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Smooth sailing for the launch of 2013 Marlborough sauvignon blanc

Boats heading out to the starting line at the entrance to Tory Channel.

Boats heading out to the starting line at the entrance to Tory Channel.

More than 100 intrepid sailors racing 27 boats and carrying 29 bottles of 2013 Marlborough sauvignon blanc, enjoyed near perfect sailing conditions in the wine race last week.

The WineWorks Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc Yacht Race is an annual event which celebrates the launch of the latest vintage of New Zealand’s premier wine variety, Marlborough sauvignon blanc.

The race takes place across the Cook Strait, which separates the North Island from the South Island of New Zealand, considered to be one of the roughest stretches of water on the planet.

Saint Clair Family Estate was one of 29 Marlborough wineries to take part in the event.

Winemakers Hamish Clark and Heather Stewart were part of a crew of four aboard the Wave Rider, a Lotus 10.6, skippered by Geoff Buick who has been growing grapes for Saint Clair for 14 years.

Geoff who has taken part in the event several times, says the bone-chilling south-easterly wind, blowing at 12-14 knots made for “pretty much perfect” sailing conditions.

“It was a bit cold, but that southerly carried us all the way to Wellington Heads, then we had a beautiful spinnaker ride up the harbour,” says Geoff.

Geoff, who is usually kept pretty busy running his 2,500-acre property in the Ure Valley in southern Marlborough, where he farms sheep and beef and grows sauvignon blanc, chardonnay and pinot noir grapes for the Saint Clair Family Estate Pioneer Block 4 wines, says the event is always lots of fun for the wineries and sailors.

“Us sailors don’t need much of an excuse to get out on the water – throw in a few bottles of wine and some prize money and we’re off.”

Congratulations to the race winners and a big thank you to all the sailors who took part in the event too.

 

The race leaders entering Wellington Harbour

The race leaders entering Wellington Harbour

2013 WineWorks Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc Yacht Race results:

Line honours – The Guarantee carrying Auntsfield Estate and Lake Chalice.

Handicap results – 1st Imp Zap carrying Torea, 2nd Khamsin carrying Ara, 3rd Oldsmobile carrying Villa Maria, and 4th Sirrah carrying Sileni.

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