80 yachts expected

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About 80 yachts are set to take part at this year’s Aviemore Classic on Lake Aviemore on Saturday and Sunday.
The event, in its 28th year, is the largest trailer yacht regatta held in New Zealand.
Championship races, as well as a fun race, scheduled to begin at 1.30pm, will feature on Saturday.
Competitive races include the Aviemore trailer yacht championship, as well as the Noelex 25 and 22 South Island championships.
The Aviemore Classic proper — the regatta’s main event — gets under way on Sunday and requires competitors to complete two full circuits of the lake throughout the day.
Aviemore Classic convener Laurence Smith said yachts from around the South Island and crews from the North Island would compete, and he expecteda large crowd of spectators across the weekend.
‘‘Every year, sizeable crowds gather to watch the wind fill the yachts’ sails to propel them around the lake to the finish line.
‘‘It’sa really fun­filled two days and there’s always a sense of anticipation from all who take part about what might happen on the water on the day — who will win, who will fall in and the social activities after the races.’’
He said at the height of the regatta’s popularity, about 90 yachts would be on the water.
However,a shift in age demographic had meant there were fewer people taking part and not enough young people to boost numbers.
While it was business as usual for now, Mr Smith, who has been involved with the regatta since 2008, indicated the future of the event could be in doubt sooner rather than later.
‘‘It could be. . .there are very few younger ones that appear to be keen on the sport.’’
He said the best spots for spectators to take in the action were at the top of the lake, near Parsons Rock, or from the Aviemore Dam area.
‘‘The big attraction is the fact it’s unique. When you look nationwide, it’s away from the main centres, so you get a lot of people from around the South Island, and a lot from the North Island come down, too. It’s just a good day out.’’