The Great White Whale : The Ship

Patanela, Spirit of the Storm

Without the sturdiest ship to take them there and back, through the roughest seas in the world, they wouldn’t stand a chance. Rupert Murdoch offered Warwick use of his own private yacht for the journey, but it was made of wood, and thus very vulnerable if dashed onto Heard Islands rocky shore. A steel hulled boat was needed and finally found- the schooner Patanela, a crayfishing boat based on the west coast of Tasmania. She came with a good Rolls Royce engine, which was vital when either no wind or gale force wind made sailing impossible. She was a tad small to accommodate ten men, who endured living conditions Tilman said were “perhaps acceptable to a second-class slaver”. But despite some close calls, she got them there and back. But sadly, her days proved to be numbered.