Sail Polynesia in the Tahiti Pearl Regatta

Sailing in Tahiti
Action above and below: Illico, a Moorings 51.5, flies its spinnaker during the 2012 Tahiti Pearl Regatta.Tor Johnson

Fun-loving racers fantasize about such idyllic circumstances as these: a sunny day, emerald waters, warm breezes—the perfect conditions for a downwind run. What else could you possibly need in the most storied islands of the South Pacific, the Societies?

A pod of dolphins, of course. And that’s exactly what photographer Tor Johnson found. He shot this image outside Bora-Bora as a mixed fleet of some 50 monohulls, cats, and tris in the 2012 Tahiti Pearl Regatta were approaching the finish line of the leeward-islands leg of one of the races, from Raiatea to the famous atoll.

“Tor and I were in a dinghy waiting for the boats to pass by us so we could get above and below photos of them. Then we noticed a pod of dolphins swimming by,” recalls Kyoko Johnson, his wife and business manager. “So Tor jumped in the water with his camera, and one of the dolphins came to check him out. Apparently, they’re very curious creatures.”

The five-day movable feast of races and evening beach parties marks its 10th anniversary in 2013 with events scheduled for May 8 to 12, and there are plenty of ways to get in on the action, whether you fly there, charter a crewed boat or a bareboat, or crew on a passage to that destination. Check out the regatta website for details. Read more about the event at "A Society Islands Sojourn."