Where we sail
on Port Phillip, a large almost landlocked bay, which has Melbourne
on its north east shore and Geelong on its south west. Our preferred
ramp for launching is at the mouth of the Yarra River near Williamstown.
Heading south off the eastern shore we will sail down past Brighton
Beach to Black Rock, with the wind coming in from the southwest, its
a tight lead to make it past Brighton on one tack and we don't usually
make it and have to take a tack out. The Bay is more than 10 miles wide
so there's plenty of searoom.
the beginning of the summer for the last few years we've taken Crazybird
over to lake Wendouree near Ballarat, for their Opening Season Classic
Boat Regatta. Lake Wendouree is a relatively small lake, about 5 kilometres
in circumference, and the wind can be fierce and the temperature low
(by aussie standards) so sometimes we wonder why we go! But its a great
weekend, well organised by the local yacht club, and usually a few boats
head over from Melbourne. Crazybird has won the Classic Boat 3 race
series twice despite usually messing up the start and getting lost amongst
all the buoys.
We usually head down to the Gippsland Lakes in SE Victoria
a couple of times a year. This is fairly large sailing area, adjacent
to the south coast, just separated from the sea by a long long overgrown
sandspit. Its a popular sailing area but never really gets overcrowded
apart from peak public holidays. We usually base Crazybird in Paynesville
and do daysails in company with friends on other boats. Its usually
a bit milder here than Melbourne which is welcome in both summer and
winter. In summer there is often a very strong seabreeze from midmorning
onwards which can be a bit much for pleasant sailing on Crazybird. Still
we've had plenty of great sailing there, particularly in late summer.
The big event we try never to miss is the Gippsland Woodenboat Messabout,
organised by the local chapter of the Wooden Boat Association. This
has to be the most laid back relaxed and entertaining festival of its
kind around. It does usually include a couple of sailing races and Crazybird
has won the 'big boat' class a few times. It usually ends up a neck
and neck duel with 75 year old Charlie Strong (and his dog) sailing
a boat he designed and built himself.
sail on Albert Park, which is adjacent to central Melbourne, a few times
a year when the Victorian Wooden Boat Association have sailing days
there. Its a small shallow lake, circumference about 5 kilometres, and
Crazybird feels very constrained there. The wind can be very gusty but
is usually considerably lighter than on the nearby Port Phillip Bay.
Its a good place to take other members and visitors out for a short
sail. But there's nowhere to go and in the end its pretty frustrating!
Still, on a fine midwinter day its much less trouble than going out
on the Bay, and there is always good debate with other members of the
Wooden Boat Association.
Goolwa Wooden Boat Festival is one of our favourites. Goolwa is a small
town at the mouth of the great Murray River, south of Adelaide in South
Australia. The Festival is held every two years and attracts wooden
boats form all over. Classic paddle steamers come down the Murray for
it, whilst boats from Melbourne and even as far away as Perth go over
for it. Its the best part of a 10 hour drive each way from Melbourne
but well worth it. The combination of a great sailing environment, lots
of beautiful boats, live jazz all day and late into the night, wine
tasting from the great South Australia wineries, and a general sense
of revelry (rivalry too, Charlie Strong and his dog always go too),
make it a wonderful weekend.
Copyright © 2002 Nick Grainger