The only way to find out if modifications work is to take the boat out, so we did just that.

In almost total calm we motored from Paynesville across Lake King to the silt jetties that form the mouth of the Mitchell River. Turning north, we followed the channel markers towards the mouth of the Nicholson River with large numbers of pelicans, little black cormorants and pied cormorants along the eastern shoreline.

Taking advantage of a southerly breeze, we raised the sails and ran west south west parallel to the silt jetties in Jones Bay, which has ample depth of water for the centreboard, until we came to the breach in the north side of the silt jetties called The Cut.

After watching locals run aground and plough their way through with outboards, we found The Cut was rowable, with just enough water to keep us afloat as we worked our way around the stranded snags.

Turning back towards the east, we motored down the river. The birds of the river included wood duck, egrets, swans and a sacred kingfisher and on the bank was an echidna that was so large that it was mistaken for a wombat.

Once out of the river mouth, a modest southerly wind let us sail back to Paynesville, making the round trip about 30km. Worth doing again? Definitely.

To top off the day, the higher mast, the new boom and the sprit boom on the mizzen sail worked well.

Jim Stockton

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