Hail, sleet and rain driven by an unseasonable SW greeted the early arrivals for this year’s event at the Akaroa Recreation Ground. It was so cold that fingers were unable to untie fastenings and the faithful regrouped in the Pavilion for a hot drink and a chance to warm up. Gradually the weather eased blue pieces of sky (sailor’s britches!) visible and those participating outside preparing their craft for display. For many earthquake weary Cantabrians this Regatta was a God send giving them a chance to get out on the water and share their hobby with others.
As usual there were surprises with the different boats arriving for the weekend. The Frostbite Class, usually with one sole entry from Mel Selwood, had a total of four this year. Two recent restorations, Hugh Hobden/Peter Braithwaite – Taranui, Paul Pritchett – Patricia Too, as well as Matt Williams from Tikao Bay – Delight. Of particular note was Paul’s immaculate restoration with its perfect two-tone blue paint job. Taranui and Delight both date back to 1950, Delight built by Eric Morrison and Taranui (ex Diane) by Murray Beasley assisted by a young John Morrison who represented Canterbury in the hay days of the Frostbites when they were a competitive national class (1940-50’s). The four boats made a great line up together.
Also back on the water was Fiddlers Green owned by Stephen Jarvis. This boat is work in progress, Stephen has battled with the hull’s exterior, created a custom trailer and has yet to complete the interior fit out and reinstall the rig. Back in the water with a Seagull outboard on the back, flags flying, no leaks, it holds much promise for the future.
Thanks again to our two irrefutable judges, Graham Mander and Bill Nicholson, who, this year, adapted the judging categories to suit the types of entries including recognising the Welsford designs as a “nostalgia class” and awarding the Wellby family this prize. This family certainly makes the most of their boat with extensive cruising and camping involving all the family. Overall winners of the “Swiftsure” Trophy, for best boat overall, were Ian and Alison Milne with their Iain Oughtred Islesburgh pocket cruiser. As always beautifully presented and sailed.
When the time came to launch our craft for our sail along the waterfront, many were put off by the blustery SW that still hung on and some boats remained on the shore. However this wind was short lived as the sun came out and the wind died and in fact the only finisher in the race was Morris Hall’s veteran X Class Xotic from Dunedin. It became a pleasant drifter and finished with a brisk NE change to return to shore.
On Sunday it was calm and warm; the larger craft motored and sailed when able, across the harbour to the Tikao Boating Club for our final social gathering. We were welcomed by Ian Telfer of the Tikao Club who provided their BBQ and tea making facilities and a pleasant time was spent on the deck of the clubhouse welcoming in the various craft that arrived and were moored out and the crews ferried ashore by Matt Williams.
Local support has been a feature for our regatta including Gourmet Burgers as a fund raiser for Akaroa Area School. We also support the Banks Peninsula Junior Cricket Club whom, through locals Garry and Heidi Brittenden and their team, provide a lavish evening BBQ. We also acknowledge Akaroa Promotions Manager, Hollie Hollander, for her assistance in promoting the regatta.
For a weekend that began roughly the ending was satisfyingly gratifying for all old boat enthusiasts that participated!