Auckland QC Jim Farmer's big keeler Georgia had the pace to lead the pack home during the first CRC Bay of Islands Sailing Week A division race.

But it couldn't match the speed of marine mammals which put on a good show enjoyed by sailors on 70 boats participating in the three-day regatta, which ends today.

"The dolphins were definitely quicker," regatta chairman Ray Hasler said yesterday.

The event is organised by the Kerikeri, Russell, Waitangi and Opua yacht clubs and with half of the participants from as far south as Wellington, is regarded in the Bay as a national fixture.


The regatta is open to keelers, multi-hulls, trailer sailors, sports and open keelboats.

Courses are designed to suit the 10 divisions with four different start lines for two windward/leeward triangle races in the morning and one race around islands in the Bay in the afternoon. The island course changes daily.

Gusts of 40 knots during registration on Tuesday suggested competitors could face stern conditions on the water.

But morning racing on Wednesday began with clear skies and 10-12 knots, fluctuating between 8-15 knots until mid afternoon when gusts of 20 knots added to the excitement.

And Mr Hasler said conditions were a little quieter yesterday with south-west winds reaching 15 knots.

More balmy weather predicted for today should see the regatta wind up with its reputation intact for providing an amazing array of course options among some of the most beautiful sailing waters in New Zealand.

Mr Hasler said a prizegiving ceremony would be held at the Opua Yacht Club at 7.30 tonight.