Observations from MARALA - an elegant lady back on the water
Following a two-year rigorous and loving restoration programme at Pendennis Shipyard in Falmouth, the iconic MARALA has undergone a comprehensive refit.
From an era of yacht building that produced some inimitable classics, 59m MARALA is one of the few yachts remaining from this golden age. Built by the renowned Camper & Nicholsons’ Shipyard in 1931, she claims just five loving owners since new and, as a result, MARALA's original engines and layout have been well preserved and restored together with the elements of her mystery and magic. Boasting a rich heritage that has seen her converted for active naval service during World War II, protecting convoys in the Atlantic, her quiet engines making her a perfect foil to combat the lethal menace of the marauding German U-Boats and then to host distinguished guests such as Frank Sinatra and Salvador Dali, it is now MARALA's time to shine once again. Following a two-year rigorous and loving restoration programme at Pendennis Shipyard in Falmouth, this icon of the seas has undergone a comprehensive refit at the hands of remarkably talented craftsmen. With devoted Owners, determined to work sympathetically with her original design and retain every ounce of MARALA's spirit, character and charm, this project is now drawing to an enormously successful conclusion.
Senior Charter Broker at Ocean Independence, Stephanie Archer, recently visited the yacht towards the end of this impressive adventure and describes MARALA’s revived glory first-hand in her evocative journey of rediscovery.
"Following 89 years on the water, the last 20 were based in Athens from where MARALA cruised the Mediterranean extensively, often seen in Venice and the South of France, a comprehensive refit at Pendennis has restored this classic beauty back to the sparkling form of her heyday. Stepping on board, visitors cannot help but find themselves transported back in time to the wistful world of the 1930's, surrounded by soft art deco design and cradled in an ambience of nostalgia. A special mention to Muza Lab, a leading London based design company, who have made the design such a success, cleverly incorporating the wishes of her new Owners with the typical features of a classic 1930’s Camper and Nicholsons’ design.
Seeing MARALA in the water for the first time, resplendent in the sun, she created a breath-taking image that was indelibly etched in my mind. Slender and elegant, completely worlds apart from the yachts of today, she was representative of a reclining Bette Davis, languishing on a glass chaise longue in a flowing satin gown and a champagne flute in hand. This first sight was simply a taste of things to come, with descriptive adjectives never adequate to truly do her justice.
Expert and masterful craftsmanship continually reveal themselves throughout, from the intricate brass latticework gracing the salon windows and immaculate steel plate hull rivets, to the precise interior carpentry highlighting bespoke veneers and straw parquetry alongside delicate silk wall panels. The easy flow from one area to the next is beyond seamless, exuding style, precision and character as you glide through the yacht.
Reflecting the opulence of a golden era when refined travel reigned, the staterooms are themselves complete works of art. MARALA's original sleigh bed has been beautifully restored and carefully lengthened, with a mirror image twin impeccably constructed by expert craftsmen and proving a perfect match. By embracing and reworking these original pieces, the Owners have achieved the lavish aesthetic restoration synonymous with 1930's interior design, whilst mixing effortlessly with modern systems and technology. Equally in the picture-perfect salon, an enchanting mix of original, old and new has been flawlessly blended to create a comfortable and clever space, where notably the sole television can be found, remaining loyal to her authentic surroundings.
Walking through MARALA, it is increasingly evident the painstaking attention to detail, from light fittings to switches, decks to cushions, that the meaningful connection to the essence, character and soul of this yacht is everywhere. Seventeen pieces of original artwork have been completely refreshed and now adorn the walls, her original MAN engines have been fully overhauled and the beautifully aged dining room floorboards reflect and hold echoes and memories of glamorous parties from her bygone age.
Completing the tour, it very much felt that wearing a floaty summer dress and an elegant, wide brimmed floppy hat, would be entirely befitting to the uniquely charismatic atmosphere that MARALA generates. Beautifully presented and in sensational condition, you cannot help but be drawn, like a magnet and captivated by this alluringly glamorous lady of the sea".
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