DESPITE her tiny stature the Bushfield-built replica caravel Notorious made a huge impression at the Australian Wooden Boat Festival in Hobart.
Tens of thousands of spectators clamoured aboard or gazed in awe at the 20-metre vessel adorned with pirate flags, built in a backyard from recycled Cypress pine trees.
Skipper Graeme Wylie and partner Felicity sailed unscathed across the treacherous Bass Strait, then down Tasmania’s picturesque east coast before joining a spectacular parade of tall ships sailing down the Derwent River into Sullivans Cove.
The Wylies’ 15th century replica design was among almost 600 vessels from as far as Russia at the festival, which finished on Monday and is regarded as the largest in the southern hemisphere.
“People are enjoying the ambience of a 15th Century vessel and children enjoy the thrill of seeing a pirate ship,” Ms Wylie said yesterday.
“There have been about 200,000 people at the festival and I reckon most of them would have looked at the Notorious.
“Lots of people have been following us. Many woke up in the morning to see a pirate ship in their bay as we travelled down the coast.
“It’s been like a travelling ad for the festival.”
The Wylies, who live aboard, have been living their dream and defying sceptics since Graeme set about designing and building the craft more than 10 years ago.
They trucked it to Port Fairy for its first taste of seawater in 2011 and subsequent ocean testing.