clausen craft launchAt last the water is back at Goolwa! Two years ago there was no water and boats were high and dry. This time the barrage is open and the river is running free. Apparently the depth of the mouth of the Murray is about 60 feet. Something we were not used to at Goolwa was a current and that made the yacht racing very interesting in what was already a tight course. A couple of collisions resulted.

During the drought the council has taken the opportunity to rebuild the board walk and moorings. They now have floating finger wharves which made mooring much more convenient, although with about 250 boats registered, mooring space was still at a premium with many boats rafted up. This was a little interesting during the speed boat roar through, when a lot of fending off was done.

Emma-Jane, powered by Stuart TurnerI went to Goolwa by myself with Curlew this time as Jenny was busy with other commitments. After not being in the water since Nagambie Curlew was dry but a regular sprinkling with water during February meant she had taken up nicely and I only pumped out twice over the whole weekend.

As usual I kept the Honda engine discreetly covered but word got around and there seemed to be quite a lot of interest in an alternative power plant. So on Sunday I had a prominent mooring and decide to display the engine. This created a great deal of interest from people who did not have old engines or had unserviceable engines and it is a way of getting a boat mobile without simply tacking an outboard on the back.

On Saturday night I decorated Curlew with fairy lights and my temporary navigation lights and headed off to the fairy light parade. Along the way I was pulled up by the waterways, and prevented going further as I did not have a masthead light. With red and green and a stern light I did not think a masthead light was necessary but any way he would not let me participate, so I motored back to the caravan park disappointed.

raftingBoats attended from most states including one built in Kalgoorlie about 600 km’s from the nearest water, and Putt putts abounded with lots of Stuart Turner engines and a few Blaxlands, a Sachs rotary marine engine, Simplex and other brands. Fellow WBA Vic members Chris and Glenda Athey attended with their steam launch Firefly. Armfield slip have restored a “Clausen” powered by a Clae bantam engine in the last year which look very smart.

Overall this was a great festival with plenty to see and lots of on water activity. It was great to see support again now the water is back. The next festival is 2013, so why not plan a holiday in South East South Australia and include the festival. The Goolwa North caravan park has a little channel into the river and I was able to launch from the park and travel by boat to and fro each day.

David Stott

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