PIRATE SHIP: The 16th century era ship the Notorious will be docking in the Whitsundays this Friday.
PIRATE SHIP: The 16th century era ship the Notorious will be docking in the Whitsundays this Friday.

Notorious look at 16th century

IT'S one quite painstaking thing to build a replica ship in a bottle.

But it's another challenge again to completely build a full-scale, all-wood replica of a sixteenth-century Portuguese caravel that is able to master the oceans.

The only example of such a piece of work in the southern hemisphere is the Notorious, and one in which amateur boat-builder Graeme Wylie put his heart and soul into.

And Notorious is about to present itself to the people of the Whitsundays this weekend - and you will be able to take a look around the ship.

This is the second visit, as Notorious made its inaugural trip to Airlie in 2014. So if you missed it last time, you don't need to this time around.

"Graeme was inspired to build Notorious after researching caravels, one of which was wrecked between Warrnambool and Port Fairy, in south-western Victoria,” Mr Wylie's partner Felicite said.

"The shipwreck is believed to have been a caravel from a secret voyage of discovery along the east coast of Australia in 1522.”

The making of Notorious is fascinating as it is painstaking.

"Graeme began salvaging Monterey cypress from bulldozed windbreaks in south-western Victoria, using this very stable and beautiful timber to make unique furniture,” Ms Wylie said.

"Eventually, with more than 300 tons of logs in his back yard, Graeme decided to build a boat.”

As there was no archaeological evidence of a caravel ever found, Graeme spent two years researching caravels, studying images from charts, maps and paintings.

"Notorious' keel was laid in 2002, launched in 2011, with her maiden voyage from the Southern Ocean through Bass Strait to Port Phillip Bay and Corio Bay in January 2012,” Ms Wylie said.

Since then, Graeme, Felicite and their 15-year old Jack Russell terrier Seadog April have sailed Notorious sailed more than 16,000 nautical miles between Hobart and Port Douglas, through the Southern Ocean, Bass Strait, the Tasman and Coral Seas.

And this weekend you can see for yourself how such a boat was built, as Notorious will be on display from Friday through Sunday, from 10am to 4pm each day, at the Port of Airlie, Whitsunday Boat Club, before it heads northwards.

Admission for adults (15+) is $5, Children (supervised 2 - 14 years ) $2 and infants under two years get free entry. More details can be found at the ship's Facebook page.


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