Paynesville Classic Boat Rally

A biennial celebration of classic boats, maritime culture and cruising on the Gippsland Lakes

The 2024 Rally held on March 1st, 2nd and 3rd welcomed over 200 boats on land and water from all corners of the country. We were thrilled to have entrants from as far as Queensland, Sydney, Tasmania, and South Australia joining us for this remarkable event.

While the weather presented some challenges, it certainly didn't dampen the spirits of our enthusiastic participants. We've received fantastic feedback and numerous "we'll be back in 2026" comments, which speaks volumes about the success of the rally.

This year, we expanded our prize categories and introduced unique trophies handmade by Peter Manuel on Raymond Island. Crafted from special timbers and historical boat fittings, these trophies will undoubtedly become cherished family heirlooms.

Without further ado, let's congratulate our prize winners: 

  • Best Dressed Vessel: Nand V, Richard Chapman, Willoughby NSW
  • Best Presented Larger Vessel: Tanqueray, Andrew Magnuson, Briagolong 
  • Best Presented Smaller Vessel: Leste, Steve Smedley, Nagambie
  • Best Larger Vessel Restoration (Phil Mowat Award): Isabella, Glen Kenney, Paynesville 
  • Best Smaller Vessel Restoration: Lady Lou, John Johnson, Raymond Island 
  • Best Dressed Crew: Sea Creature, Vaughn Evans, Newlands Arm 
  • People’s Choice Award (Garry Kenner Award): Betty Jean, Jim Lindrea, Sale
  • Spirit of Adventure Award: Safari, Stephanie Powell, Hobart 
  • Special Merit Award: Querida 1, Brendan Kelly, Clyde North 

Additionally, our raffle prize, Meg, a 14’ Whitehall rowing skiff, found its new home with Chris Brearley from Barnes Bay, Tasmania, who’d sailed Tere across Bass Strait to join us.

Second prize of 2 nights luxury waterfront accommodation at Captains Cove was won by G Hutchin of Sale, and third prize, a $500 BCF voucher, donated by Kennedy Trailers was won by M Gruti of Sale.

Thank you to Dave Evans, Paynesville Men’s Shed, Captains Cove and Kennedy Trailers for these fabulous prizes.

We extend our heartfelt thanks to all our sponsors, including Gippsland Ports, Community Bank Paynesville and District, and the Gippsland Lakes Yacht Club. Your unwavering support has been instrumental in making this event a resounding success for all of Paynesville. 

The 2024 rally continued the tradition of including local musicians to entertain the crowd between boating events. Water & Rice performed on Friday night during boat registration at the yacht club. Over the weekend musical entertainment was provided by the East Gippsland Training Band, the Bairnsdale Secondary Band, East Gippsland Brass & Symphonia, Moore Fiddling Around and the Bairnsdale Gentlemen’s Choir and Olivia Lay.

The Sunday musicians did a great job, particularly when the wind increased dramatically from mid-morning. And, as always, the Saturday Night dance featuring The Uncles was as sellout.

The speaker’s forum was expanded for the 2024 rally and the End of Era display that documents the last Gippsland Lakes commercial fishermen was installed in the Paynesville Neighbourhood Centre.

Speakers were: -  

  • Matt Montemurro & Dr Kate Robb – Marine Mammals Foundation - Research Update for the Gippsland Lakes Burrunan Dolphins. 
  • Russell Mullett – GKLaWAC – GunaiKurnai Ancestral Connection to Tarli Kar Tor (Gippsland Lakes) History and associations. 
  • Denise Lamble & Leonie Taylor– DA Gippsland Waratahs – Dragons & Drums, how exercise connection and positivity help breast cancer survivors. 
  • Vanessa Spark- Safe Transport Victoria – Changes in Marine Regulations, self-inspection of an inflatable life jacket and how to activate a flare (with demonstration). 
  • Harry Bowman – RAAF PT boat SAR 02-6, History on the Gippsland Lakes and Bass Strait.

Additional features were the always popular Classic Power Boats, regular guided tours of the Raymond Island Koala Trail, a model yacht display, a presentation by Nick Grainger author of the Voyage of the Aegre about a daring voyage in a small Shetland boat. Public rowing tryouts planned by the Kingfisher Dragon Boats and the St Ayles Skiffs on Sunday were abandoned due to very strong winds and waves.

As we wrap up - send us an email if:

  •  you ordered & paid for merchandise but didn’t collect it. 
  • you’d like one of our very popular rally shirts - we still have some available. 
  • you’ve found that you’re missing some life jackets or your favourite hat and sunnies. 
  • you have an idea to make our rally even better? We're all ears!   

Thank you to all the exceptional volunteers that make this community event possible, the On-Water team, the On-Land team and the hard working Committee.

Lastly, mark your calendars for Feb 27, 28 and March 1, 2026, for our next event!

Thank for being a part of Rally 2024. We look forward to seeing you again in the future!

Nand V




Lady Lou

Sea Creaure

Betty Jean


Querida 1