PROUD HISTORY: Captain Matt Baily and deckhand/engineer Mark Milinkovic beside the 35 metre Princess Iluka, which is currently berthed in Abell Point Marina.
PROUD HISTORY: Captain Matt Baily and deckhand/engineer Mark Milinkovic beside the 35 metre Princess Iluka, which is currently berthed in Abell Point Marina.

Piece of maritime history calls in to Airlie Beach

THE superyacht Princess Iluka has drawn more than a passing glance since docking at Abell Point Marina on Saturday, August 3.

Complete with all the trappings of luxury including a helipad and foredeck spa, the yacht makes an impressive sight, but there is more to Princess Iluka than meets the eye.

Beneath the polished blue exterior lies a piece of Australian maritime history. It is the country's longest vessel to be built in Houn pine.

Now owned by businessman Robert McVicker, Princess Iluka was built in Tasmania in 1979 for the princely sum of $1million. Her hull is made from Huon pine and her keel is a 750-year-old spotted gum. A newspaper article of the time described her as a "fabulously luxurious yacht unlike any other boat any Australian has owned before".

But when Mr McVicker bought Princess Iluka many years down the track, she had deteriorated somewhat from her former glory.

A major refit, in excess of $14million, took place and the boat was also extended by five metres in length.

Princess Iluka is now captained by Matt Baily, a Whitsunday local, who followed her history and is passionate about the small ship.

Mr Baily said being a superyacht captain, "this was just one of those jobs you couldn't say no to".

"To be a part of this - to be on the longest Huon pine vessel ever built, for me as a captain is probably one of the proudest moments of my career," he said.

"I love the Whitsundays too - I have such a passion for the area and to be able to captain a superyacht in the Whitsundays and share all of that with guests is just a dream come true."

Princess Iluka will stay in the Whitsundays until next month and is available for private charter.

There have been rumours in Airlie this week that rock legend John Farnham has been seen on board the luxury yacht in recent days.


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