Rob Ripley had done a great job of keeping everyone informed about arrangements and so a goodly flotilla arrived for the Saturday. Boats were launched and sailed across Lake Wendouree to the display area. The organisers had supplied posters identifying each of the boats. The weather was fortunately fine and provided good sailing with winds that challenged the sailors from time to time. Your president had two attempts at getting to Ballarat. Well on the way in the morning, the transmission went on the car and so it was a tow back to Glen Waverley and a new start which finally saw Bluebelle sailing in to the show mid afternoon. Saturday night was a great social affair at the Black Hill Hotel, a highly recommended venue for a good meal.
Sunday was a day of beautiful weather and there were 11 boats on display when Peter Batchelor and his crew arrived mid morning, followed by the arrival of Leigh and Kerrin McNolty in their Mirror. The day was spent listening to the folk music from the nearby music stage, enjoying the cuisine and sailing up and down the waters near the festival as well as out on the lake. There were times when it was almost a case of Swallows and Amazons when sailing down through some of the paths cut through the long reeds. Lake Wendouree certainly provides a variety of sailing experiences. The day closed with a gathering at the camping ground with much camaraderie, tall tales and cowering from the brisk wind blowing up from the south.
Monday saw the weather less clement and with threat of heavy holiday traffic hovering over our heads most of the boats packed up and headed back to Melbourne as the focus of the festival on Monday morning was a large street parade. Rob Ripley, our OOD, stalwart as ever, headed over to the display site towing his Canadian canoe behind Green Bean. The Begonia Festival is definitely an event not to be missed next year.
Our thanks go to Quinton Wilkinson who was the gate attendant and general host for the weekend. We look forward to catching up with him again at the May River Cruise up the Maribyrnong.