July 9, 2014


The recent launch in Sydney of “Annabelle Rankin” has added a third, state of the art $2.6 million Rocket catamaran, to Captain Cook Cruises’ fleet. Designed in Sydney by Incat Crowther and built in Tasmania by Richardson Devine Marine, thisnew generation, 24 metre Rocket catamaran isfuel efficient, eco-friendly and equipped with the latest technologies to reduce her carbon footprint.

Destination New South Wales, Chief Executive Officer, Sandra Chipchase officially launched “Annabelle Rankin” in the traditional maritime way of breaking a champagne bottle across the bow, to the cheers and applause of those standing on the dock.

At the conclusion of the official duties, up came the gangway and “Annabelle Rankin” sailed from her dock at King Street Wharf. As we sailed under the Harbour Bridge, past the Opera House and out into the Harbour, I was delighted to join, with other guests at the launch, in toasting “Annabelle Rankin” with champagne and canapés. While we enjoyed the sunny morning sitting out on the deck, we were able to experience “Annabelle Rankin” going through her paces and I am sure this new red Rocket will be a welcome addition to the fleet.

The vessel is named after one of Australia’s pioneer stateswomen, Dame Annabelle Rankin (1908-1986). Dame Annabelle claimed a number of firsts in Australian government including the first female federal minister. She was also the first female federal opposition whip in the British Commonwealth (1951-66), the first female head of a diplomatic mission, as high commissioner to New Zealand (1971- 74) and the first Queensland female to enter federal politics as a senator for the state (1946-71). In 1957 she was appointed a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) for political and public services.

“Annabelle Rankin” will join her sister vessels, “Elizabeth Cook” and “Mary Reibey” on Sydney Harbour. The two level catamaran has a main passenger cabin with seats for 116 passengers and a further 31 seats located on the lower outside deck. Upstairs an open upper deck has seating for 51 passengers, providing ample space for passengers to stand and view the sights.

Sandra Chipchase, CEO, Destination NSW

Sandra Chipchase, CEO, Destination NSW

Contracted to Harbour City Ferries (Sydney Ferries) until June 2017, “Annabelle Rankin” will be providing ferry charter services.

Jeff Ellison, Managing Director of SeaLink Travel Group, said this third new vessel was part of the company’s plan to be a major charter operator on Sydney Harbour.Mr Ellison commented that these new rockets offer a fast service and a high level of comfort for passengers including large viewing windows, contemporary seating and a 360 degree viewing sundeck.

One of Australia’s most dynamic tourism and transport operators, Adelaide based SeaLink Travel Group, has undergone a remarkable period of growth. Their operations extend across New South Wales (Captain Cook Cruises), Queensland (SeaLink Queensland), Northern Territory (SeaLink NT) and South Australia (Kangaroo Island SeaLink).

SeaLink has commissioned a fourth state of the art catamaran, which is due to arrive in Sydney Harbour in December 2014.

Sandra Tiltman.