Another successful Event in the history of the Great Race, although numbers were slightly down in Seagull boats the fleet was bolstered by the addition of the “Bathtub Racers”, they staged there own event in conjunction with ours, right through to the dinner and prizegiving.
Friday started with the slow trip to Karapiro, caused by large amounts of “jaffas” escaping the confines of the big city to spread themselves far and wide, arriving at Karapiro we were reunited with old friends and a few new ones. My first stop was the lake front to scope out competitors and check out the “bathtubbers” setting up their machines, of course thats where I found Raoul acting like a tourist asking “jaffa” like questions of the “bathtubbers”, little did they know the X6 bathtub was comfortably packed away waiting.
Scrutineering ran very smoothly in the hands of Raoul, we got through 25 boats in short time, Seagull Racing has come along way, with well prepared boats , motors and ample spare parts being carried by the competitors... once upon a and time you lined up 3 motors that ran and took them all, so you could cannibalise your way to the finish, now it is one motor, springs, plugs etc and away you go .
Among the new boats this year was Cam Sutherland who arrived with the epoxy still “tacky” for scrutineering, this year he had a good safe skimmer with a 4.5 hp which unfortunately let him down on the 2nd day, .. next year Cam, ...also among the new boats was a particularily beautiful green “wave piercer” modelled off J.J.Sauers record holder from Bermuda, J.J “s boat is 32 ft, the NZ version is 22ft and powered by a 4.5 hp Silver, the proud owner Terry Carter had obviously convinced his wife Adrienne that this was a great promotional tool for their busines, as they had both lovingly spent many hours building, sanding and painting, alas mechanical preparation let them down, on starting the “beast’, Terry rammed the dam, apparently we have a directional problem associated with the steering, never mind Terry you’ve got 12 months to get the boat to head in the direction you turn the wheel, but for his efforts Terry walked away with the “Hard Luck Trophy”.
The 2.5 hp modifieds went off at 8.30, Jim McAustin leading the way in his 22 footer lovingly painted by his granddaughters, averaging approx 10mph he broke the long standing record of Bill Bartle set in 2000 well done jim ... preparation and testing ....theres the proof
Our visitors included Olaf Eidevik from Norway who can just remember a Seagull that his father had just after the war, Olaf carved a beautiful Viking head for John C’s boat, every kid around photographed the serpents head, our other visitor was a “reject’ NZer from Australia, Shaun Hewson arrived in town about 2 weeks before the event, went to a secret preparation camp in Whangarei, turned up ran second in dinghy class, behind the old master Graham Keagan .. well done Shaun see you next year.
Modified Dinghy saw Ian Aitken lead Al Ward home, Ian by now is a practised campaigner who prepares so well, time to lift it up a notch Ian and give that record a shake, Al with a new boat this year, next year should see you keep them honest Al.
Ross Leger headed “Kneeling” Pete Nottman home in the Open class, all boats recording impressive times on day One .. but the wind against the tide on the second day put the times out for a lot of the slower classes
Bermuda Classic class saw a new team in contention, Jason Baird and Eugene Phillan took the honours over veteran campaigners Graham and Lorraine Hallen, the margin was 1 min 25secs after 88 miles hows that for nail biting racing, the International Bermuda Class was taken by John Crighton, crewed by Olaf Eidevik, after warning competitors of the dangers of sandbanks, I demonstrated my skills of mounting sandbanks whilst closing in on Andy and Holly Murray, Andy must have ‘speeddialled” every competitor in the race, as I was congratulated by one and all at the end, Andy Murray known as “Tinker” on the SOS site couldnt stand the rattle of the stator plate, so under instruction from daughter Holly he tried to tighten the locator pin to reduce the rattle, until finally ........ you guessed it, he crushed the top bearing and seized the motor, never mind Andy beautiful boat though.
Phil and John Hollins overcame their first day problems to take the Regatta trophy, well done
Our continual struggle with the folks from Mighty River Power, may have been raised to a new level, this year they flooded the pool area after midnight, raising the levels to the point that all the boats at the bottom of the dam floated , luckily night watchman Rex Charlton, was on hand to ensure none of the boats made an early start ... thanks Rex, soon after that a couple of the local ‘plebs” delivered him a refrigerator from the top of the dam , narrowly missing a couple of boats, dangerous stuff this Seagull Racing, we passed the refrigerator next morning in Hamilton, caught in the willows
I think the incident that deserves perhaps the biggest round of applause is the efforts of our very own Rev Phil Bennett and his intrepid Rescue Boat crew, “human fender” and forward hand Peter Elliott, Reece Taylor,[unsure of Reece’s status ]... running out of fuel 50m before the pylons which support the bridge and mark the finish line at Rangiriri, Peter was dispatched to the bow to fend the boat off the offending pylon that was looming square on the bow, Peter bravely took his position on the bow with his back to the cabin front , legs outstretched,..... next there was an almighty crash and Peter was compressed to half his normal size, Reece is peering nonchalantly over the stern, wishing he wasnt there, while Rev Phil retained his Captains pedestal and nonchalantly waved to the assembled Finish line spectators,what else could you do? I think a second rescue boat was dispatched, captained by the Revs grandson to bring the shortened Peter Elliott and his helpers ashore, Peter has an appointment this week to get all his trousers shortened by 2 inches so the cuffs dont drag on the ground.
Next morning to ensure the bridge pylon was still in the same position, Rev Phil, Reece and a yet to be identified midget were observed pushing the pylon from the downstrean side for about 20 mins , when questioned about their intentions, they said they just wanted to ensure the bridge was in the same position it was yesterday, “just keeping things tidy”they replied.
This year saw the first electric start seagull on the Waikato, i think it was Paul Gilchrist that demonstrated this remarkable engineering feat, Im sure the trend will catch on and Seagullers from all over will clamour for the manufacturing rights ... well done Paul,.... looking through the list Mark McMurtry returned with his triple surfboard pack, this year with a dodger on front, between him and Pete Nottman it is a toss up as to who does the trip the hardest way possible, I think Mark, as he takes longer.
I announced at the prizegiving that next year 2013 was to be the 30th Anniversary ... searching back through the older records I find I have made a terrible mistake, the Otaua Boat Club was established in 1985, so that means we are 2 years away from our 30th trip, on announcing to Bruce Lorhan and Charles Large after this years race it was the 30th next year , they both indicated they would attend next years event, I hope this doesnt put them off and I’m sorry for the misinformation.
Hope to see you all next year ... dont forget for event updates contact the regattaevents website ... cheers John C
Hi John and fellow Seagullers thankyou John for your rendition of the Great Race 2012 however I must set the record straight I was not despatched to the bow my amazing powers of deduction and speed of summing up the situation that was about to happen prompted me to move to the bow with boat hook in hand when I saw the enormity ( Bridge ) of the Problem I knew the only course of action was to use my No 14’s Boat Shoes to cushion the impact. The rest of storytelling is completely true.
Cheers & Thanks
Make it idiot proof and someone will make a better idiot.