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Duyfken Summer of Sail

Home > Perth > Boating | Cruises | Day Trips | Unusual Things to do
by Peter Hancock (subscribe)
Journalist, historian and naturalist living in Perth's eastern suburbs.
Event: -
Fun ahoy on the Swan River aboard stately tall ship replica
There have been stormy seas for Dutch replica sailing ship The Duyfken as it negotiates its way through threatened funding cuts.

Adding to the West Australian ship's drama was a breakdown of its two engines which put the ship out of operation for six weeks last summer during its prime twilight sailing season.

Duyfken, sailing, Swan River, cruise, Summer of Sail Twilight Sailing, tall ship,
The Duyfken will be cruising the Swan River between Perth and Fremantle until March 2018.

But this year, the waters look calmer for the Duyfken with a full season planned for its Summer of Sail Twilight Sailing program which will run through summer from October 13 until Sunday, March 24.

The public is being offered a three-hour sailing experience on the Swan River departing from the South of Perth Yacht Club travelling down the river towards Mosman Bay and then hopefully returning under sail with the help of the reliable Fremantle Doctor sea breeze.

The journey is a perfect chance to enjoy a Perth summer evening and get a taste of what it was like to sail on a 16th Century ship.

Duyfken, sailing, Swan River, cruise, Summer of Sail Twilight Sailing, tall ship,
The Duyfken replica is accurate right down to the ship's 16th century cannons.

It will also be a lot less rigorous than many of the voyages the Duyfken has undertaken since it was built in 1999.

The peaceful waters of the river are a lot different to the hazards sailors faced 400 years ago as they voyaged from Holland to the Spice Islands.

The tours operate several times a week over the coming months, leaving the South of Perth Yacht Club at 4pm to take advantage of the river at its best and the sun setting in the west during the three-hour sail.

Duyfken, sailing, Swan River, cruise, Summer of Sail Twilight Sailing, tall ship,
During the cruise you can learn the ropes of tall ship sailing.

Conditions will be much more pleasant for the 24 passengers on each cruise than it would have been when 26 crew members were crammed aboard the 20-metre sailing ship originally built in the Netherlands and beginnings its voyages in 1595.

The transition from the 21st Century to the 16th Century will be made a little easier for passengers on the twilight sails accompanied by gourmet rolls and a glass of Houghton Wine or Gage Roads Little Dove beer.

The Duyfken replica was built in Fremantle at a cost of $3.7 million. Since then more than a million visitors have been aboard for a taste of what it was like for the sailors of the late 16th and early 17th century.

Duyfken, sailing, Swan River, cruise, Summer of Sail Twilight Sailing, tall ship,
Kitchen and dining utensils were a far cry from today's pots and pans.

The Duyfken replica has taken its message of how Williem Janzoon and his crew in the original vessel were the first Europeans to set foot on Australian soil in 1606.

They landed on the western shores of the Cape York Peninsula around 10 years earlier than Dirk Hartog who arrived on the Eendracht in 1616.

The Swan River voyages will include a 10 to 15 minute tour of the ship with a Duyfken guide and storytellers on board will also speak about the history of the Swan River including its Noongar Aboriginal history and the arrival of Captain James Stirling, along with stories of the Dutch sailing history.

The ship will be sailing several times a week. For details and tickets go to
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Why? Enjoy a delightful summer sail on the Swan River in a 16th Century replica ship.
When: Throughout the summer from October 13 to March 24. See website for dates.
Phone: 0427 160 606
Where: South of Perth Yacht Club, Coffee Point, Applecross, Western Australia
Cost: Adults (16 yrs ), $145; Children (8-15 years of age), $85; Seniors/Concession, $120. Due to the nature of this sailing experience, it is not suitable for children under eight years of age.
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