Brett Coombes with his 72ft boat, the Brettlin II, moored on the Fitzroy River. He has sailed through the coast of the Coral Sea and says the Keppel Islands are just as beautiful.
Brett Coombes with his 72ft boat, the Brettlin II, moored on the Fitzroy River. He has sailed through the coast of the Coral Sea and says the Keppel Islands are just as beautiful. Vanessa Jarrett

World-travelled boat makes way to the Fitzroy River

IT's been around the world six times but now takes pride of place on the Fitzroy River.

Emu Park man Brett Coombes is the proud of owner of the 72-foot, 250 horsepower boat Brettlin II.

Mr Coombes bought the vessel 18 months ago and sailed it from Darwin to Rockhampton.

He said it motored along quite well on the long journey, sitting at around 11 knots.

From Darwin to Cairns it was all smooth sailing but he encountered storms around Townsville and Mackay.

Mr Coombes said it wasn't the first time the boat had seen unfavourable weather.

He was speaking to a previous owner who told him he travelled from Adelaide to France and experienced two cyclones.

 

Brett Coombes with his 72ft boat, the Brettlin II, moored on the Fitzroy River. He has sailed through the coast of the Coral Sea and says the Keppel Islands are just as beautiful.
Brett Coombes with his 72ft boat, the Brettlin II, moored on the Fitzroy River. He has sailed through the coast of the Coral Sea and says the Keppel Islands are just as beautiful. Vanessa Jarrett

Facing 250km/h winds, the hardy sailor put up seven sets of sails as he feared for his life, he said.

During its lifetime, the boat has made plenty of trips to France and also to Adelaide and London.

In a previous life it was a charter boat called Lazy Bones based in the Malaysian islands.

Mr Coombes said the 35-year-old boat "doesn't draw too much - only 1.5 metres - because it is a twin keeler" which allows it to sit straight on the sand.

 

Brett Coombes with his 72ft boat, the Brettlin II, moored on the Fitzroy River. He has sailed through the coast of the Coral Sea and says the Keppel Islands are just as beautiful.
Brett Coombes with his 72ft boat, the Brettlin II, moored on the Fitzroy River. He has sailed through the coast of the Coral Sea and says the Keppel Islands are just as beautiful. Vanessa Jarrett

Since he purchased it, Mr Coombes has spent some money on a new shaft and prop, performed some welding work, and given it a new lick of paint.

Unfortunately he doesn't have much time to spend on the boat as he has a job as a fitter in Cape York, where he drives a road train for eight to nine months of the year.

But in the trips he has taken, Mr Coombes said the Rockhampton and Capricorn Coast region was incomparable.

He said the Fitzroy River also has its advantages with its calm and smooth waters.

 

Brett Coombes with his 72ft boat, the Brettlin II, moored on the Fitzroy River. He has sailed through the coast of the Coral Sea and says the Keppel Islands are just as beautiful.
Brett Coombes with his 72ft boat, the Brettlin II, moored on the Fitzroy River. He has sailed through the coast of the Coral Sea and says the Keppel Islands are just as beautiful. Vanessa Jarrett

The only drawback was it took about two hours to get out to the mouth of the river which is about 20km away, and it's so shallow in parts you need to know where you are going, he said.

"There is definitely some very lovely places along the coast and the Coral Sea but we have some of the best islands here with Keppel," he said.

"I have been through the Whitsundays but Keppel is just as nice.

"The river has its good days too."

And he couldn't fault the Fitzroy Motor Boat Club for its camaraderie and great facilities.



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