BIG BOAT: Owner Leo Rodriguez said it was a pleasure to meet the real Enid, the namesake of his boat.
BIG BOAT: Owner Leo Rodriguez said it was a pleasure to meet the real Enid, the namesake of his boat. Marc Stapelberg

Yacht's visit is a cruise down memory lane for widow

SITTING under the bow of the classic yacht her late husband built and named after her 50 years ago, Enid Cockle and her daughters Sue and Liz Cockle were reunited with the beloved family yacht at the Ballina Slipway yesterday.

Sue Cockle said the family heard the yacht was at the Ballina Slipway from a friend and decided to make the trip from Fernleigh to see it.

"As kids we grew up sailing on this ketch and it's just quite extraordinary to see her," she said.

"And she's in very good condition and she's absolutely beautiful."

Ms Cockle said the luxury 74-foot timber ketch yacht was built in 1961 by her father John Cockle at the builder's yards in Milperra, Sydney.

"He was an amazing person my father. He was a real entrepreneur," she said.

"It was an extraordinary thing because she was the largest on the east coast of Australia at that time.

"[My mother is] very proud of her husband, as we all are. I'm very emotional.

"I'm highly proud of him and could burst out crying. It's just extraordinary to see her [the yacht] looking so well."

Ms Cockle said she could remember family holidays with her two sisters Liz and Val and her brother Ted on the yacht riding on the bowsprit and watching the dolphins below.

"As kids we used to sail all around the Barrier Reef," she said.

"We used to have the budgie in the bird cage hanging off the boom. And we used to take the cats with us and they would jump overboard trying to get hold of the jellyfish and all the boys used to dive in and rescue the cats."

Ms Cockle said the yacht held the Sydney to Brisbane race record for 13 years.

It also took part in the Sydney to Hobart and Sydney to Noumea races and is considered a classic timber ketch in Australia.

Ms Cockle said her brother Ted was the youngest person ever to sail a Sydney to Hobart race, which he did on their family yacht, Enid.

She said the yacht left the family in the late 1960s and is now being renovated before making its way back up to the Whitsundays.


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