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South Island IRB Champs  Taylors Mistake 1st Mar 2003


Chris' report

These were held at Taylors Mistake SLC Christchurch in simply atrocious
conditions.  The South Island had beautiful weather all week but things had
deteriorated over night on the Friday.  We arrived at Auckland Airport to
hear the tail end of a message that said if we couldn't land at Christchurch
we will fly back to Auckland.  Great!  The captain made an announcement as
we neared Christchurch say that there was fog and we would go into a holding
pattern for 45 minutes and if it had not cleared we would fly back to
Auckland.  About 40 minutes into the holding pattern the captain came back
and said we would keep trying and if there was no success we would land at
Wellington and get link flights from there.  However magically a gap
appeared and we landed.   By that time we were over an hour late but when we
got to the beach one race had been completed and they had put things on
hold.  Although there was a break behind the surf and the buoys had been
laid the conditions were seriously bad.  We meanwhile went to Mark Nevin's
house where we were staying and had breakfast and added several more layers
of clothes and returned to the beach.  This was the one time when it would
have been good to have had the video camera but thinking it was going to be
flat water racing we just took the ordinary camera.  Whilst we were all
milling around Spencer Park ordered a boat which was the bright spot of the
morning.  Team Managers' meetings were being held at frequent intervals and
after lunch a vote was taken to give it another go.   Peter Gibbons, the
carnival controller, with the backing of Mark Weatherall, Dave Hickey and
Brett Wilson, was emphatic that great care must be taken - no heroics - back
off and wait.  The competitors consisted of teams from Brighton, New
Brighton (who went home), Spencer Park, Sumner, St Clair, St Kilda and East
End - Andrew Cronin was doing a course in Dunedin and borrowed a boat and
engine and crew so that he could compete.  The first sets of races were the
Senior Single Rescue from the heats to the finals.  All went well until the
women's race.  The race started and in not very big surf the girl acting as
crew in the Spencer Park team was seen to take off inside the boat - no feet
in the foot straps or holding onto the crew handle - just the bow line.  The
boat returned to shore and it turned out that the crew person suffered a
broken tibia.  She is only 15 and I have to say she would be one of the
bravest people I have seen.  No crying, screaming anything.  We heard later
she had to have pins and screws put in and was operated on that night.
After this the decision was made to abandon the whole meeting.

The prize giving was held in the Salty Dog bar at Sumner and although there
were not many medals to present there were lots of spot prizes and everyone
was in good heart.