Piece of mar­itime his­tory calls in to Air­lie Beach

Whitsunday Times - - LOCAL NEWS -

THE su­pery­acht Princess Iluka has drawn more than a pass­ing glance since dock­ing at Abell Point Ma­rina on Satur­day, Au­gust 3.

Com­plete with all the trap­pings of lux­ury in­clud­ing a he­li­pad and fore­deck spa, the yacht makes an im­pres­sive sight, but there is more to Princess Iluka than meets the eye.

Be­neath the pol­ished blue ex­te­rior lies a piece of Aus­tralian mar­itime his­tory. It is the coun­try’s long­est ves­sel to be built in Houn pine.

Now owned by busi­ness­man Robert McVicker, Princess Iluka was built in Tas­ma­nia in 1979 for the princely sum of $1mil­lion. Her hull is made from Huon pine and her keel is a 750-year-old spot­ted gum. A news­pa­per ar­ti­cle of the time de­scribed her as a “fab­u­lously lux­u­ri­ous yacht un­like any other boat any Aus­tralian has owned be­fore”.

But when Mr McVicker bought Princess Iluka many years down the track, she had de­te­ri­o­rated some­what from her for­mer glory.

A ma­jor re­fit, in ex­cess of $14mil­lion, took place and the boat was also ex­tended by five me­tres in length.

Princess Iluka is now cap­tained by Matt Baily, a Whit­sun­day lo­cal, who fol­lowed her his­tory and is pas­sion­ate about the small ship.

Mr Baily said be­ing a su­pery­acht cap­tain, “this was just one of those jobs you couldn’t say no to”.

“To be a part of this – to be on the long­est Huon pine ves­sel ever built, for me as a cap­tain is prob­a­bly one of the proud­est mo­ments of my ca­reer,” he said.

“I love the Whit­sun­days too – I have such a pas­sion for the area and to be able to cap­tain a su­pery­acht in the Whit­sun­days and share all of that with guests is just a dream come true.”

Princess Iluka will stay in the Whit­sun­days un­til next month and is avail­able for pri­vate char­ter.

There have been ru­mours in Air­lie this week that rock le­gend John Farn­ham has been seen on board the lux­ury yacht in re­cent days.

PROUD HIS­TORY: Cap­tain Matt Baily and deck­hand/en­gi­neer Mark Milinkovic be­side the 35 me­tre Princess Iluka, which is cur­rently berthed in Abell Point Ma­rina.

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