Marala Sees Light of Day as Renovation Progresses

The 59m classic motor yacht Marala

The 59m classic motor yacht Marala, has been successfully re-floated in the 75m dry dock that has been her home for the past two years. 

Her flood up concludes the successful completion of the yacht’s exterior structural and paint work programmes carried out at the Pendennis Shipyard in Falmouth.

Designed and built by Camper & Nicholsons in 1932 she was sold to Hong Kong based interests in 2017 by a family who had owned her for over half a century.  The new owners, only the fifth in 88 years, began conducting a total refit of the vessel.

Stage one saw two years of work undertaken in Malta and that included a newly appointed crew mess, crew cabins and an extensive rebuild of the classic motor yacht’s original 1930’s M.A.N. engines.

Stage two involves a substantial period of renovation at Pendennis to upgrade the steelworks, domestic and electrical systems, a completely new guest area, and several superstructure modifications that aim to restore her original classic yacht profile. 

The project has now entered its final phase and will move to a wet basin facility for completion. Her final trials and handover are scheduled for spring 2022. 

The London based interior design company Muza Lab, have created an interior reminiscent of the Art Deco era when Marala was launched. Many classic woodwork features typical of the build have been sympathetically incorporated into the new design. Silk panel walls, straw parquetry, brass fittings, crystal chandeliers and a fireplace are particular features that the owners specified as important to the new design.

While she has carried the names Zapala and of Gaviota IV before she became Marala, the classic motor yacht was originally built as Evadne at the Camper & Nicholsons shipyard in Southampton for Montague Stanley Napier who commissioned her in 1929 but he passed away before she was completed.

The attractive classic yacht has been in operation since 1931 and was when last sold largely original, however some significant alterations have been made over the years. 

In the early part of the yacht’s history her first owner, the aircraft builder Sir Richard Fairey, made changes to the original 1931 design prior to delivery and more extensively during a refit in the winter of 1936-37.

The arming of Marala and her conversion for naval service during World War II saw further alterations made, however these were reversed when Fairey restored her with the return of peace.

More significant changes were made in 1950 when she was acquired by Arturo Lopez-Willshaw who commissioned French interior designer Georges Geffroy to redecorate the owner’s cabin and the main deck public rooms, resulting in a combination of original and 1950s elements.

G.L. Watson who are experts in the restoration of classic yachts suggest, “Much has been added in the course of changes and renewals however we find extensively in Marala yacht elements originally from the 1930s which have merely been relocated and re-used: the opportunity to gain the value of these is compelling but requires specific knowledge.”

In regulatory terms, Marala benefits from remaining classed with Lloyd’s Register, but there are significant challenges to be overcome should a new owner require compliance with the MCA Large Yacht Code.

The stability criteria to which Marala was built do not meet today’s requirements and substantial added weight has only served to add to the challenge of her renovation which sees the yacht now flying the flag of the Cook Islands

Pendennis is well placed to take on this work. As a superyacht build and refit shipyards it is one of Cornwall’s important employers with over 450 highly skilled tradespeople based at the 19-acre prime waterfront location in Falmouth, UK.  The yard’s facilities include three bespoke-built construction halls alongside a 150m dry-dock, with the capacity for superyachts up to 100 metres. The 800 tonne travel hoist enables launching into the 7,564m² purpose-built non-tidal wet basin.