I saw this advertised in Shavings, and was hooked.

I have had Jessie II on lakes King, Victoria, Reeve and Tyers (Toorloo and Nowa Nowa arms), and have been on the La Trobe, Thomson, Mitchell, Nicholson and Tambo rivers, and up North Arm to Mississippi Creek. I first met WBA when at Marlo for the PS Curlip commissioning, but was without my boat there (it was in SA). This rally would give me the chance to cross Lake Wellington, and poke into the Avon and Perry rivers, then stay on the tackle the Snowy, Mallacoota and various south-coast NSW inlets.

After exchanging emails with the very-helpful organiser re organisation of mooring and shore display, I enrolled in time to have a good mooring (better than Goolwa).

I was surprised with the lack of support by Melbourne-based WBA members. I don't know how many members and boats of the former Gippsland branch were supporters, as I had not been to the joint rally there.

Chris brought the club's Begonia for the land display, but left on Sunday (before I got to inspect that zone).

Andrew visited on Saturday, and went out on a friend's vaguely-tug boat (not Ticketyboo) in the parade. I was too busy manoeuvring in congestion to grab a photo or the name.

Narooma-based Carmel J, which was with SLOA at Wentworth and WBA at Lake Nagambie, was trailed in and launched.

There may have been other members who drove down, but I didn't get to meet them.

In the preceding weeks, the alert organiser noticed Tennessee Moonshine on the lakes. The Queensland owner had gone there simply as an adventure. He was invited to exhibit if a mooring became available (the cutoff had been passed, and other boats had been turned away). This was possible: our two slim boats could fit into a floating-jetty berth intended for a wider vessel. As far as I know, this rally had more boats than any other except Hobart.

I collected Jessie II at Merrigum on Thursday, spent the night at Tatura, then trailed via Yea & Pakenham, to launch at Paynesville on Friday afternoon, in time for the briefing and meet & greet.

There was little wind. On Saturday, I joined the circuit at 10.00 for the 11.00 grand parade. The sun was shining; the water was calm. After docking, it was the usual rally go-go-go, spent mainly hosting general public (estimated 5000 attendees). Boatie time had been mainly on Friday, with some Sunday opportunities. I skipped the dinner dance, and ate at the pub with my Moonshine colleague (we had been at many rallies together before).

Sunday's attractions were a yacht parade in the morning, and a fishing-boat race in the afternoon.

The lakes host many vintage cruisers. WBA will have seen some at the earlier club rally, but they appeared from all sorts of moorings and coves, many more than Goolwa attracts. There were also yachts, dinghies, cabin launches and speedboats. Many hadn't been out of sheds for years, or were only part restored.

The upshot: a committee meeting on Sunday night has set the dates for a 2018 event; happy owners have jumped into completing restorations for then.

With favourable weather, I crossed Lake Wellington to Sale in tandem with Moonshine on Monday, but had misjudged the distance and time. I left the Avon & Perry to Tuesday, but was running solo without a deckie and didn't like the extra chop; those two wait for my downsize boat, launched at Wellington Yacht Club. I poked 3 km up the La Trobe from the Thomson confluence, but was stopped by fallen trees. The Wednesday wind report was ferocious, so I went by VLine train and connecting bus to collect the car & trailer, and came out on the Sale ramp. I have used this before. It has a bad drop off, so I had to winch onto the front roller, not float on.

Roderick Smith