NZ Antique & Classic Boatshow, Nelson Lakes
Bootlegger, Belvedere, Blondie, Bel Air and Baby Cham – if your boat name begins with ‘B’ you could find yourself among these past winners at the NZ Antique and Classic Boatshow at Lake Rotoiti in the Nelson Lakes National Park on March 3 & 4.
Organiser Pete Rainey says after eighteen years the format will stick to the ‘tried and true’.
“Why change when people love what we do? The displays on the land in the morning are an opportunity to swap restoration stories and pore over the detail of the hardy clinkers, classic yachts, cedar kayaks, veteran jetboats and replica steam-boats on display,” he said. “Then it’s time to take your picnic to the foreshore and watch the fun of the sail-past, the races for each category and the usually humorous ‘Le Mans’ beach start to the Seagull dinghy race.”
This year Rainey and his co-organiser Glenn Common will officially launch their immaculately restored racing hydroplane Elray III. Rainey says the restoration of the rotten and engineless hull discovered in Hokitika was a ‘mad but extremely interesting labour of love’.
“When Elray was built in 1967 she was the fastest boat in New Zealand and featured on the cover of Seaspray magazine that year. What’s really special is that we have the original driver, Jon Jarvie and his wife, the daughter of the original owner, Jock Appleton, coming down from Auckland to see Elray on the water.”
Rainey says the massive restoration was a community effort helped by Peter Stillwell and Richard and Donald Walker. Elray is now resplendent in her original colours and is powered by a big-block Chevy.
“Part of our motivation is the potential we see in New Zealand to get a historic race circuit going,” he said. “This has become huge in the USA and right now we know of six other racing boats being restored, just in the South Island.”
Judging of the boats will take place on Saturday, ahead of an evening awards ceremony at the Alpine Lodge. At stake is the Jens Hansen Trophy where the judges are after good looks as well as history, construction and a boat with a story to tell. Other awards include prizes for best new restoration, best steamboat, best jet-propelled craft and best themed display, as well as prizes for race winners.
All boats will be checked for noxious aquatic weeds, and oil leaks before entering the water; and boaties are reminded to be aware of minimising the spread of didymo. Reminder: DOC has released Kiwi into the National Park very close to where the show takes place, so no antique and classic dogs please!