Notorious (ship)

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The Notorious is a replica fifteenth century caravel. The ship took ten years to build, made entirely from reclaimed timber. It was launched at Martins Point, Port Fairy, Victoria, Australia on Monday, 7 February 2011.[1] The Notorious was fitted with sails and conducted its first week-long journey from Port Fairy to Geelong in January 2012.[2]

Notorious looking from the bow, while docked at Port Fairy in April 2011
Notorious looking aft


The Notorious has been a project of Graeme Wylie and wife Felicite, who originally started the project in 2001. The inspiration for the ship was a local legend (or possible history) of the area where the Wylies lived, the Mahogany Ship. The story is that a Portuguese shipwreck had long been located in the area, and was still visible in the mid-1800s, but since has been covered over with sand.

Inspired by this legend, Wylie has spent twenty thousand dollars Australian, and thousands of man-hours, working on the ship. The ship has been carefully built based on period drawings of caravelles, as well as advice from historians.[3] The ship was known while under construction as the Raven, but christened the Notorious when launched in February 2011 at Martin's Point in Port Fairy, Victoria. Wylie is a keen sailor and a professional cabinetmaker.[4]


The keel for the ship was laid in April 2002. The keel itself is made from ironbark salvaged from a road at the Breakwater in Warnambool, near where Wylie lives. The ribs of the ship 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.[5] The ship was largely completed by February 2011.

The ship weighs 55 tonnes, and is a replica caravel, a type of ship used in the 15th century. It is 21 metres long, six metres wide and 17 metres high. Apart from the keel, most of the wood for its construction is recycled & reclaimed Monterey Cypress, and the ship is covered in 600 litres of tar.[6]

The interior is an authentic period design, including a cooking fire. The ship has modern GPS navigation, a diesel engine and some other modern conveniences, all hidden behind timber panels.[7]


Since its original launch, the ship has continued to sail around the south of Australia, docking in various docks ports where the ship is made available to the public for tours. It has also attended various boat shows, in Sydney and Melbourne.