Conditions were cool and cloudy, but an ideal sailing breeze made for a great afternoon on the water. The day started with a lament from piper Chris Thompson who did the same last year after the Christchurch Mosque attacks as this was the anniversary of that terrible event. This year is another extraordinary one with so much uncertainty over the world-wide pandemic
It is always a pleasant surprise to see new boats appearing at the lake. This year there were several – a steam launch, Stephen Jarvis with a Dudley Dix, Cape Cutter19, a massive steel pilot boat from Oxford, Ian & Alison Milne, fresh from winning best sailboat at Lake Rotoiti with their Ian Oughtred. “Kotik” and greatly admired by all, Roger and Diane France's picnic boat “Vive la France”. This boat was created by Roger, drawn out on the garage floor, moulds made and fared then planked with recycled cedar from a neighbour’s earthquake-repaired house! It is immaculate, with attention to detail as you would expect from a retired aircraft engineer. The boat was on display only, as Roger has a period of convalescence to complete.
New this year was a rowing challenge for the Armstrong Trophy. There were four contestants, two Shellback dinghies, a Pelham dinghy and a dory. After a Le Mans start the race was around two buoys. As expected, the slippery dory of Brett de Thier was an easy winner! The next item was the Parade/Race for all boats on the lake. This was around a box course set out by the Ashburton Sailing Club. Conditions were ideal with a moderate NE breeze and the bigger boats were able to stretch out once we all cleared the usual chaotic massed start. It's a credit to all taking part that there were no incidents and skippers were free to sail as many times they wanted around the course. The sailing conditions were enjoyed by all. If you wondered why sailing became progressively slower, you only had to look at rudder and centre plate to see why – weed!
The usual after match function at the Lake House Restaurant gave everyone a chance to chew over the day’s events, the general consensus was a great day and maybe the need to have two regattas at this popular venue.
I started writing this before the worldwide emergency we are now in. How things change so quickly. We can be thankful for a wonderful day; who knows what the future will bring?