There are always surprises at these gatherings, the most unexpected boats arrive. This year the sail parade was graced by the immaculate, Oyster, a New Haven Sharpie built by Neville Watkinson which looks and sails like a million dollars. Neville tried to source plans in the USA without success but managed to draw out the lines and construction details from many other sources. He spent a 1000 hours on this handsome build. Another new comer was an International 14, Finito, owned by Craig Howie, this sailing dinghy represented the top end of dinghy racing during the 1950's and 60's in the UK. Cold moulded in mahogany, this is a solid no nonsense boat with a substantial sail area. The class never took off in NZ but was probably the inspiration for the R Class that began in Canterbury.
Also representing larger classic craft were Merlin, a fantail clinker gaffer, (Andrew Hewitt,) Romney, a steam cutter, (Russell Ward) and Fiddlers Green, (Stephen Jarvis). Smaller boats included three Shellback dinghies, the Pelham dinghy of Bill Beere and two clinker Seagull powered craft. A Flying Fifteen and Fireball dinghy also showed their paces on the big lake.
Model boats were sailed in the canal area where most launched (and lunched!) for the day. Local J Class boats from Ashburton and the Christchurch Model Yacht Club raced round a set of buoys provided by local model maker and yachty, Peter Vincent.
Conditions were ideal for a leisurely sail, no particular course was set but this didn't matter as it was a case of enjoying the day – the lake is well used by picnicking families with power boats, jet skis and kayaks scattered all around the lake.
Thanks to the Ashburton Sailing Club for hosting the event and providing the BBQ food. It is a unique place to sail. Noticed were the new housing and road developments with a new passive lake being developed to the north of the current lake.