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Jagged Rock Surfing - New Extreme Sport

Rocks 3 - R Class 0. Three of the contenders for victory on saturday were severely damaged by unmarked rocks.

Rocks 3 - R Class 0.

Three of the contenders for victory on Saturday were severely damaged by unmarked rocks. Makes a change from the usual method of inflicting damage on a defenceless R Class. Most previous incidents have been via unprovoked attacks from 16foot GRP King Size Double beds (ie Hob$# 16s - need I say more!).

Liquid, Chemical Weapon and 92MoreFM were all seriously damaged after each hitting a different rock. Liquid had dropped their kite, so their damage was not as severe as the other two. One would think that Liquid with their onboard "Sonar Expert", Steve "The Gannett" Fortune, would not get themselves into these sort of difficulties. Mind you... Matt Stetchman, Liquid, and Grant "Nelly" Nelson, 92 MoreFM, had a similar incident several years ago (in Acid Rock) although it was a different unmarked rock.

Fortunately Chemical Weapon did not explode on impact, although the hull integrity was compromised. Steve had to hold the centreboard in the middle of the boat as the casing was shattered. An environmental catastrophe is unlikely, as presumably any toxic materials were contained within the lads wetsuits.

Gryphon's Philip "Asti" Royds later said "I feel so guilty, I knew it was there but never thought to say anything". The three boats are consulting their lawyers.

A letter will also be send to the council suggesting:

  • every rock that could possibly present a danger to an R Class, have an individual marker. Or
  • the entire reef should be surrounded by a "Beware of the reef" fence.
  • Three triangles and a light are clearly inadequate for signalling the presence of underwater hazards - the safety of the R Class squadron does not seem to be a priority to the harbours controlling authority.

We are also making suggestions that some of the shallower parts of the harbour, eg Governors Bay and Charteris bay, have "Cartwheels should be avoided in this area" signs erected, after the infamous Meridian Energy core sample from the 1999-2000 season. This event occurred when Meridian Energy extracted a large sample of the harbour mud with their prod.

This brings issues of violations of the Resource Management Act and environmental impact and whether the R Class squadron have appropriate mining licences. We will be consulting resident environmental expert Dan Wise (Gryphon) on this.

We have formed a Commission of Inquiry to look into the major issues.

These include:

  • Are the R Class navigators adequately trained.
  • Compulsory carrying of appropriate equipment eg depth sounders and charts. (Some of the skippers obviously seem to think a centreboard is an adequate sounding device. Ed.)
  • Inadequate manning - The reduction of manning (down from 3 - 4 crew in the good old days) is leading to the overworking of the crews.
  • Decision making skills - we need to do better than - "It looked ok" or "There wasn't any obvious seaweed" or "S@#t - what was that"
  • Course setting. - Is it wise to use the big light thing on top of the reef as the bottom mark?
  • What effect will these incidents have on Spot Carbon Prices

Hopefully they'll all be back on the water for next Saturday.