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Where we sail

Approaching Williamstown, Port Phillip - click to enlarge Mainly 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.
Getting under way on Lake Wendouree, Ballarat.  Click to enlargeAt 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 VictoriaNick and partner Tomoko , Gipplsland Lakes, Victoria - click to enlarge 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.
Albert Park, Melbourne in mid-wwinter - click to enlargeWe 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 - click to enlargeThe 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.
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