The sun was out and the water was calm on Saturday — perfect boat›racing conditions.
The 40th annual Waihola Boat Marathon had spectators enduring the chill of the wind from the waters of Lake Waihola, with a nominated speed event at 11am followed by the ultimate all›out sprint race at 2pm.
Race convener and Milton Boat Club member Ian Spencer said he was excited for racers to get out on to the water.
‘‘This year we’ve got a couple less than usual, but there are 23 boats enrolled, which is great news,’’ Mr Spencer said.
Mr Spencer has been involved in the annual event for more than 30 years.
‘‘This here is the last part of the eight›race series we hold. It’s a great event to end the series and we’ve got many South Island competitors.
‘‘We’ve even got a couple from the North Island, which is awesome too.’’
North Island racer Graham Pike was one of them.
‘‘It’s absolutely great to get down in the South Island for this. I had my first boat race in 1982 and I’ve loved it ever since,’’ Mr Pike said.
‘‘Everyone helps each other out down here. It’s competitive but respectful. It’s always good to win, but sharing the love of boat racing with many others where everyone gets on is bloody good.’’
The nominated speed event was timed on a certain speed the boats would go, where they would accumulate demerits and calculate the overall time it took to lap around the perimeter of Lake Waihola.
‘‘There are about seven race classes, but we want to let people know this isn’t just a competitive race for speedy racers. There are categories for people in their house boats or casual crafts if they’re looking to get on the water and have a go as well,’’ Mr Spencer said.
‘‘It’s the Milton Boat Club’s big event for the year, so we take quite a bit of pride in it. There are about six active members of the club, so we try to enjoy it as much as we can.’’
Full results are expected to be posted on the New Zealand Boat Marathon Commission’s Facebook page.