The Twin Lakes Marathon Boat Race is “heading towards being the biggest boat race in the South Island”, one of the organisers, Brent Cowles, says.

The race is being held tomorrow and Sunday, on Lakes Benmore and Aviemore.

It is run by Waitaki Recreational and Boating Club, and is in its sixth year. Entries were looking to be on par with other years, Mr Cowles, who is also club secretary, said.

“We usually get around 40 to 42 boats … Only so many people have boats of this speed.”

People came from all over the country to take part, from the North Island to Invercargill, he said.

“There’s a guy, last year, who wasn’t going to race this year, and he’s pulling the boat out to come down from Nelson, particularly for this. He loves the environment – the lakes are pretty stunning at this time of year.”

The event is one of several held around the country, under the governing body of the New Zealand Boat Marathon Commission, with each club running its own event.

Tomorrow’s racing starts at 11am. The boats race on Lake Benmore, from Sailor’s Cutting to Ohau C, and back again.

“So it’s almost like a drag race, I guess. Get there as fast as you can, stop and come back.”

The Sunday racing took place on Aviemore.

“That’s a great day for spectators from Parsons Rock, because they can see the boats come straight up past you multiple times. We set a different course every year .. but they generally race for a couple of hours,” Mr Cowles said.

Mr Cowles said the lakes were closed to recreational boaters while racing was on.

“Just for safety … you can imagine 40 boats doing 100km-plus an hour, come around the corner and there’s someone sitting in front of them.”

But the event was not just for the serious speedboats, there was also the nominated speed race, which was more family friendly, he said.

Entries would be taken on the morning of the event, although earlier entries were preferred, Mr Cowles said.

A prize-giving would follow each day of racing at the Otematata Eatery, Bar & Lodging.

Mr Cowles was looking forward to the event.

“It’s become a bit of a highlight of the winter up here. It’s now being renowned as one of the better races.”

Funds raised would go back in to the community.

“That’s the whole point of it. To put money back into the Valley, and grow a good solid club.

“As a club we run lots of events around, boats, cars and motorbikes.”

People wanting to enter the race at the last minute could email or phone Mr Cowles on 0275 255 505.