The Vlaming Story

Proudly part of the West Australian-based Rick Fenny Group (Maitraya Private Retreat, Ocean Park Aquarium, Pets + Vets WA, Desert Vet), Vlaming has undergone a breath-taking transformation from government patrol boat to lavish charter vessel in its lifetime.

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The Beginning

Built by the Back brothers in 1962 in a Rocky Bay Shipways shed on the banks of the Swan River in North Fremantle, the 40-foot vessel came with a £15,000 price tag.

Destined to navigate West Australian waters as part of the Department of Fisheries’ patrol fleet, Vlaming was constructed to withstand the harsh waters of the Indian Ocean. Made primarily with first-grade Jarrah and Oregon timber, she successfully traversed a 600 mile stretch of coast from Bunbury, in WA’s south, to Bernier and Dorre Islands, west of Carnarvon. The trip included passing along the treacherous Zuytdorp Cliffs.

In later years, Vlaming was involved in sea rescue and salvage operations – and was once nearly lost in a gale while rescuing another boat. Her history also includes acting as a support vessel for scientific and naturalist exploration voyages.

The Next Chapter

Having completed her Fisheries Department service, Vlaming became a private charter vessel, working out of the Exmouth Gulf in WA’s north.

She soon returned to her hometown of Fremantle and the vessel changed hands a number of times. Throughout this time she was a regular, well-recognised visitor to historic Rottnest Island.

A New Lease on Life

A mystery buyer purchased Vlaming in 1994 for $35,000, despite having never set foot on her decks.

According to sources, the buyer had years earlier witnessed the boat leaving Rottnest during a storm, when no other boat dared depart the tourist island, and he made up his mind on the spot that he would one day own the vessel. A keen vintage car and motorbike collector, the new owner bankrolled Vlaming’s stunning restoration, a process that cost more than $315,000.

Not long after, the mystery buyer sold the vessel to Mark Payne, the man who had completed her painstaking refurbishment over 20 months, using knowledge he’d gathered as an apprentice in UK boatyards.

Boutique Charter Venture

Three years on, Perth commercial skipper Alan McLaren bought the vessel and launched Vlaming Classic Charters which he and his family ran for 12 years.

In 2023, the historic Vlaming baton was passed to the Rick Fenny Group, who relaunched the boutique charter vessel venture as Vlaming Charters.

Read About The Restoration