Luhrmann’s Great Gatsby yacht stops in at Mooloolaba
THE story of Hurrica V, a multi-million dollar prop for Baz Luhrmann's Great Gatsby and ultimately the 13-year restoration project of a millionaire with a fastidious bent for detail, would rival anything F. Scott Fitzgerald could have conceived.
Sydney architect Steve Gunns sailed into Mooloolaba yesterday on board his 18.1m classic gentleman's yacht with a tale of romance, war, serendipity, coincidence and ultimately loss.
A character as remarkable as the vessel he restored, Gunns is clearly in awe of what he has achieved.
The 13-year project that cost $4.6 million has left him far richer for the experience than the three years he's enjoyed sailing it and the current price tag of $US2.5 million would suggest.
"With two young boys, Saturday sport, friends and parties it gets little use,'' the 64-year-old Gunns said.
"It's time to move on. Life moves on. It's been in the family 13 years now.''
Restoring a vessel originally built for William Oliver, the clever son of an early Australian sheep baron, may have come at a heavy cost.
But the ongoing outgoings are the killer. Mooring fees run to $2000 a month and insurance at $15,000 annually carries a $100,000 excess.
"I sail her gingerly,'' Gunns said.
"My wife says we're selling to get out of boats. She's wrong." He admits, though, that whatever restoration project he takes on next will not be of the same scale.
Gunns once raced annually to Mooloolaba as part of a fleet out of Middle Harbour Yacht Club. Doing a return run one year he took on as a crew member a young accountant from Roseville in Sydney.
By Coffs Harbour he'd asked her to move in with him despite a 21-year age gap. By port they had agreed to marry.
The union has produced boys now aged eight and 10.
When Baz Luhrmann went searching for a vessel on which to shoot scenes of mining magnate Dan Cody he was pointed to Hurrica V. Gunns doubled for Steve Bizley in the sailing scenes.
It was an enjoyable experience and financially favourable and more than worth the experience of taking his boys to the film and hearing them shout "That's our boat".
Gunns' architectural background has made him a stickler for detail. It drove him to do hundreds of hours of research, searching the globe for solutions to the conundrum of maintaining the grace and style of the original Charles E Nicholson design while introducing modern amenities and features that include bow thrusters, washing machines and a black water treatment system.
Hurrica V was requisitioned during the Second World War and put into service as HMAS Stingray.
Hurrica V is due to make a stately departure this afternoon as she winds her way north to the Whitsundays.
Before then you are invited aboard if you come with a chequebook.
Hurrica V is being sold by Ensign Ship Brokers.