Melbourne's Tall Ship commences 2011-2012 season

Enterprize sailing on Port Phillip
Bill Burrell
Melbourne's wooden topsail schooner Enterprize commences her new sailing season on Sunday 28 August with three days of activities at the NAB wharf in Melbourne's Docklands precinct. A full sailing program is planned for Enterprize until June 2012, ranging from one hour sails for the general public and school groups, through twilight and overnight sails, to a number of extended multi day voyages to country Victorian coastal destinations.

The Enterprize is an all timber carvel built, traditionally rigged two masted topsail schooner – a replica of J.P. Fawkner’s Enterprize which brought the first European permanent settlers from Launceston to Melbourne in 1835. The vessel provides the opportunity for people to experience life on board, sailing a wooden sailing vessel as it would have been in the nineteenth century. The ship is operated by a not for profit Trust, and sailed by an experienced Sailing Master with Enterprize volunteer crews.

As part of Melbourne’s 176th birthday celebration, Enterprize will be open for inspection at NAB Wharf in Docklands. From Sunday 28th to Tuesday 30th August (Melbourne Day!), there will be a number of one hour sails in the Docklands; bookings will be essential. In between sails the ship will be open for public inspection. Melbourne Day celebrates the Sunday morning when the first settlers from Launceston stepped ashore from the original Enterprize, at the bottom of William Street on the banks of the Yarra and commenced building their settlement.

One hour general public sails take place on weekends on a monthly basis from Gem Pier in Williamstown and Steampacket Jetty in Geelong. Midweek sails for school groups are regularly conducted, according to demand and weather conditions. In the holiday periods between Christmas and at Easter the Enterprize travels to Geelong, Portarlington and Rye for public sails in those locations.

For people interested in longer sails there are a number of options. For the daylight saving period from October to March there are a series of general public Sunset and Twilight sails, usually on a Friday or Saturday evening. These give people the opportunity for a sail of about 1.5 hours, with views of the top end of Port Phillip and Melbourne in the twilight period of the day. There are also a number of overnight Adventure Sails, and Sunday 'Day on the Bay' sails programmed. The boat is available for Corporate and Special Functions for evening or up to half day sailings.

For those interested in a multi day adventure on a traditional wooden tall ship there are three extended offshore voyages planned for the 2011 - 2012 season. In late November the Enterprize is heading east from Williamstown on Port Phillip to Port Welshpool via Bass Strait and Wilson's Promontory. In March the ship will sail from Williamstown to Portland and from Portland to Williamstown. These trips, crewed by experienced offshore volunteer crews, are a unique lifetime experience for up to 8 passengers.

Further information is available from www.enterprize.com.au or the Enterprize Ship trust office 03 9397 3477