crew capsized their borrowed boat at the top mark somewhere seaward of the blowhole during the first day of racing last week.

Their passports and personal papers are understood to have also gone down with the boat.

Efforts to find it on the seabed have been unsuccessful so far.

The Noelex 25 was loaned by a Rotorua owner. The convention is either the owner or his representative is on board during racing.

In this case it was a representative on board, says the yacht club's PacRim committee chairman Fred Jeanes. He didn't want to comment further.

Ross Currie who organised the fleet of 12 boats also doesn't want to talk about it.

“We are really going through all of it at the moment,” says Ross.

“Nobody was injured, but we have got some circumstances that have to be dealt with first before we can talk to the press.”

Yacht club Commodore Nick Wrinch says the fleet was reduced to one team each after Cyclone Hola passed and racing resumed in the harbour.

He says the club is reluctant to talk about it, partly to protect the privacy of the missing boat's owner.

“It was a good regatta, a great week, all bar this on the first day,” says Nick. “It was a great international event.”

The next PacRim regatta is in two years' time, hosted by the Antares Yacht Club, Nakhodka.

The PacRim regatta is a big deal for the hosting club. Yachties from Australia, Japan, Russia, Canada and the US plus supporters were home stayed in Tauranga during the event, which is held every two years.

It is a social as much as sailing event with each participating yacht club providing two boat crews plus supporters who are called ambassadors. The Tauranga event had a mayoral opening and a powhiri  calling the guests on to the TYPBC marae on March 9, and dinner.

The Tauranga Yacht and Power has won about seven of the PacRim regattas which have their origin in the late 1980s at the Bellingham Yacht Club in Washington State




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