It was ducks away on Sunday at the 18th great duck race held at Missingham Bridge North Creek.
It was ducks away on Sunday at the 18th great duck race held at Missingham Bridge North Creek. Doug Eaton

Duck race success despite rain

IT WAS great weather for ducks on the weekend, and not much else, so 1000 of them took to the water in Ballina yesterday as part of a fundraising event for the Ballina coast guard.

Ballina Rotary's 18th annual Great Duck Race saw 1000 plastic, yellow ducks bob from west of the Missingham Bridge to a couple of hundred metres up North Creek in quick time, thanks to punishing onshore winds that hurtled them along.

And while it's hard to say whether he planned pre-race to take advantage of the breeze, Lennox Head man Des Milne's tiny yellow charger made the most of the conditions, crossing the line first.

Alstonville's Di Brown took out second place with duck number 390, while Dave Mortimer gave the locals a place on the podium with third.

Cathy Saurine, from Ballina Rotary, said the ducks took to the new race course like, well, ducks to water, after previous years racing in front of the Ballina RSL Club.

“They quite liked their new surroundings,” she said.

But while the conditions were good for the 1000 ducks bought by residents, the corporate ducks stayed dry, with Ballina prawn trawler operator Brendan Puglisi getting the nod for having the best-decorated corporate duck.

Down the road from the duck race, boaties had the chance to see the latest in maritime technology as part of the Ballina Boat and Leisure Show, another coast guard fundraiser.

The coast guard's fundraising officer, Bill Blundell, said about 700 people filed though the exhibition on Saturday to see the latest in leisure craft, trailers and bait and tackle.

While visitors were fewer on Sunday, as the wet weather forced organisers to pull up stumps early, Mr Blundell said there was enough support for the event to become a regular feature on the Ballina events calendar.

“The exhibitors to a man said it was a great idea and that they would be interested in coming next year,” he said.

Boating has become increasingly popular in NSW, with boat registrations increasing from 138,000 in 1991 to 217,000 in 2008.

Meanwhile, government figures show people holding a boat licence went from 248,000 in 1991 to 414,000 in 2007.



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