Paynesville Friday 23rd - Sunday 26th October.

People arrived early, others a bit later and some just popped in for a feed and a chat and were gone again, it was one of those weekends. Yes, it was back to Paynesville for a few days of messing about in boats. The weather was kind (sort of) and the mozzies were rampant around the BBQ time but everyone had a good time.

Formalities kicked off with a visit to the Gippsland Ports & Harbours slip yard at Paynesville on the Friday afternoon where we made ourselves known and were immediately dressed up in brand new fluoro vests, talk about a mob of bright orange sheep. Dave McCaskill, the Boatyard Supervisor, did a great job of herding us around and explaining the yard operations, in between fielding phone calls and disappearing to do what boatyard supervisors do on a busy Friday afternoon just before knock off time.

Afterwards the mob ambled across the road to the Frecheville Heaney yard where Tim Heaney was laying up some resin and glass for a dinghy rudder. Hidden behind a makeshift spray tent was a Riva which was in for some work and there were some oohs and aahs over the gleaming varnish. Some fancied themselves as potential owners and were plotting plans for a quick spin across the lakes.

The tour over, people went back to their cabins at the caravan park and did their own thing; some launched their boats, others tinkered with their boat or just watched others doing ‘boat stuff’. Evening was starting to close in and people gathered for a few drinks outside the cabins and then cranked up the communal BBQ for a feed. Did I mention the mozzies? Quite a few hardy souls invaded the El Presidento’s cabin and continued on a bit. A good start to the weekend.

Saturday saw the early risers out on the water with some opting to do the limbo under the canal bridge instead of navigating the long way around the canals to McMillan Straits. The lakes were flat as a tack with no wind, so last night’s plan to abandon the trip to Ocean Grange was confirmed, instead we would meet on the water outside the Gippsland Lakes Yacht Club and potter about the general area and rendezvous at Sunset Cove at the start of Newlands Arm for lunch.

Everyone who had a craft of some sort made it to Sunset Cove including locals Gary and Margaret Stuart in their tug Tiggityboo, where they anchored offshore. Some deft manoeuvring by Andrew Campbell in his tug Mars saw them jump ship and be transferred to the beach with nearly dry feet. Some of the less nautically inclined did the sensible thing and drove to Sunset Cove bringing the necessary lunch supplies. Local, Colin Hunt, was also there to greet us and much chit chatting and munching on food followed until it was time to make our way back to the cabins and our 4pm appointment with the Paynesville Coast Guard.

The return journey was a bit of a mixture, Jim and Penny sailed off into the blue yonder with some untested modified rigging on their Drascombe lugger, we wondered would we ever see them again? Rob abandoned the seagull and broke out the sails on Green Bean, Leigh co-opted Mick as crew in the mighty Mirror and all of a sudden there was a tacking duel happening. The non-sailors loosely gathered; the canoe was hitched to Chris’s punt and a sort of a convoy then formed with the two tugs and Andrew Cohen’s tinnie discretely tethered to Andrew’s tug. The convoy proceeded on an exploration of Newlands Arm. Seems it was a good thing having the tinnie tethered to the tug’s side as the tug’s outboard had broken a sheer pin, you couldn’t tell who was providing the forward motion. Besides, it wouldn’t have been good form to have a genuine wooden tug being towed by a mere metal boat however you can bet the tug’s skipper appreciated the assistance.

At the appointed hour the WBA crew gathered outside the Coast Guard base and were ushered inside where Peter Foxton, ably assisted by Peter Farrell and Andrew from the Coast Guard, provided an informative overview of their operations, radio protocols and weather skeds and then showed us over their rescue boat, a 7.6m Stabi-Craft with twin 150hps Hondas. A bit of boat envy was happening and you could just imagine opening up those outboards for a blast down to Lakes Entrance.

Dinner that night was at the local Boathouse restaurant and we were joined by locals Colin and Jan Hunt, Graham Holmes and Janet Jones and Gary and Margaret Stuart; the scarlet pimpernel, in the guise of Graham Signorini, even made an appearance before disappearing into the night. Rumour has it that he had been playing with big boats for the last few days ‘somewhere’ on the lakes. It was pretty safe to assume that everyone enjoyed themselves as evident by the constant hum of chatter all night.

Sunday was a bit of a ‘do as you please day’, the weather improved and the energetic Jim and Penny were out and about putting more stress into the new rigging. Others took the opportunity to do a bit of sightseeing, some going as far as the Buchan Caves, others packed up and headed back to their busy lives in Melbourne. A final sundowner session and bbq back at the caravan park wrapped up a busy weekend for the stayers.

Many thanks to everyone attending, who all contributed to a good weekend.

  • David & Jan Gibson (OOD No.1 & OOD No.2)
  • Chris & Sue Kelly
  • Andrew Cohen & Ros
  • Andrew & Hahn Campbell and Kim, Don and Nickie
  • Mick & Linda Bentvelzen
  • Rob and Pat Ripley
  • David & Margaret O’Dempsey
  • Scott Botterill & partner
  • Graham Signorini
  • Colin & Jan Hunt
  • Graham Holmes & Janis Jones
  • Gary & Margaret Stuart
  • Leigh & Kerryn McNolty
  • Penny Braybrook and Jim Stockton

David Gibson

Photos by David Gibson

Photos by Penny Braybrook

Photos by Mick Beltvelzen