Unruffled at regatta

An official's boat on Lake Dunstan is dwarfed by the shower of spray from hydroplane The Boss, driven by Raymond Hart, of Christchurch. Photo by Lynda van Kempen.
An official's boat on Lake Dunstan is dwarfed by the shower of spray from hydroplane The Boss, driven by Raymond Hart, of Christchurch. Photo by Lynda van Kempen.

Mallard ducks shared their "pond" with a host of super-charged craft at the weekend as 34 boats, including Formula 1 and hydroplanes, went through their paces yesterday.

The Lake Dunstan Boat Club two-day regatta attracted boats and their drivers from all over the country, with South Island titles for Formula 1, Grand Prix and hydroplanes at stake on Saturday and mixed field racing yesterday.

Racing took place near Old Cromwell and hundreds of spectators turned up to view the action. Several pairs of ducks paddled nearby on the lake, seemingly unperturbed by the noise and the wake from the racing boats.

Race convener Peter Crowle said it was a great warm-up to the national power boat championships, which will be held on Lake Dunstan for the first time at Easter next year.

"Cromwell's popular because the weather's so settled here.

We've never had to cancel or postpone racing because the water's too rough, " he said.

A variety of craft took part, ranging from 25hp boats in the "feeder" class for younger drivers, to two turbine jet-boats, tunnel boats and F1 boats.

"Some can go from 0-100 miles [160km] in four seconds. There's a lot of money spent here and tied up here, and they're highly-tuned machines," Mr Crowle said.

Seven Cromwell drivers were racing and there was also a dedicated band of volunteers behind the scenes helping to host the event - "we're a small club but we've got a great bunch of volunteers".

The event would also be impossible to host without the co-operation of the St John medical staff, he said.

-lynda.van.kempen@odt.co.nz