A New Era in Experiential Learning in the Dampier Archipelago Begins
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Pilbara Success Description of photo here
The Story of Our Custom Boat Build

What's in a Name?

The term 'Pilbara', may have originated from the Nyamai and Banjima languages where the word bilybara means hot and dry, or alternatively it may have been derived from the term Pilbarra given to the huge sea mullet that are prolific in our waters. During the early 1800s the name was associated with a tributary of the Yule River called Pilbarra Creek, but in 1885 that name reached infamy with the discovery of gold in the area. The ensuing gold rush that followed and subsequent naming of the Pilbara (Gold) Fields cemented the term in history.

Description of photo hereThe Pilbara has been synonymous with a series of treasure rushes in rapid succession of each other. Indeed the region would appear to have hardly the time to catch it's breath with one boom barely having a chance to bust before the next began. In 1861 the Naturalist Pemberton Walcott stumbled across the finest pearl fishery on the planet at Hearson's Cove - not more then 10km from the present site of the Pilbara Camp School. Wading into the shallows on the spring tide Walcott and the crew of the Dolphin collected 5 ton of pearl bearing shell, "many larger than a man's head." 

In addition to all of the above, the Pilbara region is associated with iron ore, liquefied natural gas and even has an abundance of salt, but this comes as no surprise to the local Aboriginal people who many, many years before simply called the particular region where we are located Karratha which means "soft earth" or "good country." William Dampier, the buccaneer, cartographer, prolific writer and one of the greatest explorers of the late 1600's should have had a chat to the locals when he called in for literally one night in 1699 and wrote that "this area will be good for nothing but minerals."

Description of photo hereGold rushes aside, here at the Pilbara Camp School we think that the greatest treasure of all in this good country is its people: Those whose heritage lies here, those who stop for a while and those whose visit may only be brief but rewarding. Everyone has something to offer. While there at times exists a school of thought in the region that we are somehow disadvantaged by our geographic isolation, we believe the opposite: That we are indeed fortunate to be afforded the opportunity that arises from being able to contribute to the unique shared talents of the Pilbara good country community.

So we fuse the powerful story of diverse people that is the Pilbara with what the Pilbara Camp School is about: Success Education. With the underlying belief that we have a backyard that creates more opportunity than limitations, and the understanding that every student can and will be successful we arise at the name of our vessel: Pilbara Success. To find out more about the success toolbox click here

The Very-Best Design for an Extraordinary Aquatic Environment.

Having worked with students for many years from all corners of Western Australia we commissioned Naval Architect Francois Vivier to design a vessel specifically for the needs of school groups in the Dampier Archipelago. With supreme sea-keeping ability our vessel will provide access to varied ability groups to the 42 Islands of Dampier's Archipelago. Click here to see more of Vivier's work:

Description of photo hereThe Build Begins.

Shipwright Tony O'Connor has been selected to complete the build and his experience and skill-set fusing the latest modern methods and material with traditional craftsmanship is producing an outcome that to-date meets and exceeds our exacting specifications. To see the many examples of Tony O'Connor's workmanship go here:

Watch the amazing footage of the hull being turned over here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dDQEybHA8cs&feature=youtu.be

Why Would we be Building a Whaleboat? 

Quite simply, our design is the most fit-for-purpose vessel for working with students in this area. Here's why:

The 42 Islands of Dampier's Archipelago are a truly exceptional resource for student learning. Our weather, wind, tide and climate are all relatively moderate in comparison to areas of coastline elsewhere. Couple this with the unparalleled opportunity for safe-harbour provided by the 42 islands located within 15nm of the mainland shore and we can do what few others can: that is, to almost be able to guarantee an exceptional learning experience at the time you book your activities. 

Our design is tailor-made to be the ideal 'package' for providingDescription of photo here access to the Archipelago for student groups. Incredibly seaworthy - exceeding our requirements - just like the Essex's whaleboats which voyaged 4 000 nautical miles of open ocean in 1819. You can read more about the extraordinary efficacy of the whaleboat here: http://www.americanheritage.com/content/essex-disaster. 

Interestingly there is direct link between the Nantucket shipwrights of the 1800s and our Archipelago with numerous American Whalers plying what was then known simply as 'Dampier's Archipelago.' Whaling journals of the day recount many 10 000km voyages made by whaling ships to the Archipelago which is today known as a superhighway for whales. It is not at all difficult to imagine the whaleboats being lowered into the waters of Mermaid Sound and the whalers at oar or sail pursuing their quarry in our own waters.

Further to the inherent seaworthiness, the shallow draft of only 40cm enables us to get into shoals where the other big boats just can't go and even better the GRP sheathing over ply that you can see in this image enables us to 'dry out' the vessel on the intertidal areas. We will be able to glide-in under outboard power, oars or sail and our passengers will be able to simply pivot over the gunnels and walk onto the shore!

Powered by sail, oar or 40hp outboard the possibilities for this vessel are limitless. From hands-on activities for novices to racing and everything inbetween there is something in this vessel for everyone. 

What's so Special About Our Specifications? 

While we've established the shallow draft gets us into places where others can't go, it also buys us time. While we will always utilise a tender as a support vessel we won't actually need it for personnel transfer thus saving us on time. The shallow draft is offset by a 100kg retractable keel adding to the vessel's ability to 'self right' in a knockdown (or more importantly not get knocked-down in the first place unless we intend it for capsize drills). Additionally the boat will have level floatation or the capacity to have it's full load and be full to the gunnels with water while remaining in the upright position.

The sizing is an interesting one. We wanted to go as big as we could whilst still being able to legally tow the vessel on the road. The 2.5m beam is the maximum permissible on the road, and the 10m length keeps the whaleboat proportion that is so critical to the vessel working as it should. Being trailerable opens up further opportunities allowing us to access from a range of launching areas. Interestingly the purpose-built whale hunting boats were never as large as ours - simply because in the 1800s it was impractical to engineer the rigidity required to prevent a vessel of this type collapsing under its own weight when winched onto the mother whale ships. Today we have the technology with modern materials to build a more rigid load-bearing structure unrestrained by the requirements of the extraordinary whalers of yesteryear.

Des Prizmic

Authorised Provider: Sailing Australia

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