10 remarkable refits and restorations of classic yachts

Written by Jason Spinks

It has to be said, sometimes older is better and there are many in the industry who would say that sailing on a vintage yacht gives an unbeatable feeling which cannot be matched by today's high-tech vessels. For a select few owners, taking on a restoration project is extremely rewarding, as proven by the cases outlined in this list of classic yacht refits where vessels were brought back to their full potential after decades or even centuries of use. 

VagrantHerreshoff, 39mVagrantThe 39-metre Herreshoff sailing yacht Vagrant, built in 1913, was refitted in 2017 at the Royal Huisman shipyard, with Dykstra revisiting her naval architecture. The refit included the reinstallation of her engineering systems and classic interior and the restoration of the deckhouse as well as brand new crew quarters.

SS DelphineGreat Lakes Engineering Works, 78.55mSS Delphine yacht  at anchor off MonacoPhoto: Charl van Rooy / SuperYacht TimesThe SS Delphine, built in 1921 by Great Lakes Engineering Works and first known as Dauntless, has had several refits, the most recent of which was carried out in Zeebrugge, Belgium, in 2003. The original owner's daughter conducted extensive research for the various refits, and the yacht currently calls back the roaring '20s, combining a classic feel with today's amenities and communication means.  

Haida 1929Krupp Germania Werft, 71.1mHaida 1929 at anchorPhoto: Bruno Buisson / SuperYacht TimesThe RINA-class Haida 1929 has sailed under many previous names including Dona Amelia and has undergone several refit works, including in 2011, 2016 and 2018. This involved rebuilding the ship’s structural integrity, an extension of the sundeck and several alterations to the interior, such as the addition of a Hammam spa.

Over the Rainbow of LondonDickie & Sons, 35m Over The Rainbow cruising off Nice Photo: Benoit DonneThe 35-metre Over the Rainbow of London, a mono-hull displacement yacht built in 1930 by Dickie & Sons, was restored to glory in 1991 and had another refit in 2004 at Mondo Marine, being held to the highest standards throughout her lifespan. 

NahlinJohn Brown & Sons, 91.44m (Credit: Giovanni Romero)Nahlin in the Caribbean Photo: Benoit Donne
This John Brown & Sons build from 1930 is 91 metres in length and has a volume of 1,356 GT. She underwent a refit from 2006 to 2007 at Nobiskrug, and was then brought over to Blohm & Voss from 2007 to 2009 where her old steam turbines were replaced by diesel engines. She has gone through a total of five years of restoration since being purchased by her current owner.

SavaronaBlohm & Voss, 135.94mSavarona yachtPhoto: Malcolm John WoodSavarona, the 136-metre built in 1931 by Blohm & Voss, featured original naval architecture and exterior design by Cox & Stevens. Diana Yacht Design revisited her naval architecture and her latest interior comes from Donald Starkey Designs. The yacht is currently used as the presidential yacht for Turkey and once belonged to Atatürk.

MalahneCamper & Nicholsons Shipyard, 50.29m Malahne anchoredPhoto: EdminstonThe Camper & Nicholsons yacht Malahnemeasuring 50.29 metres and built in 1937, has had several refits, the latest of which happened in 2017. This refit brought her design back to the original and upgraded her to Lloyd’s Register class.

ShemaraVosper Thornycroft, 64.68 Shemara cruisingThe 64.68-metre Vosper Thornycroft motor yacht Shemara has changed owners only twice since she was built in 1938. It was under the ownership of her most recent owner that she received maintenance works in 2016. The owner created a company for the extensive refit, Shemara Refit LLP. She was given a contemporary interior while keeping a lot of her original attributes, and she now runs on a Rolls-Royce diesel-electric system.

AliciaDefoe Shipbuilding Co., 51m RS Eden yacht in Monaco for the Monaco Classic WeekPhoto: Merijn de Waard / SuperYacht TimesAlicia, built in 1930 and known under many names including Janidore when she was built, has received a rebuild in 2015-2018 at Southampton Marine Services group, during which she was given an almost entirely new steel hull and a completely new aluminium superstructure, with all of her onboard systems also being replaced.

Endeavour, Camper & Nicholsons Shipyard, 39.56m Endeavour yacht sailing Endeavour is a 39.56-metre J-class sailing yacht from Camper & Nicholsons Shipyard, with naval architecture by Dykstra Naval Architects and Charles E. Nicholson, who also designed the yacht’s exterior. She was restored to her full glory in the 1980s in a trailblazing restoration project which you can read all about here.



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Vosper Thornycroft yachts (11)

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