19 April 2012
91st Lipton Cup: Tamatea Race Report
Former Lidgard family mullet boat Tamatea has won the 91st Lipton Cup in an impressive wire-to-wire victory.Tamatea took the start and never looked back over the 19 nautical mile Waitemata Harbour course, stopping the clock after 3h 45mins 13s to emphatically claim line and handicap honours.
The 99-year-old Valeria, which won the first Lipton Cup in 1922 and was skippered on Saturday by Ben Freedman with Roy Dickson calling tactics, was 2mins 37s behind and second on handicap after climbing five places through the fleet.
Winner of the previous three seasons, Orion II, took third on line, but fifth on handicap with the crew of Scullet taking fourth on line and third on handicap, the top four boats on the line flying Lidgard spinnakers on the day.
Instead of the usual outer harbour course, the race organisers sent the boats back and forth under the Harbour Bridge from Bayswater to Kauri Point with windward/leewards each side of the bridge.
Tamatea opted to chase pressure up the left hand side towards Bayswater at the start while the rest of the fleet stayed bunched together further towards the right.
The race was then a frantic flurry of kite work and tight racing from Bayswater to Kauri Point through dozens of startled fishing boats. It was a course to test crew and boat: including 10 taxing spinnaker hoists and plenty of chances for things to go wrong.
Second place was hard fought, changing a number of times and held by five boats at different times, but Tamatea held on for the win, building on its strong start throughout the race to take the gun.
Tamatea was campaigned hard by the Lidgards in the 2002 and 2003 seasons. She was bought by Jim Lidgard in 2002 and taken out of the water and dried out in an old brick kiln. They then had Pearson and Way boat builders fair her down, spline and fibreglass the hull. The boat then underwent a comprehensive weight reduction programme: every sheet and halyard was brought down to minimum weight. The centre plate was also reshaped and cut down. These modifications, along with a customised sail wardrobe, saw the Lidgards win the Lipton Cup in 2003.
Tamatea is owned and crewed by Rob Algie, Callum Dowie, Graham Andrew, Brian Trubovich and Justin Henehan. Ian Darby and Dallas Bennett joined the crew for the Lipton Cup victory. The boat has been little changed by its current crew and still carries a full Lidgard sail wardrobe; a tried and true set up explains co-owner Rob Algie.
“Sean Lidgard and his late father Jim had an evolution of sail designs specific to Tamatea. With that experience available, it would of been crazy to go anywhere else.
“The sails Lidgard's made for Tamatea are nothing short of excellent; a developed design tailored to the boat and made using quality materials. The results speak for themselves.”
Tamatea’s crew hopes to restore the boat back to her full race specification as devised by Jim and Sean. They plan to continue to fly the Lidgard family emblem, the Pegasus, maintaining a strong connection between Tamatea and Lidgard family.