Romantic yacht will be making history once more

HEADING BACK The yacht Shemara
HEADING BACK The yacht Shemara

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THE refit of a classic motor yacht will be a ‘once in a lifetime opportunity’ for Burgess Marine in Portsmouth.

The firm has been supporting the team behind the refit of the 1938 motor yacht Shemara since 2010, and it has been announced it will now be in charge of the three-year mechanical refit programme.

She has been kept in dry dock at Trafalgar Wharf, where the extensive works will be completed.

It is something of a homecoming for her, as she was built by JL Thorneycroft in Southampton, and Trafalgar Wharf was formerly the Vosper Thorneycroft shipbuilding yard.

The 64m yacht will be stripped down, décor will be redone, and her clapped-out engines will be repaired.

Burgess Marine’s technical director, Ray Cutts, will be in charge of her structural repairs, renewals, and the marine engineering needed to get her seaworthy.

He said: ‘To be part of such a unique and challenging project is personally very exciting, but moreover it’s great news for Burgess Marine. We look forward to overcoming the challenges and playing a big part in creating the finished article.’

MY Shemara has a somewhat romantic history, and made headlines around the world throughout her life.

She was seconded as a submarine training vessel during World War Two, and used her sonar to locate HMS Untamed – a missing submarine that had been lost with all hands.

She was then famously owned by Sir Bernard and Lady Docker, bought by them for £800,000 at a time when £10 was a respectable annual wage.

They hosted glitzy parties on board her during the 1950s, and were famous for their extravagant lifestyle.

When they put her up for sale in 1965, the superyacht passed to the ownership of reclusive property tycoon Harry Hyams of Oldham Estates for £290,000.

He left her sitting in Lowestoft for 20 years, where crew prepared lunch for him each day just in case he arrived, which he never did.

The yacht was refitted last in 1992 and was sold to Charles Dunstone, the founder of Carphone Warehouse.

Nicholas Warren, Burgess Marine’s managing director, said: ‘The project is a once in a lifetime challenge, a unique opportunity, and a significant step forward for both Burgess Marine and independent superyacht refit works here in the UK. We all believe that this refit will change the way owners look at the major overhauls of their yachts, and that’s a very exciting prospect.’