Boat owner praying for rain

By Kyra Dawson

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Allan Clark on Firefly with his grandson Jordan Roxburgh, 3, holding a toy boat that his grandfather made him. Photo / Stephen Parker
Allan Clark on Firefly with his grandson Jordan Roxburgh, 3, holding a toy boat that his grandfather made him. Photo / Stephen Parker

Most people are hoping the rain will disappear for summer, but one man is hoping it will pour down or he won't be able to sail his boat in the Lake Rotoiti Classic and Wooden Boat Parade next month.

The oldest boat entered in the competition is Firefly which was built in 1882. But right now Firefly is stuck in shallow water.

The owner of Firefly, Allan Clark, has been building boats since he was a teenager. He said a lot of his family had built boats and it had become a bit of a family tradition.

"I enjoy looking at all the other boats especially the small wooden ones because most of them have a good story behind them."

Unfortunately, because the lake is pretty low at the moment Mr Clark feared he might not be able to launch Firefly to get it to the parade if there wasn't a big rainfall soon.

Rachel Jamieson, secretary of the Lake Rotoiti Classic and Wooden Boat Association, said the parade started in 1988 because there were a lot of old wooden boats not being used or appreciated.

"The parade was a way to get the boats up and running and give them something to do and to look forward too."

The event is happening for the 19th time on Saturday, February 6.

There are a lot of boats coming from Auckland and Tauranga for the parade, but most were already in Rotorua.

Committee member Warwick Jamieson said people had a thing about all old things.

"Men like wood because it's something they can work with."

He said the parade was something people looked forward to all year.

"For us it's a family day and an enjoyable summers day on the lake."

Everyone meets in the Okere Arm of Lake Rotoiti just down from the Okere Falls store at 10am with the parade starting at 10.30am.

There were generally about 80 boats in the parade and about the same amount of spectators. So far there were about 47 entries.

The boats all parade in front of the green in the Okere Arm then head off around the lake.

The yachts and dinghies go straight to Wairau Bay, the launches parade through Okawa Bay and then on to Wairau Bay, the fast boats dash to Otaramarae, then Okawa Bay and then to Wairau Bay.

- To enter the event visit www.woodenboatparade.co.nz.

Fun on the water:

Event details
* Saturday, February 6 (Rain date: Sunday, February 7)
* The Pre-Race barbecue will be held on the evening of Friday, February 5.

Prices
* Barbecue - $7.50 per person
* Parade entry - $30 per boat (entries received after January 31 will be subject to a $10 late fee)

- Rotorua Daily Post

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