Race changes tack but still hon­ours Hay

Central Otago Mirror - - WANAKA FEATURES - By DEB­BIE JAMIESON

For the first time in its 34-year his­tory, Wakatipu Yacht Club’s an­nual Don­ald Hay race is hav­ing a change of course. The race hon­ours the first Euro­pean to nav­i­gate Lake Wakatipu from Kingston to Queen­stown in 1859 and is a high­light on the club’s cal­en­dar. It in­volves about 30 boats sail­ing to Kingston on Fri­day be­fore the big race on Satur­day. How­ever, club mem­ber Mel Gaz­zard said due to the clo­sure of the Kingston Cafe and Bar, which tra­di­tion­ally ac­com­mo­dated the club, the race had been changed to a Glenorchy to Queen­stown event. ‘‘It’s still com­mem­o­rat­ing Don­ald Hay’s jour­ney,’’ he said. While the trip was an ad­di­tional two or three kilo­me­tres longer, it was likely to be quicker than the Kingston race, which took five to six hours but some­times all day. ‘‘We typ­i­cally have a lit­tle bit of light air and we of­ten run out of wind when we come up by Ce­cil Peak. ‘‘But the pre­vail­ing wind is com­ing down the lake [from Glenorchy] so it could be quite a quick one.’’ He pre­dicted some yachts could be back in Queen­stown within three to four hours. Of course, Hay moved at no such speed. In Kingston he found an aban­doned Maori reed raft, fixed a mast and used wool blan­kets as a sail. He took sev­eral days to reach Queen­stown.

Photo: NIKKI JACK­SON

On course: Com­peti­tors in last year’s Don­ald Hay race be­tween Kingston and Queen­stown. This year the course has been changed.

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