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NZ Antique & Classic Boatshow - Nelson Lakes National Park, March 7 & 8

Sleek cedar kayaks, jet boats from the 60s, clunky clinkers and veteran sailing craft…hours of effort from ‘blokes in sheds’ will be displayed at the NZ Antique & Classic Boatshow at St Arnaud in the Nelson Lakes National Park on March 7-8.

Billed as a weekend of ‘Glorious Hydromatic Relaxation’ there will be displays on land from early morning and races on the lake in the afternoon, both days. Organiser Pete Rainey says even for people who’ve been coming to the show for the past 20 years, there is always something new to see.

“Registrations this year include the 19ft runabout Miss Tahoe from California,” he said. “It’s been restored in Wellington, but the original owner, one of America’s foremost nautical photographers, Steve Lapkin, is coming over to be reunited with his father’s boat.”

The boat show organisers set a somewhat quirky tone with the annual Seagull outboard race, which has a Le Mans start, meaning owners have to run down the beach, hop in, and try to start the notoriously temperamental two-stroke motors.

And there are usually a few quirky entries, including this year, a 1975 Buick Le Sabre classic car, which has allegedly ‘sailed Route 66’ and will appear with its doors taped up, and a motor fitted to the rear bumper.

Rainey says the boatshow has gained a national reputation among enthusiasts.

“In these days of building code compliance, the boat is the last refuge of the backyard builder,” he said. “Owners just love to bring out their replicas and restorations and show them off in the stunning setting of the foreshore and lake at Kerr Bay.”

The NZ Antique and Classic Boatshow is now in its 21st year, and as usual there are boats and memorabilia displays, followed by the sail past and activities on the lake in the afternoon. There are races for all types of craft from jet boats to rowing skiffs, and a swimming race for the hardy.

Judging will take place on Saturday, ahead of an evening awards ceremony at the St Arnaud 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. As DOC has released Kiwi into the National Park very close to where the show takes place, no antique and classic dogs please!

More info at www.nzclassicboats.com

© Scoop Media

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