Vessel: Square Rigger, Three-Masted Barquentine
The Swan's Voyage to a Southern Berth
Originally named Our Svanen, the Southern Swan is a magnificent three-masted barquentine built in Denmark in 1922. Made of Danish oak she is a unique vessel, whilst not classified as an icebreaker, her hull is extraordinarily strong enabling her to handle light ice that may have built up in the cold waters of the North Atlantic, Denmark and Greenland, where she originally traded as a grain carrier.
The Southern Swan has a unique nautical history. In 1969 she was purchased as a private vessel and extensively refitted to handle larger and longer ocean voyages. She served as a sail training vessel with the Canadian Sea Cadets and journeyed to Vancouver to appear at the World Expo in 1986. She then sailed to England to join the First Fleet Re-enactment.
The Southern Swan made the voyage from England to Australia in 1988 to take part in the famous Australian Bicentennial First Fleet Re-enactment. Her berth has been at the historic Campbell's Cove, The Rocks ever since.
In 2007 the Bounty, a traditional three-masted trading vessel based at Darling Harbour, Sydney (known for one of the most dramatic episodes in English maritime history – the infamous 'mutiny on the bounty in April 1789'), was sold to a Chinese company in 2007.
When the Southern Swan went on the market that same year, owner of Authentic Charters Marty Woods knew his only hope of keeping the Swan in Aussie hands would be to purchase, restore and operate the ship himself.
Currently, the Southern Swan sails Sydney's famous harbour, providing day trips, exclusive charters and occasional offshore trips up and down the New South Wales Coast. She is currently the only ship in Sydney to offer the thrilling Mast Climb, an ascent up the rope ladder rungs to the Futtock Plate, where climbers can take in the breathtaking view of Sydney Harbour from a truly unique vantage point.
Experience the beauty and romance of a bygone era aboard this magnificent vessel.
Vessel: Square Rigger, Three-Masted Barquentine
A Star of the Sea, the Story of Soren Larsen
"From the moment you step on board and notice the graceful sweep of her hull, the heavy timbers of her decks and the set of her sails, you can tell the Soren Larsen is something special." (John L. Coombes, Tall Ships, The Sixteen Square Riggers of Australia and New Zealand, 2006)
The Soren Larsen was one of the last cargo carrying sailing ships built in 1949 in oak by the Danish ship building family Søren Larsen & sons in Northern Denmark. After carrying cargo throughout Scandinavia, Iceland, Northern Europe and Britain, she was lovingly restored and re-rigged in 1978 to the graceful 19th century Brigantine she is today.
Soren Larsen actually achieved international fame as a star of the BBC's classic series 'The Onedin Line'. Other film work includes 'French Lieutenant's Woman' and 'Shackleton' which took her to the Arctic to play the role of the Endurance in the ice pack. During filming, she became the first wooden sailing ship to reach Arctic Greenland in seventy years.
Soren Larsen was chosen to be Flagship of the First Fleet Re-enactment Voyage celebrating Australia’s Bicentennial. She led a fleet of 8 square riggers on an ambitious eight month, 22,000 mile voyage from Portsmouth to arrive in Sydney on 26th January 1988 – Australia Day.
She came to Auckland in 1989 to represent Britain in the 150th Celebrations and adopted New Zealand as her base from which to cruise the idyllic South Pacific Islands. In 1991, she made a passage back to Europe along the Clipper Route across the Southern Ocean and in December 1991, she became the first British tall ship to round Cape Horn since 1936.
After a major refit in the UK at Gloucester, Soren Larsen celebrated the Millennium with a spectacular round the world voyage, visiting 25 countries and sailing 30,000 nautical miles. For the last two decades, she has sailed in the delightful islands of the tropical South Pacific, making major voyages as far as Easter Island, Pitcairn, the Marquesas islands of French Polynesia and across the heart of Oceania with the trade winds.
After joining the Authentic Charters fleet in 2012, the Soren Larsen is now one of the very few authentic timber square riggers still operating in the 21st century. Based from Sydney Harbour, Australia, she now provides daily harbour sails, charters and incredibly she continues to set out on voyages to remote tropical destinations in the Pacific and around the world.
When you step on board the beautifully crafted and maintained Soren Larsen, you truly understand why she is a famous star of the sea.
Vessel: Authentic Timber Ferry
The 'Queen' returns to Sydney Harbour
The Wangi Queen, a beautiful traditional wooden ferry, was launched on the 22nd of September 1922, only 20 days after Australia’s greatest literary giant Henry Lawson was laid to rest. No better accreditation could be applied to any historical artifact than to be linked in some way to this much beloved Australian author.
Built by Gordon Beattie from timber cut from the Watagan Mountains and transported to Empire Bay on the Central Coast by bullock teams, the teak timbers of the Wangi Queen’s upper deck joinery were recovered from the decking of a sailing ship wrecked on North Head several years earlier and were reputed to have 'been at sea' for sixty years before that. Her grey ironbark scantlings and beech planking shows very little deterioration to this day, due to the constant and devoted attention of her successive owners.
Originally, the Wangi Queen was known as The Ettalong and operated as a ferry service on the Central Coast's Brisbane Water. In 1938, she was purchased by Norman Hegarty and became “The Ettalong Star” and ferried Sydney-siders around the harbour.
In 1951, she was sold to Nicolson Brothers and became The Profound before being bought by Graham Burgess in 1974 to become the Wangi Queen and cruise around Lake Macquarie. Bill and Sue Gibson purchased her in 2003 and continued to operate her as Lake Macquarie’s favourite charter vessel.
n 2011, the “Queen” acquired new owners and caretakers, Marmong Point Marina, owners and operators of Lake Macquarie’s premier full service marine facility.
The Wangi Queen has always proven to be a desirable subject for oil painters as well as water colour artists and arts school sketching groups. Her unique lines and old world design attract model builders and boating enthusiasts to copy and admire her wherever she plies. Her charming presentation remains a remnant of a former age when craftsmanship was paramount.
In September 2012, Dynamic Experience Group welcomed the return of the Wangi Queen to Sydney Harbour and her new berth at the historic Campbell's Cove, The Rocks. The Wangi Queen will play host to thousands of visitors, as she once again ferries people across Sydney Harbour, this time to discover the fascinating stories and convict history of Goat Island for the Convicts, Castles and Champagne Tour. This classic ferry is also available as a brilliant charter option as the “Queen” play’s host to parties and events on Sydney Harbour.
No expense has ever been spared in preserving and maintaining the Wangi Queen to the best possible standards, so that future generations will see and appreciate the finer boatbuilding craftsmanship of that bygone era.
Vessel: Square Rigger, Tall Ship
A True Tall Ship Trekker
The tall ship Coral Trekker is a 23-metre, square-rigged, wooden tall ship with distinctive rusty red sails. Originally named HOHO 2, she was built in Norway in 1939, her hull constructed from Baltic Pine.
Since then, this magnificent and luxurious 75ft long tall ship has spent her time sailing the world before making the lengthy voyage to Australia in 1988 where she was eventually renamed Coral Trekker.
Having rounded Cape Horn twice, this traditional sailing ship displays a unique and interesting character.
In 2002, the Coral Trekker underwent a $580,000 refurbishment for her new life sailing Australia’s tropical Whitsunday Islands, providing ‘comfort-adventure’ short stay cruises. She has since won many state and regional tourism awards including the 2005 National Tourism Award for Unique Accommodation!
With topsail, t'gallants and yardarms, experience the old world charm and romance of yesteryear aboard the Coral Trekker in the vibrant and adventurous tropical Whitsundays.