Sunday 26 Feb was the day of our club sailing day at Rye.

For me, I prepared Mars in the week before, running my engine and changing my trailer light board, trying to fix my trailer winch pawl and greasing my wheel bearings. After a couple of fine days on the lead up, Sunday's weather report was for heavy weather abating during the day.

 

Port Phillip is home to some remarkable life, and some spectacular wrecks. 

This month’s guest speaker is WBA member Peter Batchelor, who will be talking about, and showing you, something of what you may meet if you go diving in the Bay.

 underwater in the bay 3    underwater in the bay 2    underwater in the bay 1

Come along and enjoy some of the photos and videos taken by Peter and his family on dives at various locations around the Bay.

 Where?   At the Albert Park Yacht Club clubrooms, Albert Park Lake, Melbourne.     Light supper provided

 

There were over 50 boats entered in the regatta this year, about a dozen more than last year. The increase in numbers shows the word is spreading about the great venue, hospitality and variety of historic boats to be seen at the Inverloch regatta. Perfect weather for all three days made it a magnificent weekend to be on the water.

The regatta opened with a cruise across the inlet to Point Smyth on Thursday (Australia Day). To see the whole fleet lined up along the beach over at the point was spectacular. Walking from boat to boat, recognizing the designs and looking at the details of the rigs and gear, I realized that this year we have a real representation of the sailing scene of 30 or 40 years ago.

                        Mouldie Moth Frolic

On Friday morning the boats were displayed on the beach for judging and as Chair of the judging panel I had a challenging task assessing the finer points of construction, restoration, rigs and fittings. I was joined on the panel by sailmaker Mark Rimington, professional boatbuilder Reuben Kent, SGYC race officer Lyn Leppin and Past SGYC Commodore Ian Jones. Their combined knowledge and experience helped us assess all aspects of the boats.

We spent over three hours moving from one boat to another, listening to the owner’s stories of how they found the boat and what they had done to restore it and get it to the regatta. Deciding the winners of the four category awards plus the special awards for Gwen 12s and Sailfish took some careful evaluation of the short listed contenders but we reached agreement in time for lunch!

Friday afternoon at 2pm was the scheduled start time for the regatta race. There were three starts. The fast boats started on the 2pm gun and the Sailfish started 3 minutes later, with the slower boats starting three minutes after that. At least that was the plan. Precise timekeeping may not be the most salient virtue of wooden dinghy sailors. Despite a well conducted start procedure on the committee boat, there was a degree of confusion about the start times out on the water and many boats started a bit late, including myself. Nevertheless it made a great spectacle for the crowds lining the shore.

Last Sunday (5/12/16) Orlando and I went to a lecture hosted by the Australian institute of Archeology, given by Shelly Wachsman, professor of biblical archeology at Texas A&M university.

Shelly happened to be working for the Israeli department of antiquities in 1986 when the remains of an 8m wooden fishing boat were discovered on the shores of the sea of Galillee, the largest fresh water lake in Israel which is about 12km x 21km. He described the 11 night and day operation to extract the remains from the mud as rainwaters threatened to inundate the site once more, how police were employed to keep treasure hunters away and how heavy machinery was employed to keep the floodwaters back.

Eventually the waterlogged timbers were encased in polyurethane foam and the entire remains were refloated on the lake and towed to the Yigal Alon museum further along the shore. A crane lifted the assembly into a hastily constructed water pool where, over the next 11 years the water in the wood was slowly replaced with Poly Ethlyene Glycol. (I have heard that this is the process they used on the Mary Rose remains in the UK and the Wassa remains in Stockholm. This is apparently the only way to stabilise the wood, which will shrink to dust if it is allowed to dry out.)

This was all good to know – but what about the wooden boat? It turned out that analysis of the timber and construction techniques plus pottery remains found with the boat have dated it at BC50 to AD70. The boat has earned the nickname “the Jesus boat” because of its location and time period. Evidence does suggest that this style of boat may well have been the type that Jesus slept in and called his fisherman disciples from. The location of the boat was not far from Mary Magdalene’s home town.

We had registered Penguin to go around to Narooma for Boats afloat festival, which is always a good trip and event. The slide on was packed and Penguin’s trailer all but hitched up to the car.

However, over the past month or two we have moved my parents into Aged Care with all the work that that entails, and we had to sell their house. The Estate Agent wanted to see us to list the house, the night we were supposed to already be gone. Then there was a huge amount of packing and clearing to be done before the first potential buyers came through over the weekend.

It all got too hard and we could not justify running off for a boating weekend 700 km’s away through all that. So we shelved the trip and got stuck into the house spending a couple of full days with the help of family and friends and got it to an acceptable state for open days.

Meanwhile our son Andrew was crewing on the Paddle Steamer Alexander Arbuthnot, from Echuca downstream to Koondrook/Barham, for the opening of their new wharf on the following Monday. He said why don’t you come to Koondrook? It is not too far. As we were already packed, our calendars were cleared and we could do no more on the house in the short term, we decided to go to Koondrook. Koondrook is located on the Murray river about an hour’s drive west of Echuca, near Cohuna and Kerang.

The council have built a new interpretive wharf that winds among the trees on the spot of the original Koondrook wharf, with a pontoon extension suitable for Paddle Steamers.

The Arbuthnot was built in Koondrook as a barge in 1916 by the Arbuthnot saw mills, then was converted to a steamer in 1923. She was the last Paddle Steamer built on the river in the paddle steamer age. It was the first time in about 70 years that she had been back to Koondrook, and of course this made quite an event for Koondrook and when we arrived, she was already busy taking one hour cruises.

The opening of the wharf occurred on Monday, and despite it being a weekday, all the politicians and councillors were there and all the community turned out as well and a surprisingly large crowd witnessed the opening. The wharf is a great feature for the town, and I think it is a case of “build it and they will come”. For boats travelling on the river it is a convenient stopping spot with good mooring and the town services are right there.

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