Mercury soared as luxury yacht roared through night

STREAMLINED The luxury yacht Mercury

STREAMLINED The luxury yacht Mercury

A picture believed to show the Lord Mayor of Portsmouth, Denis Daly, visiting Marchants Hill, 1940

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She weighed 208 tons, was capable of 60 knots and was dubbed ‘the fastest yacht in the world’.

How many of you remember seeing the streamlined lines of Mercury in Portsmouth Harbour?

How the Evening News reported Mercury's presence in the Solent

How the Evening News reported Mercury's presence in the Solent

Peter Hatch, of Chartwell Close, Fareham, thought readers would revel in the memory of the vessel which was launched by Vospers at Portchester in 1961.

Apart from creating what must have been a record at the time for crossing, in darkness, the Bay of Biscay from Brest to A Coruna, in just eight hours at an average speed of 44.25 knots, the three-gas-turbine boat was something of an enigma at the time.

She was built for the Greek ‘tanker king’ Stavros Spyros Niarchos, who had the boat’s interior fitted out to the design of Professor Pinnau of Hamburg.

As a local German newspaper noted at the time, ‘why this new construction should be so severely hidden from the public eye – no one knows.’

If you worked at the Vospers yard (pre-Vosper Thornycroft) and would like to share your memories of Mercury, please get in touch.

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