Inaugural Whangateau Raft Race

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Heave ho, off they go!It was a motley bunch of buccaneers that took up the inaugural raft race from Big Omaha Wharf to the Rodney Rams ramp on 16 April. Facing 15 knots and an incoming tide, the flotilla dodged cow dung (gives a whole new meaning to poop deck) and flying eggs in the race for a sausage. Cheered on by several hundred landlubbers, the Matakana Fire Brigade’s corrugated-hull entry took an easy victory, followed by “Super Tramp V3.1”. With ciggies dangling and grog in hand, the “Mash” crew huffed and heaved their way to third place, with organiser Errol Murray’s “Mako” vessel clinching fourth. Although the aquadynamically-challenged “Arribbaaa” got scuttled before the start, the shipmates pulled themselves out of the drink and back into the race. Lance Stephens, the winning entry boaterbuilder, will be back next year to defend his title: “I throw down the gauntlet to Oracle designer Tim Smyth!” Well done, me hearties.

Possible photo captions: Winners of the inaugural raft race: Matakana Fire Brigade’s entry “Waka-Whakatongaiwi-o-Matakana” crewed by David Poolman, Jenny Burt, Isabelle Franks & Chris Jensen. The Leigh Fire Brigade lads provide refreshments In the drink with their aquadynamically-challenged “Arribbaaa” Organiser Errol Murray at the helm of “Mako” Suicide is Dangerous: the “Mash” crew