THE last chapter of the Shady Lady has closed after "one hell of a tale" of triumph on the high seas, disaster and finally promises of a bright future.
After taking out third place in the Darwin to Ambon race in June, Bundaberg-based yacht Shady Lady went to her final resting place in Indonesian waters when she took on water.
Skipper Peter Charles said the yacht sank so quickly they had little time to gather belongings and lost the trophy and prize money from the race, but on Tuesday his disappointment turned to elation and new hope as he received a replacement trophy.
"I haven't got my yacht back - that's the sad thing," he said.
"But (the trophy) cheered me up a lot.
"I'll have to go up next year and get first place."
Race crew members Judy O'Donoghue and Mark Clancy were also excited to receive the trophy for an event they all agreed was spectacular.
"It was great. I am 70 years old and have done a lot of offshore yacht racing," Mr Charles said.
"Thanks go to the Dinah Beach Cruising Yacht Association NT for organising such a great race."
Mr Charles said he began sailing the yacht back to Bundaberg after the race with Mr Clancy and his wife Catherine when it sank 537km (290 nautical miles) north of Darwin shortly after 7am on August 13.
"It had 81 years on top and took just 30 minutes to sink," Mr Charles said.
"We were prepared for the absolute worst, but didn't expect it to happen."
Equipped with an emergency bag, the dinghy contained all the necessities, from sunscreen to water and flares, which ensured they were rescued eight hours later by an oil rig support vessel called Go Canopus.
But the seafaring disaster has not been enough to deter the cheerful yachtie from competing next year in what will be his 13th Darwin to Ambon.
"It could be unlucky for some. I've just got to make sure my next yacht is waterproof," he said.
"I'm actually looking at (a new yacht) this weekend on the Gold Coast. Next year is looking pretty good for first."
Mr Charles said the replacement trophy and shirts that the crew received had provided closure, which they celebrated over a drink.
"It's the final chapter of the Shady Lady and it's time to move on," he said.
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