Please select your home edition
Edition
T Clew Ring New Generic

Audi Hamilton Island Race Week - A pearler of a yacht

by Lisa Ratcliff on 25 Aug 2011
Ruby Charlotte at Audi Hamilton Island Race Week 2011 © Andrea Francolini Photography http://www.afrancolini.com/
Audi Hamilton Island Race Week - Ruby Charlotte, the first pearling lugger to contest the regatta, turns so many heads and generates so much interest on the dock that her owners have laminated fact sheets chronicling the boat’s colourful history ready to whip out for curious passersby.

Weighing the equivalent of 25 Audi A1s and the oldest boat competing at Race Week, the gaff rigged remnant from Australia’s pearling heyday is a far cry from the modern lightweight IRC racers.

Built in 1957 in the Brisbane River from spotted gum and Oregon, the 52 footer was originally called Nadine. She worked as a Thursday Island pearling lugger for 14 years until she was forced into early retirement by the cultured pearl industry.

A Torres Strait owner bought Nadine and renamed her after his two daughters, Ruby and Charlotte. After a decade working as a cargo boat and for pearl diving she was sold to the Cairns Maritime Museum where she deteriorated and eventually sank while tied to the pile moorings in Trinity Inlet, Cairns.

Current owners John and Liz Hinkling bought Ruby Charlotte in 1991 and gave her a brief refit before sailing back to their home on Middle Percy Island, south of Mackay, where the boat was put to work hauling cargo to Mackay and back every three months to restock the family’s supplies.

The Hinklings would head off with buckets of island honey and goat skins to sell at the markets and return with fuel, wheat, rice and other essential stores that couldn’t be made or grown on the island. Her strangest cargo during that period was a long wheeled based Landrover.

In 2001 the Hinklings gave Ruby Charlotte a complete makeover, hauling her out of the water for four months to be recaulked and refastened. The masts and rig were fully refurbished and her interior gutted and refitted as an elegant cruising boat.

The only gaff rigged boat contesting Australia’s premier keelboat regatta is racing in the Non Spinnaker Division for Hamilton Island Yacht Club.

The Hinklings, who now live on Dent Island just across the passage from Hamilton Island, are very happy the 2011 Race Week is the windiest in years given they have 35 tonne of boat to push through the water and the Whitsunday Islands’ notorious fast moving tide. So far they’ve hit a top speed of 9.2 knots.

Among all the white hulled production and other cruising boats, the wide double master with its classic lines and many odd shaped tan coloured Dacron sails, designed to mirror the look of the old tanned cloth sails, is a magnet to the eye.

Ruby Charlotte might not be taking home any spoils in the shape of a regatta trophy, in fact she’s currently bottom of the results pile, but the grand lugger that has seen more than five decades of service is without a doubt the pearl of the Audi Hamilton Island Race Week Audi Hamilton Island Race Week website
Barz Optics - Kids rangeZhik Dinghy 660x82Southern Spars - 100

Related Articles

Audi Hamilton Island Race Week- Marcus Blackmore's Hooligan wins IRC A
A 28-year dream of winning the Grand Prix division at Audi Hamilton Island has been realised for Marcus Blackmore. A 28-year dream of winning the Grand Prix division at Audi Hamilton Island Race Week has been realised for Sydney yachtsman Marcus Blackmore.
Posted on 27 Aug 2011
Audi Hamilton Island Race Week; Images of IRC Champion Hooligan
In yesterday's race around the islands, Marcus Blackmore's TP 52 Hooligan convincingly sealed victory as the Class In yesterday's race around the islands, Marcus Blackmore's TP 52 Hooligan (formerly Emirates Team NZ) convincingly sealed victory as the Class A winner in the Audi IRC Australian Championships, taking her seventh division win of the week in this closing championship regatta of the 2011 series.
Posted on 27 Aug 2011
Audi IRC Australian Championships 2011 - Full Results
With the final race of Audi Hamilton Island Race Week blown out, the 2011 Audi IRC Australian Championships decided. With the final race of Audi Hamilton Island Race Week blown out, the 2011 Audi IRC Australian Championships is now decided.
Posted on 27 Aug 2011
Audi Hamilton Island Race Week - Iconic sailing trophies on display
Audi Hamilton Race Week - The America’s Cup and Admiral’s Cup are on show this week at the Hamilton Island Yacht Club Audi Hamilton Island Race Week - For the first time ever, two of the most significant trophies in the sport of sailing, have been displayed together. The America’s Cup and the Admiral’s Cup are on show this week at the Hamilton Island Yacht Club. The oldest trophy in the history of international sport, the America’s Cup, arrived on Hamilton Island yesterday afternoon.
Posted on 24 Aug 2011
Blackmore’s Hooligan clear ahead in Audi IRC Australian title tilt
Sydney sailor Marcus Blackmore set his sights on winning the 2011 Audi Australian IRC Championship. When Sydney sailor Marcus Blackmore set his sights on winning the 2011 Audi Australian IRC Championship, he commissioned weatherman Roger'Clouds' Badham to determine the wind speed his new TP52 Hooligan, the former Emirates Team New Zealand boat should be optimised for, with new bulb.
Posted on 21 Aug 2011
Audi Hamilton Island Race Week - Photos from Day 2
Audi Hamilton Island Race Week Day 2 and giant 4.8 nautical mile legs for the IRC Class A windward leewards sailed on Ca Audi Hamilton Island Race Week Day 2 and giant 4.8 nautical mile legs for the IRC Class A windward leewards sailed on Catseye Bay today. Breezes were in the 13-18 knot range, classical winter trade winds, but as the tide flooded south, there was enough lump to excite the yachting photographers.
Posted on 21 Aug 2011