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Timaru and Surrounding Lakes
There are several lakes worth sailing on in the South Island.
Facilities are pretty good with BBQ areas and campgrounds, and
there is often plenty of wind especially in the equinox from
September through to April. Winter is a time for getting out your
snow skis, jumping on your bike or heading to warmer climates
Dial-a-forecast: 0900 999 25 / 0900
Info Centre: 14 George St, Timaru.
Ph 03 688 6163
Local Contact: Todd Risman, 81A Morgans Rd.
Ph 03 686 1255
Access: Right in the centre of Timaru by the Yacht
Club. Drive out on the pier (1 km long) Sand beach, ramp.
Best at high tide.
Wind/ S = strong wind and flat water. NW = strong wind and
Water: NE/N = waves up to 2 metres
Watch: Southerlies will carry you out to
Access: 1 hour from Timaru. Toilets and camp ground
at the lake. Best place to sail is at Waitangi Bay - sail
Suits: Slalom. Beginners...
Wind: NW, SE, funnels through, increasing by
Water: Flat - large lake swell.
Watch: Out for the yachties, especially when
they are racing.
In Detail: Another hydropower lake, popular
with coastal sailors for reliable afternoon sea
breezes.Camping on northern lake shore at Te Akatarawa and
Waitangi. Services at Tekapo, Ruataniwha motor camp and Basil
Access: Drive to Mt Somers. 1.5 x 1 km wide lake
with toilets, campground, plenty of parking and grass rigging
areas. Accessable only in summer - go ice skating here in
Suits: Slalom, speed. Beginners...
Wind: NW = light in morning and increasing
to 40 knots in afternoon. SE, E good also.
Water: Flat (at top end) - chop.
Watch: A lot of sailboats. The bird
sanctuary; read the signs.
In Detail: The name says it all! Your sails
come sparkling like they did the day you walked out the shop.
This lake is about 2.5 hours drive south-west of
Christchurch, the last 20km are on un-sealed road.
Considerably smaller and shallower than lake Coleridge, the
water is warmer even though both these lakes are snow feed.
The lake is only about a kilometer across at most, and about
2-3km long. There are some restrictions on sailing sites, as
the lake is also the breeding/nesting ground of the rare
crested grebe (a nearly extinct native of Australia). No
motorised craft or craft over 1000 (something like that) kg
are allowed on the lake, they are restricted to nearby lake
Howard. Relative to Ryton bay there is quit a bit more here,
a lot of batches, and fishermen's huts, it's very popular
with trout fishermen. There is a small camping ground right
on the lake shore, and public toilets also. A personal
account of sailing at Lake
Clearwater is also available.
Similar to Coleridge, being located in another valley, it
works best in a westerly. I've heard it said that if you park
side on to the wind you can't open your door on the windward
side. Short sharp swells develop when it blows hard,
resulting in good chop jumping. It also gets the easterly but
usually not till about mid afternoon, and only at about
10kts. All in all it's a really nice spot, usually a few
local from Ashburton or Methen can be found there, but it's a
long way to go from Christchurch.
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