Time: June 12, 2014
Location: Antigua Boatsheds
Item: Welcome Aboard staffer, Emma from the Tram office, meets a new Punting on the Avon craft named after her and takes a first ride
Emma the new 10-seat river punt was built by Jeff Walkerden at Ohoka near Christchurch. Punting on the Avon Operations Manager Jamie Storie assisted the construction, gaining sufficient skills to tackle on-going punt maintenance. The skills were nicely timed, with Jeff Walkenden having since departed New Zealand.
Jamie says the punting operation needed a new craft owing to earthquake aftermath damage to two punts, Kate and Otakaro. Kate was able to be repaired. Otakaro was deemed munted.
Jamie decided to name the new craft after Emma, his partner.
But first, he sought advice from long-time punter and former Punting on the Avon owner Wesley Golledge.
“Wesley told me he had never named a punt after a girlfriend or partner. Doing so, he said, could come back and bite me.”
Jamie stuck to his plan and named the new punt Emma.
“I remembered one of our punts, Stella, had been named by a former punter, Luke Bulger, after his partner.
“Luke set a brave precedent and it turned out well. Maybe that is a good omen,” chuckled Jamie.
Emma was treated to a spin on the river, the sole passenger aboard Emma. Then, with punter Adrian in charge, Emma took a full load on her inaugural trip up the river.
Despite the cool, dull Saturday, punting was in great demand with punts loaded with people snug with rugs and hot water bottles. Winter is no deterrent to a guided ride on the river.
Ohoka has a long association with skilled punt building. With Jeff Walkerden’s departure, Jamie predicts a re-think about future punt construction. Ferrymead’s skilled tramcar restorer and wood worker, Graeme Richardson, is presently assisting Jamie with maintenance of the punt fleet. One expects, between them, they could build a punt from scratch. A new punt such as Emma has an expected working life of 10 to 15 years.
“The basics, working with marine ply, are simple enough,” says Jamie.
“It is only in some of the details it becomes complicated.”