Aoraki Dragon Boat
Association (Inc)
Christchurch, NZ

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Canterbury venues

Pegasus - Canterbury's new satellite Town

Aoraki is always interested in other water courses that would be suitable for hosting the National Championships or South Island Invitationals etc. Another fantastic venue is the man-made lake north of Christchurch, developed by 'Infinity Investment Group'. The new 'satellite town' of Pegasus is just north of Woodend so it is about 25 minutes drive from Christchurch (see the map below). Aoraki 'christened' this lake on Sunday 21st February 2010 with the "Early Bird Regatta"

Main lake

Pegasus Lake is a man-made recreational lake, about 700 m long, with many bays and beaches. It has over four km of shoreline with diverse on-shore environment featuring beaches, parks and walkways.

However the open racing area is just over 540 m which is perfect for 500 m race. While boats have to stop fairly quickly, this is no different from nearly any other venue (including Auckland and Wellington Harbour racing, Darling Harbour or even Racice in Prague).

The Lake is about 85 m wide at the narrowest. The edges of the lake drop off fairly quickly (about 30 degree gradient) to a massive 5 m deep along most of its length - this doesn't sound like much but it's a pretty long way down, even when the lake is drained! So the narrowest section will probably be about 75 m (once the water reaches, say, 2.5 m deep), which would allow for six lanes of 12.5 m each. Click here and here for photos...

There is a small island at the southern end of the course. Teams must NOT take a boat around this island as the small bridge on the eastern side is dangerous to navigate. Several experienced sweeps have caused costly boat damage trying to paddle under it. See the "Exclusion Zone Map".

Turns in longer races (such as a 2,000 m race) are done in the main part of the lake. Such a race generally starts by the "Yacht Club" in front of the Swing Bridge (bottom of the map), and runs up the right hand side toward the "Lake Pavillion" at the top end. Turn left around a buoy, run down past the "sandy beach" and jetty, turn around a buoy abeam the Yacht Club then back up the main lake (again keeping right) around the top buoy and back down to the finish line by the Yacht Club.

Super 12 races (click for a map) are sometimes run on the main lake. Earlier regatta had these 250 metre races starting from the top beach and finishing half way down the lake. But since about 2011 the start line is generally run from the middle. That is, the start line is just north of the point at the southern end of the "Sandy Beach". Teams race down to the standard Finish Line abeam the 'Yacht Club'. And the famous Le Mans races are run in a diagonal across the lake, finishing literally at the feet of waiting paddlers and spectators on Kings Beach.

Pegasus developments.
Seagul-eye view

Aerial shot, looking south over the town with Christchurch in the distance. Above photo is courtesy of

Incidentally, Pegasus 'town' looks spectacular from the air at night - at time of first writing, (July-09) there was not much housing, but the street lights show an orderly pattern, reminiscent of "crop circles"! Or is it the Pentagon?!

See below for larger version
Plans for Pegasus Lake
Approximate dimensions

Other venues:
Lake Pegasus, North Canterbury
Kaiapoi River, North Canterbury
Lake Roto Kohatu near Harewood airport
Kerr' Reach, Dallington, Christchurch
Owles Terrace, New Brighton, Christchurch
Lake Hood, Tinwald/Ashburton
Buller, Westport
Dunedin Harbour
Queenstown Lakes area

Layout and amenities:
For the first regatta, teams set up their tents at the 'top end' of the lake on the right hand side (ie north east). See above map where it says "Lake Reserve" next to "Sandy Beach". Other regatta have had teams in tents around the Yacht Club/Swing Bridge.
The finish line is adjacent to this area (just before the "Lake Pavillion") giving teams a great view of the finishes.

The start line (rope starts) is usually from the beach at the top of the lake, although sometimes 250m races may start in the middle of the lake.

A convention centre is planned for the area.
Grassy banks (with flat areas for crew tents) give very good race views.


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