Reviewed by Hugh Hobden
Pictures by Wes Purvis and Lindsay Ebert
Those that made their way to Akaroa for the Classic Boat Regatta this year were rewarded with the great sailing and conviviality that goes with people having a shared interest. The problems of compliance, fees and insurance last year are now behind us and common sense prevailed allowing our small organisation to “get on with it.”
The Canterbury stalwarts of our Classic Boat group were there as a well as a few surprises. Friday arrivals gathered at the Madeira..... for drinks and a meal if you so wished, always great to renew acquaintances with those, like Ian and Alison Milne who have travelled from Dunedin once again. More people this year took advantage of the Camp Taylor facilities at Takamatua that is part of Chisnallwood Intermediate Outdoor Education facilities. We really appreciate being able to use this magnificent facility, there are bunks for 30 as well as grassed areas for tents and parking trailer boats. It is great to mix and mingle in this setting!
Saturday began with calm and sun which boded well for the day. Boats began to arrive at the recreation ground early, we had to battle our way through the freedom campers – one group had a tent pitched right on the grass where we set up ! After registration the boats were given the once over by our judge, Paul Pritchett who also briefed us ably for the parade (race?) of boats – a pity we didn't pay more attention to the course as only one participant got it right (or nearly right). However the fleet of rowers, chuggers and sailers started off from Daleys Wharf for the sail along the waterfront to the Dan buoy off the Cruising Club. Early running was made by Ian Kington in his Shellback, holding off many of the larger craft for much of the race in the light conditions. Foolishly, all but one of the fleet decided the top mark was a way down in Children's Bay and sailed twice as far as needed! However this “B” fleet made it to the finish, first in was Mel Selwood in his Frostbite. Three Shellbacks had a blanket finish squeezing over with the massive Shi of Tim Herbert
Many retired for lunch but a group of small boats went “cruising” out in the harbour monitored by Russell France in Arnold, our official pick-up boat. It was a magnificent sail with a moderate breeze and flat water. One lone rower got carried away and vanished down towards Takamatua, not to be seen until early evening, much to the consternation of the Safety Officer who had one skipper not signed off on the safety sheet.
Our wonderful caterers, Gary and Heidi Brittenden, did us proud with crayfish, farm meat, new potatoes and salads – there was plenty for all. We were entertained and enlightened after the meal by Ray Shoebridge, Neil McLennan and others. It was great to hear their take on the Akaroa Cruise ship activity and development of Lyttelton Harbour. Martin Welby gave a very interesting talk on the building of his skin Whitehall pulling boat Something Different, Nikki Welby put this work in progress through its paces – the translucent skin looks quite spooky in the water!
Sunday was quite a different matter weatherwise, a blustery NW with a promise of gales later! Only one boat sailed across to the Tikao Boating Club for a BBQ lunch; Neil McLennan’s Pathfinder Kaiarahi. The skipper and crew had a bumpy trip over and an even more exciting ride back under just jib and mizzen.
Our grateful thanks to:
Prize List (Judge Paul Pritchett)
Whaler’s Trophy – Best boat overall
Vanquish – (Gentleman's Launch) Dave Deavoll
Best sailboat – new build
Okey Dory – (Shellback) – Wes Purves
Best power boat – new build
Vanquish – (Gentleman’s launch) Dave Deavoll
Work in progress –Whitehall pulling boat
Something Different – Martin Wellby
Restoration – power boat
Keeper – Dave Johnson
1st Parade/Race (sail)
Val Marie – Melvyn Selwood
1st Parade/Race (rowing)
Something Different – Nikki Wellby