We Buy a Boat

One day I wandered down to the beach to watch a yacht race that was in progress. It was thrilling to see these twenty odd foot boats perform in the very stiff breeze. As they came in close to the beach to round a buoy, you were able to see all the action taking place, and hear the screams of excitement. I thought, ‘This is for me’. ‘And it’s a sport that all the family can participate in.’ At this stage we didn’t know about getting ice cold water sloshed over us from time to time, or all the other bad things that can happen to you while learning to sail a small boat well. I went home discussed it with the family, immediately we all visited the library, scanning Auckland papers, studying closely the ‘Boats for Sale’ columns. We were looking for a Fibre Glass Trailer Sailer. We finally found an 22 foot boat that suited us, manufactured by Aquarius, second hand, but completely refurbished. So off to Auckland we went, to trailer it back home to Queenstown. Beth came with me, and we did the whole operation over a long weekend, but the trip was not without incident. On our return, about Mid North Island in the dark we came to an overpass, which was concealed from our view, only to find four or five men in white suits all running around painting yellow and white lines on the road. I was going far too fast to stop, also there was the big truck rig that was closely following us. I knew I could possibly ‘jack knife’ our trailer if I made any sudden move. So hand on horn, I just I just ploughed on, right through their wet paint job. Scattering, series of orange cones, workmen and notices and all. Beth said, ‘Are you going to stop Dad’? I replied ‘No way’, ‘We have no friends back there.’ The valiant still had traces of yellow and white paint in the engine compartment when I sold it twenty years later. Ian Faulks said to me on relating the incident, that he did much the same thing just out of Invercargill. But he ended up with a traffic cop on his tail, but after inquiring what charge? The cop couldn’t think of one that fitted the deed and dropped the matter.


The next incident came at the Wellington Wharf where there was an employee, who all from Queenstown yachte’s had named ‘God’. He just didn’t like ‘Queenstowners’ or their sail boats, and on the wharf he wielded immense power. Admittedly there had been a procession of boaties from Queenstown as the sport gained in popularity. All Yacht club members, it would seem had experienced difficulties with this man. One of his purposes in life, it would seem was to make life troublesome for us. On our arrival he immediately declared we didn’t have a booking. We did. Anyway, we wouldn’t have allowed for the mast overhang. We had. Let’s then go to the Office and sort the matter out. It’s shut. He then parked us in splendid isolation at the head of a adjoining lane. As I sat in the dark and rain, I plotted my revenge. As the parking area filled I took a torch and went down the long line of unsupervised cars. I rapped on all their driver’s windows, shone the torch into their eyes and told them in an authoritative manner, parking arrangements have been changed. Please turn your vehicle around and park behind the Valiant and yacht. It took about five to ten minutes for the message to sink in, but slowly the whole park turned around, after much confusion and manoeuvring, they all formed a line behind us. If God was surprised when he returned from his cubby hole, he didn’t show it. At sailing time flagged us onto the Ferry first. We arrived home without further incident, unloaded all the cabbages, cauliflowers, onions, and other vegetables from the cockpit that we had purchased very cheaply at Pukekohe, around our neighbourhood, and went to bed. Our boating adventures were about to begin.



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