Historic Rubeena a target for vandals

Vandals have cut tarps on the historic Rubeena boat. The vessel has been broken into 15 times in the past few years. Captain Alan Lewis is pictured with the boat, which has been pulled out of the water as annual repairs are undertaken.
Vandals have cut tarps on the historic Rubeena boat. The vessel has been broken into 15 times in the past few years. Captain Alan Lewis is pictured with the boat, which has been pulled out of the water as annual repairs are undertaken.

THE boat that has been on the water longer than the Titanic has been sunk has been pulled ashore for annual repairs.

Captain Alan Lewis has been hard at work ensuring Sale's iconic Rubeena will be able to continue to transport passengers along the Sale Canal and past the historic Swing Bridge.

Minor works during the repairs will include upgrades to the propeller, a new paint job and reinstalling the boat's original steam whistle.

Despite being the oldest registered boat in Victoria, Mr Lewis said it was frustrating to have continued break-ins after hours.

"It's been broken into 15 times in the last few years," he said.

"They generally steal things like tools and plastic wine glasses."

Vandals have also caused the boat's roof to cave in slightly, and have cut through plastic blinds.

Mr Lewis said he had reported it all to police, and hopes CCTV surveillance in the area will deter troublemakers.

The Rubeena recently celebrated welcoming its 20,000 passenger, and has become one of Sale's most popular tourist attractions.

The boat is synonymous with the Race the Rubeena fundraiser, in which local runners try to get from the Port of Sale to the Swing Bridge and back before the boat can catch them.

It is not known whether Mr Lewis will be using this year's annual repair to add any extra power to the boat's motor in order to win next year's race.

Port of Sale Heritage Cruises are scheduled to recommence by Saturday, August 10.

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