NZ Antique & Classic Boat Show 2015

By: Media Release

Those who love the fine lines of classic yachts, motorboats and dinghies should head for the Nelson Lakes National Park on the weekend of March 7 & 8 for the 16th NZ Antique & Classic Boat Show.

NZ Antique & Classic Boat Show 2015
The NZ Antique & Classic Boat Show 2015 will take place on 7-8 March 2015.

At 600m (2000ft) it’s the highest altitude boat show in New Zealand, with mountain scenery that makes a perfect backdrop, says organizer Pete Rainey.

"The action is on the foreshore of Lake Rotoiti at Kerr Bay, framed by the twin St Arnaud and Spencer Ranges – it has be one of the most stunning settings for a show of this kind anywhere in world," he says.

"That, and the classic beauty of old wooden clinkers, replica steamers and classy speed boats make this show really something special."

Rainey says after 15 years, the format of boat displays on the land in the morning and races on the lake in the afternoon is well bedded in.

"From early morning on both days of the weekend you can wander around the boats on land, chat with the owners, view displays with stories of restoration and rebuild and then watch the races on the lake in the afternoon," he says.

"We have a lot of fun, from the slightly chaotic sail-past, to the Seagull dinghy race with its Le Mans start, nearly always with a couple of motors that won’t go, then last year we had a surprise entry from a cheeky boatie with two Seagulls mounted on his dinghy."

A recent trend is the return of some of the race-winning speed-boats of the 1960s to the lake.

"This year there is Elray III, one of the fastest boats on the lake in the ‘60s and ‘70s," Rainey says. "The guy who built it with his Dad 50 odd years ago is coming down from New Plymouth to see it again."

Another attraction is the Nelson Lakes Classic Boat Museum in St Arnaud village. Several of the display boats will be at the lakeside on show, but those that are too big to move will stay in the museum. This includes a new acquisition, the cutter Resolution gifted to museum by the Outward Bound Trust.

"It’s a 32ft kauri replica of Captain Cook’s cutters, built in 1976 for the Outward Bound fleet," Rainey says. "It’s a spectacular vessel for its scale, its history and its workmanship – our plan is to have it restored, surveyed and available for community groups to use."

The NZ Antique and Classic Boatshow continues to grow in the number and quality of craft presented, as well as the number of people coming to view the boats and the action. Judging will take place on Saturday, ahead of an evening awards ceremony at the Alpine Lodge. At stake is the Jens Hansen Trophy, awarded for good looks, craftsmanship and the boat’s history.

Other awards include prizes for best new restoration, best steamboat, best jet-propelled craft and best themed display. Races will be held for yachts, row boats, seagull motored dinghies, poppers, canoes, child rowers and swimmers.

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.

Food and drinks will be on sale, the area is adjacent to the Mainland Island bird recovery project, so no antique and classic dogs please; and the fashion advice is not to wear blue, a colour known to attract bumblebees.

Photo by Alan Doak from the 2014 event.

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