Crew battles for win in raft race

16:00, Mar 06 2014
Raft Race
LEANER MEANER: From left: Cameron Scott, reserve Rob Gibbons, captain Campbell Caldwell and Isaac Gibbons. Mr Caldwell says the Preemo Reemo’s cut-down raft is a winner.

It started as a "foolish idea" but the Paremoremo Raft Race has turned into a battle of designs for its plucky participants.

Event organiser Jonny Gritt says he's got 12 teams ready to race tomorrow in the nearly 1 kilometre event.

Now in its second year of running, Mr Gritt "foolishly came up with the idea" to help raise money for Ridgeview Primary School.

The "community aspect of coming together for a few hours and having some fun will raise money for arguably the smallest primary school in Auckland with its 69 kids," he says.

Although there's a model raft race for 10 to 15-year-olds this year, it's the adults who are pulling out all stops for victory at Western Beach.

The Preemo Reemos are determined to overcome their second place drubbing last year by risking it all on a new, untested design.


Team captain Campbell Caldwell says a "leaner, meaner racing machine" was required and the crew has slimmed-down from six to four in a ruthless quest for speed.

Kim Ward and her husband Frank, who run a kitchen design company and are the Preemo Reemos' patrons, say they've used cutting edge technology to build the raft.

"We've used a chainsaw to do a lot of the design work," Ms Ward says.

The raft cost, "absolutely nothing, it's made from items just lying-around", she says.

But disaster was narrowly averted in the construction phase when power tools were built into the hull, Mr Campbell says.

The sleek, innovative catamaran has a half-barrel hull and polystyrene bows, Mr Ward says.

The $200 entry fee each raft team paid will go to the school.

Paremoremo Raft Race, 10am start, Library Point at Sanders Reserve, Sanders Rd. Go to

North Shore Times