Race changes tack but still honours Hay
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.
On course: Competitors in last year’s Donald Hay race between Kingston and Queenstown. This year the course has been changed.