A virtual tour aboard Steam Yacht Ena: PHOTOS

Click on the gallery above to witness Steam Yacht Ena's Snug Cove arrival, and to take a virtual tour of the treasured vessel.

As it rounded the corner and came in to berth at Snug Cove on Tuesday, Steam Yacht Ena painted a picture of elegance.

More akin to a piece of art than a sea-faring vessel, the 113-year-old treasure described as “flawless and without equal”, and widely regarded as the world’s best, enthralled the crowd of locals who stood waiting to catch a glimpse.

Despite a full restoration in the 1980s, she oozes Edwardian class and sophistication, and it’s not hard to see why she spent so much of her life accessible only to society’s elite.

The expansive deck is surrounded by the glean of brass, copper and varnished timber, but below deck is even rarer still.

The main saloon, gentlemen’s saloon and ladies’ cabin each have their own distinctive style, including an inlaid table, folding card table and etched glass murals respectively.

The engine room is home to a magnificent shining steam engine, and of course there is the surprisingly loud steam whistle, which proved a highlight among the watching crowd on Tuesday.

One of SY Ena’s skippers, Hamish Turner, said Eden provided the halfway stopover point on the vessel’s journey to Melbourne.

Recently acquired by Hamish’s brother Warwick, Ena will now be more accessible to the public under plans to make her available for cruises on Melbourne’s Port Phillip Bay and Yarra River.

After taking on fuel and conducting repairs on the engine and other equipment on board, the crew will depart for Melbourne on Wednesday morning, and estimate a three-and-a-half day journey.

“Her main purpose in life has been to entertain guests on board, and that’s what we’ll be doing with her in Melbourne,” Hamish said.

“She’s in survey for 49 guests, and that’ll be her job in Melbourne out on Port Phillip Bay and the Yarra River.

“Rene Rivkin and a few of his friends were actually heavily involved in the restoration of the boat in the 1980s after it sank near Tasmania.

“They restored it for the America’s Cup defence in Fremantle, so she’s already been around Australia once, but this would be her first trip out to sea in 30-odd years.”

The restoration is just one aspect of a fascinating history which has seen SY Ena pass through 10 previous owners, including the Royal Australian Navy, who requisitioned her in 1917 as a patrol boat in the Torres Strait.

Aside from this, the vessel spent the majority of its early years entertaining guests on day trips around Sydney Harbour, before being bought in 1940 by the Roche brothers and set up for trawling work and harvesting scallops.

It returned to its old stomping ground of Sydney Harbour in the late 1980s as a charter vessel, and was eventually purchased at auction for a private owner in 1991, before Warwick Turner’s purchase this year.

A crew of nine, including members of the Turner family and veteran steam engineer John Davis, are currently on board.

“She’s pretty rugged-looking at the moment, but once we get her back to Melbourne, we’ll be spending a week or so prettying her up, cleaning the deck and getting her back up to scratch,” Hamish said.

“Everything’s gone well on the trip so far, even though there has been a bit of seasickness on board,” he joked.

“A few of us have had a spew, and the Navy in fact bought her off the original owner for about £1500 in its day, and they used her to take the cadets out to see if they were going to be seasick or not.

“The weather at this time of the year isn’t ideal to be relocating her to Melbourne, but that’s just what we can do around work commitments.

“We’re hoping for a bit of good weather and I think it’s going to be OK, but we know how important this boat is to Australian maritime heritage – in fact there are only three of these sorts of boats left in the world – so we’re not going to put her in any danger, or ourselves for that matter.

“We treat her well, and she treats us well.”

For more information on the Steam Yacht Ena, visit click here.

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