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Interview: Fair Lady's owner on the joys of chartering his classic Scottish yacht

Fleet Ownership
Written by
Jo Usmar

The owner of Fair Lady, an exquisitely preserved yacht built in the UK in 1928, is a lover of both Britain's rugged northern coasts and of all things vintage travel. Having purchased the unique vessel last year, the British entrepreneur has her berthed near his estate in Scotland for the summer and describes her presence there as “a meeting of minds – a historic ship in a historic place.” Here, we speak with Fair Lady's owner to discuss the details of the 36.9-metre yacht and to learn exactly why a Scottish charter with her is so special.

Fair Lady is unique,” her owner says. “I’m into vintage cars – I am lucky to have travelled the world in a 1920s Bentley – so have always had this dream of doing the same on a vintage boat. When I saw Fair Lady it was a no-brainer. She oozes glamour, she oozes style, she oozes quality. It’s the architecture, the brass, the wood – it’s the touch and feel. It’s like walking into a time warp. Everything is the same as it was: the table, the chairs, the marquetry. She’s the most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen.” Fair Lady yacht anchored at nightPhoto: BurgessSleeping eight guests and six crew, the 36.9-metre Fair Lady has been looked after impeccably by all her owners. While the current custodian enjoyed undertaking a careful and sympathetic upgrade, it was mainly to add some finishing touches – the rest was already there. “The devil is in the detail,” he says.Fair Lady yacht aft main deckPhoto: BurgessFair Lady yacht deckFair Lady yacht deckPhoto: Burgess“I sit in a chair for 20 minutes and look around, then do the same from a bench and think, ‘What am I looking at – is it authentic? What would guests 90 years ago have been looking at?’ It’s why I installed 1920s telephones in all the rooms. If you’re on a 1920s boat why would you pick up a piece of plastic to speak to anyone? You deserve a Bakelite. It’s all part of the theatre, the experience. But luckily, the previous owner had Fair Lady for 30 years and that’s a very good thing. When I buy a car from someone who’s had it for 30 years I know it’s been looked after with love and passion.”Fair Lady yacht main saloonPhoto: BurgessFair Lady yacht stateroomPhoto: BurgessFair Lady yacht stateroomPhoto: BurgessWith original features such as the pear wood detailing and furniture in the card room and the art nouveau designs in the dining room, there’s also the joy in knowing Fair Lady is steered by the original ship wheel and brass binnacle which sit elegantly alongside the latest navigational technology. Maintaining the refined elegance of the luxury yachts of her era, chartering Fair Lady around Scotland is a truly one-off experience – for those who want to do something a bit different. Fair Lady yacht stateroomPhoto: BurgessFair Lady yacht saloonPhoto: BurgessFair Lady yacht study“It’s obviously not for everyone,” the owner confirms. “This isn’t for people that want to sweat in a hot tub. It’s only for those that will enjoy the magic. And it is magic. If you turn up at a popular berthing spot filled with huge superyachts, Fair Lady is like a magnet. Everybody wants to look at her, know about her, talk about her. Of course there are some people who simply don’t get it – but when you do, you know she’s special. I think there are only 12 like her in the world. She’s rare and that’s a special experience for our guests.” Fair Lady yacht studyPhoto: BurgessThe owner also offers guests the chance to stay at the 18th-century Laudale Estate. 20 guests can lodge in individually-styled suites in the main house, nestled on the southern shores of Loch Sunart on the Morven Peninsula, and there’s a further six self-catering cottages on the land. From here you can explore some of the best scenery and wildlife that Scotland has to offer, either by boat, foot or seaplane. Guests can book a seaplane tour from the owner’s plane-charter operation, taking off and landing right next to Fair Lady.They can even get picked up and dropped off at the airport to start and end their holiday in true style. Laudale landscapePhoto: BurgessLaudale landscapePhoto: Burgess“It’s all very cool and different,” the owner says. “Imagine arriving at a 1920s distillery on a 1920s boat, or arriving at the golf club in a seaplane. How many people can say they’ve done that? It makes me grin just thinking about it.”Fair lady yacht cruising Photo: BurgessThis article was first featured in The SuperYacht Times newspaper. Subscribe now to receive your copy straight to your door and never miss another issue. 

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