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Grand old lady visits Docklands

30 Nov 2010

Grand old lady visits Docklands Image

By Alison Kinkade

If you take a walk down to South Wharf over the next few months you will see a grand old piece of history.

But this piece of history isn’t on display in the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, but rather on the water.

The 105-year-old yacht Granuaile is currently docked in the river while it undergoes maintenance on its 50-foot structure.

Built in Dublin in 1905 by James E Doyle, a second-generation boat builder and naval architect (whose designs went on to influence all naval architecture in early modern America), the old girl has an extensive and interesting history.

Regularly raced from New York to London last century, it is believed that she once held the record for the most consecutive trans-Atlantic races contested.

First named Granuaile in 1905, she has carried four different names at different stages before her current owners decided to honour her history and change it back.

The Bermudan cutter, with teak on teak frames, ventured to Australia in 1968 and competed in many more races, including the Sydney to Hobart, before becoming a charter boat.

Purchased two years ago by seasoned yachtsman and principal owner Steve English, who heads a three-person syndicate, the gorgeous girl has since been enjoying some TLC from Steve and his wife Zara as they have undergone restoring her.

“She’s just beautiful and has a great pedigree, so structurally she’s brilliant and just needed a bit of work on the cosmetics side of things,” Steve said.

Spending four months of the year in Melbourne, two months travelling and another four months in Broome, the historical yacht is still well travelled and now, after two years of restoration, she is going to be put out to charter once more.

“She hasn’t been chartered since 1996 so people with a love of old wooden boats will get a chance to come on board and will really love her,” Steve said.

Steve and Zara will begin to charter her this month and will continue through until the end of January before taking her to Hobart for a wooden boat festival.

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