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This year’s annual visit to the Clarence River attracted 55 members of the Shag Islet Cruising Yacht Club (SICYC), who travelled in 25 boats and one campervan. The group were officially welcomed to the Clarence Valley at McLachlan Park, Maclean, on Friday last week. Images: Lynne Mowbray

Official welcome to yachties

Lynne Mowbray |

Around 55 members of The Shag Islet Cruising Yacht Club (SICYC) were officially welcomed to the Clarence Valley, at McLachlan Park in Maclean, on Friday last week.

The group who are visiting the Clarence River for a week in 25 boats (and one campervan), were welcomed by piper Dennis Darke who played a few items on his bagpipes, before Yaegl Elder Elizabeth Smith gave the ‘Welcome to Country’.

Clarence Valley Council councillor Richie Williamson welcomed the visitors to the Clarence Valley and wished them a pleasant stay as they enjoyed our scenic river and riverside villages.

This was the second annual event on the Clarence River for the keen group of sailors, who are sailing from Iluka to Grafton, visiting the villages of Harwood, Maclean, Brushgrove and Lawrence, before returning to Yamba.

A fundraising event at the Yamba Shores Tavern will be held on Wednesday, 29 May, for Prostate Cancer with guest speaker the Honourable Jim Lloyd. This event is open to the public – so don’t miss out.

What a duck – Wherever they travel, yachties Colin Alleck and Jane Skoinik are followed by a duck. The much travelled duck ‘Bernard the 1st, has even cruised along behind the Lake Macquarie couple, to Lord Howe Island and back. Where ever they journey, the duck creates a lot of fun and many comments. Image: Lynne Mowbray

Is that a duck?

Wherever they go, yachties Colin Alleck and Jane Skoinik from Lake Macquarie, are followed by a duck. The life like duck made out of plastic, creates a lot of fun and many comments along the way.

Colin said that they tow a duck behind their boat because it’s frivolous and fun and it makes people smile.
“We could be tied up beside the most luxurious yacht in the world and everyone points and looks at the duck,” Colin said.

“They don’t see the big expensive boat.

“In terms of ducks we’ve had five or six ducks along the way.

“Some have met ungainly losses – one was taken by a shark, one kissed the propeller and never survived that event and another was lost at sea, never to be seen again. We think he untied his line during the night and just floated off. They don’t have a very long life expectancy, because it is tough at sea.

“We always have two spares with us.

“So this duck is now ‘Bernard the 1st and we’ve been towing him for about three years. That’s in honour of my brother who I used to sail with for 60 odd years.

“The duck gets a lot of interest where ever we go.

“We’ve gone up the Swansea Channel and a woman came rushing down waving her arms saying ‘you’ve got a duck tied behind your boat’.

“We’ve also been inspected by National Parks and Wildlife Service who went round the boat twice looking at the duck and then they realised it was a plastic duck and off they went.

“We think this duck has set the single longest tow record (for a duck) as we towed him all the way to Lord Howe Island and back.

“That’s a long way to tow a duck,” he said.