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


Notorious, a full-size, wooden sailing ship, a re-creation of a caravel circa 1480, was researched, designed and constructed single-handedly by Graeme Wylie, from reclaimed timber, at his home at Bushfield, S/W Victoria, Australia. The keel was laid in April 2002, and the ship launched at Martin's Point, Port Fairy, on 7 February 2011. Her maiden voyage was in January 2012 from Port Fairy, (Southern Ocean), into Bass Strait and Port Phillip Bay. Since then Notorious has sailed over 16,000 nautical miles between the Southern Ocean, Bass Strait, the Tasman and Coral Seas. The Mahogany Ship, a well-known S/W Victorian legend of an ancient wreck first seen by Europeans in 1836, between Warrnambool and Port Fairy, and last seen in 1886, was some of the inspiration for Graeme Wylie to choose to build a caravel. The Mahogany Ship was thought to have been one of three caravels that sailed from Batavia (Java) in 1520, down the eastern Australian seaboard and into Bass Strait, before entering the Southern Ocean, with only two returning to Batavia in 1522.

Caravels were a revolutionary design in ship evolution, being the first European vessels with a transom, and the steerboard taken to the rear of the ship. 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. There have been no archeological remains of a caravel found worldwide.

Notorious is the only sailing caravel in the Southern Hemisphere, Australia's earliest ship construction and Australia's only lateen-rigged ship. Notorious is a museum ship, visiting ports on the Eastern Australian Coast, and opening for public onboard and below-deck inspection. [3][4]


The ship's keelson was laid in April 2002. 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.[5] The ship was launched at Martin's Point, Port Fairy, on 7 February 2011.

Notorious' Dimensions - Length overall :17.5 metres, Beam : 5.5 metres, Draught : 2.1 metres, Displacement : 58 tonnes. Timber : Reclaimed Monterey cypress (Cupressus macrocarpa)[4]

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.[2]


  1. ^ [1][dead link]
  2. ^ a b "Category". Herald Sun. Retrieved 29 October 2019.
  3. ^ Dowling, Jason (6 February 2011). "Everything ship-shape for the sail of the 15th century". The Age.
  4. ^ a b Dowling, Jason (27 October 2008). "Mahogany Ship inspires sailor to build caravel". The Age.
  5. ^ "Visit Port Fairy". Visit Port Fairy.

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