Doing the Marlay

Recently we camped overnight on the shores of Lake Wellington at Marlay Point which brought back a lot of memories.

The Lake Wellington Yacht Club has been hosting the Marlay Point Overnight Race since 1969 and according to the website over 4000 boats have competed. It is regarded as the ‘Sydney to Hobart’ for trailable yachts.

The Gippsland Lakes are Australia’s largest lake system and the race starts at Marlay Point at dusk on the long weekend in March. Participants dash across wide Lake Wellington in inky blackness. Many years ago when we were much younger and fitter, we, a mate and his son ‘did the Marlay’ in our Farr 6000.

Emerging from windy Lake Wellington we were funnelled into the narrow McLennan Straits a long winding river like connection where it was all hands on deck to drag ourselves through the straits with the aid of the overhanging tree branches.

The next leg up Lake Victoria, a rather long lake seemed endless as our energy sapped. Finally, it was the ‘long way’ around Raymond Island (as opposed to the shortcut through McMillan Strait playing chicken with the ferry) into Lake King and finishing at Paynesville mid afternoon of the next day. We were exhausted, salty and declaring never to do it again, but at least we can say we did it. The mate? Well he was keener than us he went off and did the Sydney to Hobart.

Gippsland Lakes
The race only traverses approximately half of the lake system which stretches well beyond Lakes Entrance (Map Source:
Standing room only at Marlay Point boat ramp

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