HomeNewsWalk the planks of Notorious 'pirate' ship

Walk the planks of Notorious ‘pirate’ ship

Notorious Pirate Ship
Notorious builder and captain Graeme Wyliie.

Visitors will be able to walk the planks of a Notorious “pirate” ship at Bundaberg Port Marina from 8-12 January.

The re-creation of a 15th century Portuguese caravel will be open for tours from next Friday.

The 17.5-metre Notorious sailed into Bundaberg on 23 December and has been moored at Kirbys Wall.

Owned by Graeme and Felicite Wylie, they will host COVID-safe public tours on 8-12 January from 9am to 3pm daily at Bundaberg Port Marina.

Admission is $5 for adults and children $3. COVID-safe requirements include contact tracing and social distancing.


Notorious ‘pirate' ship arrives

EARLIER REPORT: The Notorious “pirate” ship has sailed up the Burnett River on a friendly visit to the Bundaberg Region.

The black, mysterious vessel is actually a re-creation of a 1480 Portuguese caravel, the pride and joy of Graeme and Felicite Wylie. 

Notorious was researched, designed and constructed single handedly from salvaged Monterey cypress by amateur boatbuilder Graeme at Bushfield, Victoria. 

Since 2011, Graeme and Felicite have been the soul-occupants of the ship, navigating the waterways of Australia to open their touring vessel at various ports.  

With bushfires and the Coronavirus pandemic taking hold of the nation in 2020, the two-man crew directed their tours a little differently this year but have now sailed into Bundaberg in the hope to bring the magic of their vessel to the local community.

“We arrived in Bundaberg on December 23 and have already had such an amazing response from the public,” Felicite said. 

“People have been sending fantastic photos and videos to our Facebook page and we are getting lots of questions about our ship. 

“We are really wanting to open the ship for inspection very soon and arrangements will be posted to our Facebook page when definite.”  

Felicite said while many refer to the vessel as a pirate ship, Notorious was actually a caravel steeped in history. 

“Caravels are a revolutionary design in ship evolution, being the first European vessels with a transom and the steerboard taken to the rear of the ship,” she said.  

“These ships were rigged with the lateen sail, borrowed from the Arabian dhow, a highly versatile and easily managed sail arrangement, and allowing a degree of sailing into the wind.  

“The caravels were small, fast, manoeuvrable and easily handled by a small crew.” 

Pirate ship
Notorious has sailed into Bundaberg.

Construction of Notorious pirate ship

Felicite said Notorious was the only sailing caravel in the Southern Hemisphere, Australia's earliest ship construction and Australia's only lateen-rigged ship.  

“The ship's keelson was laid in April 2002,” she said.  

“The keelson is an ironbark beam salvaged from the Viaduct, at the Warrnambool Breakwater. The ship's frames were completed towards the end of 2003. 

“By 2008 the ship was opened to the public at the construction site, while the planking was still being completed.” 

The ship was launched at Martin's Point, Port Fairy, on 7 February 2011 and Graeme and Felicite have since sailed more than 20,000 nautical miles between the Southern Ocean, Bass Strait, the Tasman and Coral Seas. 

pirate ship
Notorious sailing the high seas.

Pirate ship Open For Inspections

Felicite said Notorious was coming up to its 10th year as a museum ship, visiting ports on the Eastern Australian Coast, with thousands of people having enjoyed boarding and exploring the caravel. 

She said the ship’s “Open for Inspection” tours included onboard and below-deck viewing, with the public gaining insight into the vessel's layout and exactly how the crew managed the ship.  

“The interior is an authentic period design, including a cooking fire,” Felicite said. 

“The ship has modern GPS navigation, a diesel engine and some other modern conveniences, all hidden behind timber panels.” 

For keen Bundaberg ship spotters, Felicite said plans were under way to open the Notorious pirate ship for inspection in the near future.  

Interested people should keep an eye out on the Notorious Facebook page to find out more.  

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