50 Years of Umko 1966 - 2016 1966 - 2016 - Page 73

the bag Ernie knew had the fat wallet in it, as he had been watching it. This paddler feverishly dived into his bag, found his wallet, whipped it open and counted. With a hugely relieved look he started scurrying off. “Uh, excuse me” called Ernie. “Yes?” “Get your bag?” “Yes” “Everything in it?” “Yes” “Wallet as you left it?” “Oh, Yes! Thank you!” “Our pleasure” said Ernie. Finally they opened a bag and found the source of that very high pong: ©Jon Ivins Two large raw rump steaks! Repairs 1994 - On a high river Charles Mason and Hugh Bland needed running repairs at the overnight stop after a swim in The Approaches. In a bid to save valuable beer time Charles lit a gas cooker to speed up the fibreglass patch’s curing process. Too much heat set the boat alight necessitating a dunk in the river and the process had to start anew. A one-beer patch had became a two-beer patch! But Hugh Raw remembers the incident thus: “One Umko KCC made us walk almost out of the valley to the camp setup at the St. Elmo’s overnight stop (river right). The tent was certainly well above the 100-year tsunami high tide mark! That camp was notable for one other thing. Peacefully patching my slightly mistreated boat in the pound with my partner sitting in a chair giving helpful advice, I noticed Charles Mason come thundering through the group carrying a flaming K2, a fair amount of black smoke billowing out behind him, heading for the river. He had made the classic mistake of hastening the gelling process with the naked flame of a gas stove. Hey, maybe Charles’ long walk to the pound nearer the river tired him, or maybe his imbibing of his namesake lager influenced his hot mix, who knows? He was paddling with Pope that year and had volunteered to put a patch under his seat (on the “you broke it-you fix it” principle), a repair that ended up taking a bit longer than he’d planned! “ Roelof van Riet was neck-and-neck with Paul Chalupsky one year, racing singles. Roelof cracked his boat quite badly but only really looked at it in the morning, and it needed work! He thus only started repairing it 15mins 73 before the start - that put him out of contention. “You’ve got to inspect your boat straight away in the afternoon, Roelie” said the ever-thorough Paul who went on to win that year. Chris Wade had the privilege of paddling three marathons with “Mr Umko”. “In our third race we were in the water at the start waiting for our batch start when Charles in his usual laconic way says to me ‘Shall we make a bit of an effort?’ instead of his usual pre-start question of ‘You’re not in a hurry are you?’ The go is given and we take off like a bullet and are a good 20 metres ahead of the youngsters as we go into the first left/right drop before the approaches to No.1. Down the approaches we go with me wondering how long I’ll able to keep up this pace before I blow when Charles casually announces that we have no rudder. We pull over, haul the boat on to the rocks and take out our extensive emergency repair kit. New piece of cable and connectors in hand and all we need to do is thread the cable through the rudder wheel. Not included in the repair kit is reading glasses and there we have two middle-aged gents trying to put the cable through a small hole we cannot see. “Bright idea! We lift the rudder end of the boat up and face it into the sun. We can now see the cable hole properly and in no time at all we are back on the river. True to Charles’ style we continue at a steady pace and pass many boats before the overnight stop.” Owen Hemingway has provided race-saving riverbank repair services for years, enabling many a paddler who may have had to quit to finish the course. Before him Hugh user-friendly Raw provided repair kit in a little Sprite caravan which his man Lucas used to man. “Lucas could help a bit with technical stuff like how much hardener to put in a beer-can of resin to achieve a reasonable setting time of 60 seconds”. Hugh says he had to buy “a fairly constant supply of sponsor’s product to compensate Lucas for many week-ends away from his several wives and yet the bakkie and caravan always got home in one piece.” One time the caravan failed to arrive at the overnight camp on Peter Krause’s farm, just downriver from Josephine’s Bridge. Loaded to the gunwales with heavy stuff, the drawbar (a little bit rusty) gave in completely and there it sat at a funny angle on this horrendous farm road blocking the traffic. Ernie Alder took over command and amazingly got every nut and bolt and all the urgently needed repair stuff out of the wreck and down to the boatpound. It was a very hot day. Rumours that the resin was setting without addition of any hardener were probably false but it was true that the chopper could not take off until dusk when it had cooled down a bit. Hugh also remembers it as the year that Kenny Reynolds squirted something horrible into his mildly protesting mouth fr om a sheep dosing unit carried on his back. Raw says he almost didn’t swallow the fourth squirt. Reynolds says he had to wrestle the spout out of Raw’s mouth. Kevin Middleton - “spot the mistake!” “My partner was Cliff Sersant Andréws, the original hard man, scary powerful. Also called Softy. Cliff has a minor chink in his considerable armour though: He has been left with an odd kick in his gallop due to being minus the bottom half of his left leg. At the start Cliff went off to Tripper to buy new shoes, cheap and nasty blue and white Taiwan specials.” (This is an important detail, readers). No.5&6 undid them, they swam, they repaired, they walked, they floated. “We eventually finished as the sun was about to go down. Our sorry craft UMKO 50 Years