Speaking to David Tomlinson, owner and skipper for the past 13 years of RV Flamingo Bay, you gather he is both extremely excited to sell her and move on to the next chapter in his life, and torn, with a torrent of memories and adventures aboard this unique vessel.
'There’s no doubt that she will be sold,' he says, referring to the upcoming auction Monday 7 October at Southport Yacht Club on Queensland’s Gold Coast. 'Within the first week of starting the campaign, we had at least 10 serious enquiries and there are currently about six potential buyers from all over the world, and local operators in Australia.'
Built by Belliard Creighton for the Belgian government in 1956, the product of two years planning and designing and two years construction to the highest specifications, the 36m vessel was originally built for coastal patrols and rescues in the treacherous North Sea.
Intended as an ice breaker, her engineering is second to none. 'This is the boat you want to come rescue you if you’re in trouble anywhere at sea,' says Tomlinson. 'I’ve taken on 20ft waves in this and she hasn’t missed a beat.'
He continues: 'She has saved many ships and lives during her earlier life as the Belgium government’s ice-breaking rescue tug. I found her 13 years ago in the Caribbean and brought her back to Australia. Since then, we have created the perfect ‘get away from it all’ platform.
In early September, she will be slipped at Harwood, on the Clarence River near Yamba, and a naval architect and surveyor will go over the vessel to produce a full current 2B survey.
'They have a 2700 tonne cradle there and can handle decent sized boat,' says Tomlinson.
Among his favourite memories aboard Flamingo Bay are taking her through the Panama Canal. 'That was fascinating. To captain your own ship through the Panama Canal. It was wonderful! It’s one of those voyages you always dream about. It was on my bucket list!'
Then there was the serenity and postcard-perfect sunsets, sitting at anchor in Opunohu Bay, Morea, Tahiti. 'It’s a beautiful place. I stayed there for three extra days as I crossed the Pacific. It was incredible – a tropical paradise.'
Flamingo Bay has travelled through much of the South Pacific over the past 13 years: Tahiti, Fiji, Vanuatu, the Solomon Islands, Pago Pago.
'That’s what I’ll miss – the ability to explore the planet safely. I’ll be losing my range!'
Tomlinson plans to take his 'little wooden freighter', the 56ft Bronzewing to the US by transport ship, from Brisbane to Georgia. 'Then in April we’ll take it to the Bahamas and enjoy the lifestyle there. I have so much research planned, and lots of diving. I want to get back to filming.'
He has no doubts he’ll soon be farewelling his unique and historic vessel. 'There are enough people who are legitimate buyers, that I am confident she’ll be sold. That’s the advantage of putting it up for auction - people have to make up their minds by the date.'
Under the experienced gavel of auctioneer, Colin Banks, the Auction will be held 7 October 2013, 1100hrs EST at the Southport Yacht Club, Main Beach, Gold Coast, Australia.
Registered buyers can bid during the auction either personally, or via phone.
Enquiries to Ian Swan, Swan Super Lines. Tel: 0416 110 466.
More information www.swansuperlines.com and www.adventureshipauction.com
by Jeni Bone
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2:37 AM Tue 20 Aug 2013GMT
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