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by Keith O'Connor - Gore - New Zealand

Introduction by Pete Salmond

First, you need some background to the article and the "characters".

The occasion is the maiden voyage of a friend's Pelin Empress which had just been completed after a two year build. The builder is Phillip Crump, a single guy of some 50 summers and a fine workman with wood.

The writer is Keith O'Connor, a young chap about 18 years old who has just finished college and is off to university in Christchurch. Keith has exceptional writing skills and perceptions well beyond his years.

Alex Taylor is an aging, retired farmer with exceptional fishing skills, is going deaf but won't have his hearing tested. He has firm views on a raft of subjects that you don't want to know about.

The Salmonds, that is me and my sister on Red Setter as support boat. The group came together from a common interest in model aircraft, fishing and recently boating. We live in the southern part of New Zealand.

Pete Salmond

I live near the town of Gore in the province of Southland. The town is largely a support centre for intensive agriculture with dairying the predominant type. Gore is an ideal centre for boating although the town has no lakes we are only a couple of hours from 6 good lakes and the same from the sea. The local Boat Club has 240 members.

Lessons Learnt

Don't buy a boat. Building one is not a loop hole either; in fact the very distant horizon seen when going down that path is no less bleak than the previous option. When viewed economically buying a boat causes immediate overdraft followed by gradual ransacking of your back pocket and credit account, and there's no HobbyKing bonus credit to redeem back. Building a boat presents similar expenditure to picking a hussy off the street; low setup costs with immediate returns. However this luxury is short lived and much like the unfinished boat she demands more and more. This soon eventuates with you living on the bones of your ass, having already sold the deed to your house and all your models to juniors. Day to day becomes a battle for survival where you must live off scrubbers caught on a thread line trawled behind your unfinished pontoon; don't build a boat.

Such profound knowledge I am now able to impart came from a great deal of life experience gained on lake Te Anau, this did not come cheaply either so you are lucky. I'm willing to offer this at a price lower than even HobbyKing would charge so listen up.

It all began at 6.15am, my alarm ran, that was soon dealt with and I returned to my slumber. 6.45 I woke up with only enough time to brush every second tooth. V-Tech operating at the peak of its efficiency range brought me to Crumps door with not a minute to spare. There it was. And buoy (haha) was it magnificent! Crumps big boat had finally emerged from the shed. Mounted on its aluminum plinth it stood ready and destined for service on the open water.

We can only assume that Crump must have been in desperation when his crew was hand selected. Cabin buoy (haha), that's me, fresh out of high school, had just about as much experience with boats as he did with women, not a hell of a lot then. He only just learnt how to raise the mast. That was a fat load of good anyway as this boat had 200 horses behind it instead and Alex always told me to stay well clear of women with horses. I assume the same applies for boats. So with skills lacking help was needed from the first mate; deaf as a post and by very definition a stick in the mud, Alex.

First up this rac-COON sifted through his smoko and scattered enough crumbs for Crump the start up a bird sanctuary in the back of his Nissan. Soon the day light robbery began as the Nissan sipped on diesel like it was on a Miami Beach. Next up the boat just about required exclusive access to the transatlantic pipe-line and the tarmac got a good dousing thanks to an issue with the boats plumbing. Next was the transaction fee on Crumps fuel card, which was to be doubled when I hang up the pump before the boat's keg stand had toppled. A road trip of Te Anau ensued to find the next gas station without such charges. Then it was the cell phone debacle, or lack thereof. Those past it coots were out of touch with technology so it came down to me. I too was however in the upper Paleolithic era and each text I sent out in search of Salmond cost me 40c. I knew too that we might need to save some texts for our Mayday or SOS.

Now at the boat ramp and ready to make a scene, the boat was backed in and Crump hoisted aboard to start the outboard while Alex reversed the Nissan. Our PA system would have come in handy because with every command from Crump the opposite was done by Alex. The boat was rocking in the waves; they were screaming and shouting all while the bank came closer and closer. At this critical moment the Real Journeys boat induced a tsunami so now I was swamped up to the light house, Alex's wee tootsies were damp and Crump was stuck on a sideways boat that was heading on a collision course with some spectators. Yamaha saved the day and Alex went to park the Nissan. Crump then went to park it again upon Alecs return to avoid a ticket and probably took the alone time to plot the drowning of his crew.

We caught up with the Salmonds on the other side and went into a bay to bait up. Cicadas were everywhere but the only fish were seen in the depths on Pete's fish finder. I heard the Salmonds had also landed 3 but this remains unconfirmed until we get the results back from the electron microscope. The boat was good; it boasted enough room to stow away just about the entire contents of Alecs house, 3 spacious living areas one indoors, one out and one in between. Holders for 4 thread-lines - just in case and it had a decent cruising speed. The best part of the day was then spent cruising from bay to bay, Alex caught a glorified minnow and Crump had some big chasers. Alex thought trawling and thread lining was just about the worst thing since scraped toast and immigration; out of there.

On the other side of the lake I landed a real pounder and Alex walked for miles to no avail. At a river inlet we thrashed the water to foam and the most action seen was Alecs line tangled in my toby and a few rises while we undid the knot.

Landing was as much rigmarole as getting in; the best place for Alec was far away so he was sent to drive the Nissan to a calmer bay. Meanwhile the boat was tossed violently in the rising swells; it turned sideways and scrapped along a big rock - fortunately no damage. Crump and I tried desperately to push the boat away from the rocks and point it in the right direction. But we were stuck between a line of buoys and a hard place trying to do three point turns with a great big boat. Finally some precision piloting by Crump saw us back out in the water and heading to a better landing site where it was hauled onto the trailer on the first go. This was of course after another boat ramp episode with guest stars Pete and Alex; the audio was definitely R18 but I do believe Alex missed most of what was directed at him.

And that was that, a day spent boating. It's a great boat, and it looks fantastic. It made for some great experiences but the best part about it is that it's not mine! Good luck Crump!

Phillip Crump and Alex Taylor in the cabin.
Phill at the helm ready to call 'Mayday " if Alex doesn't stop helping.
Forward cabin area awaits cushions.
Spacious cockpit of Phil Crump's Pelin Empress, " Sandman ".
Keith O'Connor (aka O'Keef). No that is not a lure, it is a fish.
Phil and Alex checking for "hanger rash " after the maiden voyage.
Peter Salmonds support boat Red Setter.


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