We left Christchurch midday on Friday with the forecast for a weather bomb to hit the lower North Island and NW of South Island that evening.
The trip was slower than expected, reaching our camp site at Kerr Bay at 20.30hrs. I decided to keep the Frostbite on the trailer with us at the van until morning. Bad idea! As it took Pat a good hour to dislodge the leaves and twigs in the boat that had come down from the beech trees which had been doing battle all night with a gale in their tops while we slept in the campervan below.
We woke at 7.30 to find snow was halfway down the hills and the temperature in single digits, luckily the display area was mostly sheltered by trees on the lake front as the SW was still honking a 30kn.
As we wheeled Patricia Too through the assembled boaties there were whispers ‘that must be Corsair’ and someone asked straight out ‘wow is this Corsair? ‘to which Pat replied ‘it’s a frostbite’. It wasn’t long before we realised the legendary Corsair of the Winstone family fame, recently featuring in N Z Boating articles was to be there.
I thought Patricia Too had a good chance of taking a prize until this beauty. I soon met the owner Paul Baragwanath, grandson of Robert Winstone who had a great story board on the boat, her history, recovery, restoration including building of replica trailer of the 1945 one shown N Z Boating last year. There is a short history of the project in March 2012 NZ Boating.
Well the wind did blow hard for a while and after a number of attempts the all clear was given to launch boats at owners discretion at 15.30 and a hardy few took to the water, not us (to hell with launching off a lee shore) and it was still cold in my opinion.
In the meantime the judges had done the rounds, must have been a fairly short round at that as we didn’t see them in our area. At 17.30 an announcement was made and names of ten winners who were implored to turn up at the dinner at 21.00 for Prizegiving was read out, No.24 Corsair wasn’t among them, I and many others were horrified. After about half an hour one of the judges, the one who had shown mild interest in Corsair (the other had ignored her) sidled up to Paul (Baragwanath) and said, “You going to the Prize-giving tonight?”, to which Paul replied “The name wasn’t read out”. The judge then made a derogatory remark about the typist, and told Paul that he had better turn up.
You can see by the results that it turned out ok for Corsair in the end winning THE BEST RESTORATION. But some other worthy boat that was called up originally missed out, while a rather scruffy mullet boat with tired varnish and oil from a wheel bearing still splatted up the hull won BEST SAIL POWERED CRAFT that should have been Corsair’s. As for the trophy for BEST OVERALL going to a kid’s story book character Little Toot; come on judges get real this is reputedly NZ’s top ANTIQUE & CLASSIC Boat Show. Admittedly Little Toot was rather cute but hardly a classic or an antique!
We are lucky that in our 2 Canterbury Regattas that we have fairly well defined categories for the prizes and we have judges who are able to understand and articulate what criteria they have used. Unfortunately at Lake Rotoiti, all categories are termed “the best” and “the best” can be interpreted differently by judges.
Anyway, it was great to meet so many enthusiastic people from 129 boats, so many with interesting histories and this year Canterbury was only represented by 6 or so boats.
BEST NEW CRAFT SPANGALONG Gary Drummond, Motueka
PEOPLES CHOICE MY LOVE Johnny Malthus, St Arnaud
92 BEST MOTOR CRAFT an Albatross alloy built UK in ’50′s.ROSS BIRCHALL.ROTORUA.
133 BEST SAIL POWERED NAID Mathew Kidson. Nelson
25 BEST THEME DISPLAY TOM THUM Mike Slade, Auckland
24 BEST RESTORATION CORSAIR Paul Baragwanath, AUCKLAND.
75 BEST ROWED CRAFT MAGGIE. John McConway, Picton
52 BEST OVERALL LITTLE TOOT Clinton Skelton, Nelson
80 BEST STEAM CRAFT JANICE Brent & Lynn Winter, Murchison
34 BEST JET POWERED BUTT Anthony Connolly, Christchurch