Meridian Energy Aviemore Classic 2004

This year started like most Labour weekends down at the Otematata boat harbour with the gathering of yachties from around the South Island. For most this is the first time they have used their boat since winter.

The marquee was again decked out with lights, a floor of plywood, kitchen, T.V, heaters and this year a stand alone shower (with hot and cold water). All of this is on a site with no power or water normally available.

The sailing started on the Saturday morning with a series of short races for the sports and class boats on the main part of Lake Aviemore.
As I didn’t race I can’t give a precise report on the racing but at the prize giving that night enough information was given to show that all Farr crews had a good days sailing with Allan Sutherland (Hot-C-Air) and Steve Garland (Kostalott) have a good tussle for the top places with Allan winning the day.

Another crew which was mentioned at the evening was the Hughes Family on Blue Tack; young Sam must have been too warm and decided to have a swim. (His mother did the same thing at the match racing last year.)

A Fun race was held in the afternoon for the social sailors with a pirate theme. Canon (golf) balls had to be placed into a ship at the top mark. This theme carried on into the evening prize giving. The spirit of this event was shown after the prize giving was finished and about 50 odd people sat watching the final of the super 12 on a 20 inch T.V. the score had to be relayed to the back of the room as it was too small to read on the screen.

The weather map didn’t have the usual Labour Weekend look to it, but at the start on Sunday morning there was a small breeze to get everyone started then it reduced to nothing more than puffs.

It took 4 hours to get to the Dam, this is twice as long as usual, but an easterly did pickup just before we rounded to mark to invigorate everyone after such a long time in the doldrums. This easterly decreased the further we went from the Dam and again there was time to watch the hatching of flies on the water surface.

The rounding of the second mark gave us the best wind of the day and an exciting reach made up for some of the idleness that had proceeded. The third mark was the finish line, and also the wind, but due to our poor knowledge of the flags we were not sure and carried on for another ten minutes before we watched other motor away after the mark.

Seventy two yachts started (12 Farr 6000, 1 F7.5 and 1 F 740) nine didn’t finish (mostly though boredom) but the old saying that “the worst day sailing is better than the best day at work” comes to mind.

The first Farr 6000 was Steve Garland (4th overall), Allan Sutherland (5th),William Early (Pepper 9th),John Beveridge (Prime Time 25th).
The prize giving was again well supported and an extremely large prize pool was distributed to both winners and lucky dip draws.

Thanks must go to the Timaru Yacht and Powerboat Club for their organising of this event, which involves a great deal of forward planning. Hopefully with some more forward planning I will see you at this event next year.

Geoff Swan

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