Forty years ago, a little red boat called “Chindit” took to the water for the first time. Little did we what a legacy it would create...
The Name CHINDIT was derived from 2nd World War History of special forces trained in commando methods to infiltrate behind the Japanese enemy lines in Burma. The CHINDIT’s known officially as the Long-Range Penetration Groups, were special operations units of the British and Indian armies, which saw action in 1943–1944, during the Burma Campaign of World War II. The creation of British Army Brigadier, Charles Wingate.
Designed by the late Rex Henry and built by Graeme Wingate CHINDIT was first raced from 1978 to 1982 with Johnson/Evinrude 235 HP engines. Graeme won three class B championships and the overall NZ championship 1981-82 season.
After many victories the ownership of CHINDIT changed hands a few times until 7 years ago when it returned like a prodigal son. Graeme Wingate’s son, Peter Wingate, purchased the boat and set about restoring it to its original glory. After so many years the boat was still structurally sound, a tribute to the workmanship and skill of Graeme Wingate.
Peter says people struggle to believe that it’s the same boat they either raced against or watched race 40 years ago.
A few weeks ago, I attended the CHINDIT relaunched after its restoration was completed. Mounted to the transom was an Evinrude E-TEC G2 225HP HO engine, decked in red to match the sleek lines of the magnificent speedster.
Nothing could have prepared me for what followed. With the nose of the boat pointing skyward as we idled out of the harbor and my GO-PRO hard at work, I asked Peter: "How quickly does the boat get on the plane?" It was an innocent question.
The reply from Peter was to floor the accelerator (we had left the harbour), and things changed instantly. When I say instantly, I mean INSTANTLY! The purring pussycat behind us, suddenly let out a tremendous roar, baring its fangs.
We shot across the choppy water with such acceleration that the G-forces (I should say the G2-forces I suppose) molded me to the seat. I don't know how fast we were going, it was pretty fast, but that was almost irrelevant. The impressive thing was how quickly the boat got there. There was no hesitation from the Evinrude ETEC G2 behind us. I realize that this kind of performance is not accidental, it’s genetic.
You get the sense that these engines want to go, and they want to
go fast. It's in their genes.