NOTORIOUS, a replica 15th century caravel, has returned to the Clarence River.
Known to many as the "pirate ship", Notorious sailed into the Clarence to berth at Iluka at 2am on Wednesday, charming onlookers later that morning as it lay moored outside Sedgers Reef Hotel in Iluka.
Owners captain Graeme Wylie and wife Felicite are passing through to visit family in Iluka on their way north to spend winter in the Whitsundays.
Plans to sail upriver to Grafton and open the 58-tonne hand-built ship to the public were scuttled at the last minute by scheduled maintenance on the Harwood Bridge over the next two weeks.
"It's a shame but there'll be another time," Mrs Wylie said.
Built entirely with recycled timbers over 10 years at their home in Victoria, Notorious turns heads wherever it goes.
"It's amazing how this vessel makes everybody very happy," she said.
"It's incredible how many people feel strongly connected to it."
Notorious will continue its passage north mid next week, but in the meantime the best place to view the ship, which is not open to the public, is from the Iluka Jetty and Sedgers Reef Hotel, or catch the Iluka-Yamba ferry for a waterside view.
Notorious was last in the Clarence in September and will return in the spring.