• Emma Lombard Author

Exploring Notorious

Updated: Nov 8, 2019


Notorious, replica Caravel, docked in Cleveland, Queensland, Australia. Photo credit: Emma Lombard

The Notorious is a full-size, sailing re-creation of a 15th century Portuguese Caravel. This exploration vessel from the Age of Discovery was single-handedly researched, designed and constructed by Australian, Graeme Wylie, over an 11 year period, with 9 of those years on the tools full-time. The Notorious is constructed from Monterey Cypress salvaged from the bonfires of south-west Victorian farms and was launched in 2011.


Her Lantern Rig, borrowed from the Arab Dhow, improves windward sailing and is more easily handled by a small crew. The Notorious is steered by an upright tiller extension called a Whipstaff as steering wheels had not been invented at that time. Caravels were used by European explorers to discover a route to plunder the riches of the East and were often favoured by pirates for their speed, agility and large holds.


The Notorious is Australia's earliest ship reconstruction and she is the only sailing Caravel in the Southern Hemisphere. To see where she's sailing next and when she'll be open for inspection, follow Notorious on Facebook.

Visiting the Notorious is a must for any historians, boating enthusiasts, shipwrights, woodworkers and wannabe pirates alike!


Master woodworking craftsmanship up close. Photo credit: Emma Lombard

Black sails make a striking change to the usual white. Photo credit: Emma Lombard

Raised quarterdeck with Whipstaff for steering. Photo credit: Emma Lombard

Diagram of the workings of the Whipstaff steering mechanism. Photo credit: Emma Lombard

Capstan for raising and lowering the anchor. Photo credit: Emma Lombard

Wooden block and tackle pulley. Photo credit: Emma Lombard

Cargo hatch on main deck. Photo credit: Emma Lombard

Decorative carving on the gunwale. Photo credit: Emma Lombard

Companionway from below, leading up to main deck. Photo credit: Emma Lombard

One of the single berths below deck with storage beneath. Photo credit: Emma Lombard

Right hand side: tiller of the Whipstaff coming down through the lower deck. Photo credit: Emma Lombard

15th century period decor. Photo credit: Emma Lombard

Cargo hatch that when left open acts as a skylight for the lower deck. Photo credit: Emma Lombard

Mess table and storage chest. Photo credit: Emma Lombard

One of the double berths - tight sleeping quarters. Photo credit: Emma Lombard

Brass pot. Photo credit: Emma Lombard

Chests, hooks and shelves built into the bulkheads provide unique storage. Photo credit: Emma Lombard

Cooking hearth surrounded by slate. Photo credit: Emma Lombard

One of several barrels and chests for storage. Photo credit: Emma Lombard

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