Part of this months Queensland Hovercraft Club report.

Basically, four craft, eight folks busting one of the worlds longest rivers. Fully self-sufficient with a road crew for support.

What an adventure!

Peter Venn is a good friend and one of Hovercrafting's most enduring exponents. Recipient of the WHF Award of Excellence in 2011, he works with his Turbo Hovercraft spraying/sampling etc and then goes off and undertakes whatever cruises and adventures he can think of. Arthur's his wingman in his little 20hp Revtech and Sam Waugh will be familiar to many from his racing exploits.

Pete was muttering about this trip whilst i was in Oz, I'm just so gutted to have missed it!

Read on...

Russ Pullen

A river cruise may seem like a nice way to relax for a few hours to unwind from the hurly burly of city life; however this is no ordinary river cruise.
The intrepid 8 have embarked on a month long journey along the continentís largest river, the Mighty Murray. They began their trip on Wednesday 9th May 2012 from the River mouth where it empties into the Southern Ocean at Encounter Bay in South Australia.
Several South Australian residents came to see 4 hovercraft launch and among the small group of on-lookers Arthur recognised Royston Downs, a member of the HCV, a branch of the Australian Hovercraft Federation Inc.

Arthur Stead rang right on queue during the business session of the QSH club planning meeting in Brisbane on Tuesday 15th May 2012 to officially present the only cruise report for the month. Arthur was phoning from a very remote location some 804 kilometres upstream from the mouth. Nearest town was Wentworth.
Good crowds at various caravan park boat ramps along the way.
Media connections: Editor of local newspaper upstream of Clayton and Renmark Newspaper phoned John Mendham for a brief interview.
Arthur explained that his phone signal was at just one bar and he had to remain in a signal zone just a few metres across to maintain communication.

The first night they camped at Clayton South Australia. They only made 24 kms.
Thursday morning they took local advice and set off at first light to cross Lake Alexandrina via the Southern shore. This was the shortest coast hugging route. 55 kms versus 80kms via the northern shore line. However the wind was strong and the lake was choppy for the lee was to the north. The longer distance, as it turned out, would have been more pleasant and possibly quicker.

Thursday night was spent at Mannum South Australia. 150 kms.
With good rainfall in the Darling/Condamine/Lachlan/Murrumbidgee/Murray catchment system, the usual 3 metre river drop between locks was significantly reduced to less than 1 metre. In fact with permission from lock keeper No 6, Arthur Stead was allowed to traverse the grassy lawn instead of laboriously transitioning through the lock gates. This would not have been possible if attempted during the drought years leading up to 2007.

Sunday night : Ramco South Australia. 13th May 2012.

Monday night was spent at the old customs house or about 800 metres from the border between South Australia and Victoria. 14th May 2012.

Tuesday night: near Wentworth 804 kilometres from the mouth and 30 metres above sea level. They travelled at a speed of between 45 to 50 kph and covered 180 kilometres today.

Elaine Venn made an email report to Brisbane from Mildura. 17th May 2012 3pm
Wednesday and Thursday will be a 2 day break in Mildura to wash clothes, maintain the craft and do some shopping.
Sam Waugh had to retire his Revtech Renegade with overheating problems. Lock 9.
Sam will continue as passenger with Peter Venn in the large Turbo TP6.
Arthur Stead made some fibreglass repairs to his Revtech Renegade hull to stop a slow leak.
Next 200 kms from Mildura to Robinvale has difficult access from road support team.
Peter Sam and John make a decision to carry on despite the risk of isolation. Arthur decides to play it safe and skips this section.

Arthur Stead made a 2nd report to Brisbane on Saturday 19th May 2012 at 1pm. AEST.

Friday night Robinvale Caravan Park Victoria 18th May 2012.

Saturday night Boundary Bend Victoria 19th May 2012. Travelled 100kms today.
1,228kms from the mouth.

Arthur Stead made a 3rd report to Brisbane on Sunday 20th May at 3-20pm.
Tooleybuc for lunch. Arthur has a noisy bearing in his Revtech Renegade.
Arthur was however pleased to report that he stood at the junction of the Murrumbidgee and Murray Rivers today. A point he wanted to make in proving me wrong about a geographical error on my part.

Details of the river expedition:
Peter Venn Turbo TP6 16 foot powered by a Subaru EA81 1600 thrust engine
3 blade ducted fan. 18hp Honda lift engine. Loop and segment skirt.
Base: Redland Bay and Southern Moreton Bay Queensland.
President of QSH club.

Arthur Stead Revtech Renegade 11.5 foot hull. 20hp Honda 2 cylinder 4 stroke. Integrated thrust/lift. Segmented skirt. Base: Wynnum Moreton Bay Qld.
Member of QSH club. (webmaster and AHF delegate)

John Mendham Revtech Renegade. Base: Primbee and Lake Illawarra NSW.

Sam Waugh Revtech Renegade. Base: Primbee and Lake Illawarra NSW.
Member of HCV.

Details of the road crew and support team.
Elaine Venn driving a Holden Ute style back and towing a large hovercraft trailer.
Accommodation: Tent on the hovercraft trailer.

Judy Stead driving a Holden Ute aluminium tray back and towing a small fibreglass tray hovercraft trailer.
Accommodation: Slide on camper.

Joy Sleiger driving a Volkswagon and towing a small fibreglass tray hovercraft trailer.
Accommodation: Campervan.

Lorraine Brighton driving a Ute and towing a small fibreglass tray hovercraft trailer.
Accommodation: Slide on camper.