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Christchurch South and Lakes
Out from Christchurch is Banks Peninsula. A picturesque place,
very hilly with mainly gravel roads. Take your long boards,
picnic, spare tyre etc. and explore the many little bays which
surround the peninsula - and don't forget to check the weather
report of course. or for a real thrill tekw a jet boat ride along
the lower reaches of the Canterbury Rivers.Starting inland, the
two main lake locations are Coleridge and Clearwater. Closer to
the coast is lake Ellesmere and the Christchurch estuary. Just
around from the estuary we have Sumner, and the other beaches
along the coast north of Christchurch. Over the hill from
Christchurch is Lyttelton Harbour, and slightly further away is
Dial-a-forecast: 0900 999 33 / 0900
Info Centre: Cnr Worcester &
Oxford Tce. Ph 03 379 9629
- Ski Windsurf City, 64 Manchester St. Ph 03 366 6516
- Windsurf. Warehouse, 25 Humphries Drive. Ph 03 384 4479
Access: Via Magazine Point. Rig
by the toilets by the boat ramp. Launch over the rocks. A
small grass rigging area.
Wind: NE = flukey close in but good 200 m
out, SW = patchy but OK.
Water: Good ocean swell
Watch: Your fin when launching over the
rocks, ferry traffic!
In Detail: If harbour blasting is for you,
then so is Lyttelton. Good harbour swells develop after a day
or two of good easterlies, and it general blows about 5kts
more here than at the estuary. There are several places in
the harbour to launch from, the two main one's being the
yacht club at Lyttelton, and a small car park at Chartris bay
on the other side of the harbour. Chartris bay is near the
head of the harbour, so is tidal, but has a slightly longer
range than the estuary. Launching at Lyttelton is a big
problem. You can't sail right from the yacht club ramp as it
is quite sheltered, instead you have to clamber over 44gal
drum size boulders, throw your gear in the water, and then
water start. To make life even more difficult it is quite
gusty for the first 100-200 meters from the shore, right
where most of the yacht traffic is. Once you're out though
it's worth it. Good clean breeze, large swells, and
relatively few obstacles to avoid.
Akaroa is a quaint little township about an hour
and a halfs drive from Christchurch. It's worth going there
even you don't intend to go sailing. It was originally
settled by the French, but the Brits soon stepped in and took
over. The harbour itself is quite a bit bigger than
Lyttelton, about 5 nautical miles across. The best sailing is
had in southerlies. In winter these are cold and wet and not
nice to sail in, but over summer they can be very dry, and of
moderate strength, about 15kts. If you are very lucky, the
local dolphins may swim around you as you sail along. Scared
the s#%t out of me the first time it happened :-) They get
tired very quickly if you sail much faster than about 12 kts,
and will drop away after a minute or two, but it's more fun
if you slow down and let them tag along.
Access: From the SW corner of
the domain. There is a water ski area there, plenty of
parking, grass rigging area and toilets.
Suits: Slalom speed, beginners...
Wind: Any direction is good, S = best, NE =
Water: Flat and shallow, especially by the
shore, full of ducks!
Watch: A lot of banks to lose your fin on!
In Detail: 50km south of Christchurch is
Lakeside domain. This lake is on the coast, is huge, we're
talking a large triangle shape, 25km at the base, about 10km
high. The strange thing is that it is very shallow, at
lakeside, there aren't many areas deeper than 1.5m. In a
westerly, it gets even shallower as the water is pushed to
the far side of the lake, in fact sometimes it is not
possible to sail at all. The water is very muddy but warm.
Easterlies don't often make it to the lake as they have to
move around the peninsula, and unless the air is very dry,
and it has been from the east for a couple of days it just
doesn't make it. Southerlies would be good, if you caught the
front, but very cold. Lakeside is, basically speaking, out in
the country-side. The nearest shops (service stations,
dairies) are about 5km away at Leeston. Ellesmere is
definitely the place to go in westerlies if Coleridge and
Clearwater are too far away and you're not into wave-sailing.
3 LAKE COLERIDGE (ROYTON BAY)
Access: 1 hour 30 min. drive
from Christchurch, access is best from the Rakaia Gorge (
better than the west coast road). Drive over the farmers
property and don't forget to shut the gate!
Suits: Slalom, beginners...
Wind: W, S, E are good. The wind can go from
nothing to 40 knots as it funnels through the gorge.
Water: Flat - 1m chop.
Watch: That you have a good wetsuit, it gets
In Detail: (Dean) This is an inland lake
about 1.5 hours drive from Christchurch, not far from Mount
Hutt. It's about 10km long, 2-3km wide, and located in what
was once a glacial valley. When the norwest's blow this is
one of the best places to be (provided you can water-start).
The wind gets up to about 30kts and isn't quit as gusty as
down on the plains. In these conditions a very sharp 1m swell
builds up, excellent for jumping.
I've only sailed at one place on the lake, Ryton bay, half
way up the northern shore, all of which is by the way of an
un-sealed road. You turn off this road about 100m before the
Ryton river bridge - the maps show the turn off nearly 1km
earlier. The stretch of road/track from the bridge is across
farm land so normal courtesy should be observed i.e. leave
all gates as you found them. If you intend staying the night
it's probably best if you check at the farmhouse, back where
the maps say the turn-off should be. There isn't much there,
a dozen caravans owned mainly by fishermen.
Two other spots can be used, the very top (western) end of
the lake, probably very flat speed sailing. The bottom end of
the lake apparently gets bigger swells than Ryton bay. The
lake also gets the easterlies, but no where near as strong as
the norwest, and it's a long way to go when locations closer
to Christchurch offer better conditions in an easterly.
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