A calm sunny Melbourne winter’s day brought a number of us to Albert Park Lake for a gentle sail, row, or paddle. Others came simply to enjoy the company of fellow wooden boaters. With the successful launching of Begonia, Lyndsay Symons and the Stringybark canoe, on this delightful day, all our efforts at the working bees over the past months were rewarded. All three boats are now looking their brilliant best. However Begonia’s planks had dried out in the maintenance period and she was leaking prodigiously all day.

Save for Frank’s pumps, both muscle and petrol powered, Begonia’s keel may have finished up a bit too close to the bottom of the lake. Nevertheless Frank and Mick took her for a sail around the lake, pumps working overtime. By the end of the day there were signs that the planks were taking up a little. We will see if the leaks have slowed at Begonia’s next launching.

David Gibson took the tippy Stringybark canoe for a precarious paddle and mastered the balance technique, arriving back wet from paddle splash but upright. He then took Lyndsay Symons for a sedate sail on the mirror smooth lake. Rob and Pat Ripley launched the J.S. Ripley and tried out the trailer and rigging improvements Rob has been working on recently. It was great to see them in command of the vessel. Willow the Whisp designed by Steve Redmond and built by Chris Kelly must have achieved the highest speed of any of our boats on the day with some skilled rowing by her builder/owner. Geoff and Jill Carroll’s Bluebelle (a Derek Ellard designed Shimmy) and Kokomo, my old Mirror dinghy, sat on the glassy lake with little perceptible motion for most of the day.

David Stott arrived in his beautifully restored 1920’s Fiat, parked outside the clubhouse and attracted the interest of weekend walkers and joggers on their way around the lake. It has been in the family since it was purchased new by David’s grandfather. An information board propped against the car helps avoid answering the same questions over and over.

Members enjoyed lunch on the club’s upstairs deck, sharing cake and other nibbles over a cup of coffee. Around the table were long term members Andrew Cohen, Alan Chinn, Brian and Jean Taylor. We are privileged to have use of the APYC facilities.

Our next occasion at the lake will be the AGM on 28th July. With some changes to the Committee and developments to how we communicate through our website, we look forward to more days on the lake like this one. It would be great to welcome new participants, develop new friendships and see more boats on the water in the 2013 – 2014 season.

Leigh McNolty

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