The WBA weekend away in Paynesville has always been a winner, so Jim and Penny decided to get there early and enjoy some relaxed sailing and exploration before the main event.  Accordingly, we arrived on Wednesday but alas, the cold, driving rain and very strong winds meant more huddling-in-cabin time than boating.  Thursday was not much better, though the sun shone long enough for a walk along the Lake King trail to Eagle Point.

Jim Penny and Lugger

Friday looked like being a repeat, but a drive out to the Silt Jetties revealed a small and relatively sheltered boat ramp on the Mitchell River, so we returned to Allawah to collect the boat. Geoff had arrived by then and was getting set up to sleep aboard Rufus at the Slip Bight Marina.  He joined us to launch the Lugger and we gently motored upstream some way towards Bairnsdale and then downstream between the Silt Jetties to Lake King, where the whitecaps convinced us not to venture any further. We decided that we had made the right decision after watching a couple of kitesurfers wrestling with their chutes.

Geoff and Rufus Krzysztof and DoloresThe Pigdons and Halloween

Krzysztof and Dolores

The Pigdons (Alex, Stuart, Fiona, Alexandra) arrived on Friday too, staying at Captains Cove, across the canal from Allawah (we waved from our respective porches!). Krzysztof and friend Greg also travelled down after work and set up their cosy camp at Allawah near the cabins and boat ramp.

Greg and cosy campfire

In the morning, Jan and David motored around to Allawah in their beautiful Lakes boat Pisces, and after a short confab, we decided on a round Raymond Island trip, as the wind strength was still a little uncertain.  Lunches were assembled, boats were launched, and the party headed through the canals and along McMillan Strait.  The rain held off and the winds were kind for our anti-clockwise circumnavigation of the island, although the temperature meant more and more layers of warm clothing were needed as the day progressed.  

Jan David and Pisces

Most of us came in by early afternoon, but Greg went off exploring in Jock, his recently acquired sharpie, getting to Metung and points beyond. 

Greg and Jock

We were joined at the pub for dinner on Saturday by Gavan and three friends who had sailed their Hartleys up from Sale, overnighting at Hollands Landing. It was a busy night in the pub kitchen, and we waited a loooong time for our meals.  [Sue, no meat trays were being raffled, they must have seen us coming!]


Sunday’s weather was warmer and perfect for a trip across to Ocean Grange for picnic lunch. The winds were all over the place, veering right around the compass, but we all got there (and back) safely. Gavan and Alan in his Hartley 23 sailed rings around us while we wallowed in wind “holes”, and they eventually disappeared from view.  

Gavan Alan and Hartley23

Jan and David shepherded us towards the channels leading to the jetty, but we still managed to split up and approach from two different directions.  Lunch and a walk across the dunes to Ninety-Mile Beach were the order of the day. 

Lunch at Ocean Grange

The wind had strengthened by the time we left, and we reefed sails and used the motor to get off the jetty.  Those fickle winds meant we shook the reef out within a very short time and then had to contend with umpteen changes of wind speed and direction on the way home. Krzysztof and Greg followed the Paynesville racing fleet towards the Banksia Peninsula and kept going. Later, we convened for a dinner of takeaways down on the waterfront, delighted that Jan Hunt was able to join us and catch us up with her news.

Overall, an excellent weekend that once again confirmed Paynesville a good choice for the weekend away.

Participants were: Jim & Penny (Lugger), Geoff (Rufus), 4 x Pigdons (Halloween), Jan and David (Pisces), Krzysztof (Dolores), Greg (Jock), plus Gavan and the Hartley crew.