Spirit of 1937: The Malahne Sails Again


Words by: JPS for duncan quinn

As pleasure craft go, the luxurious 164-ft. 1937 Camper & Nicholsons steam yacht Malahne has seen a lot of action.

Commissioned by yachtsman William Lawrence Stephenson, aka the ‘British Mr. Woolworth’, she roamed the globe before serving in World War II and participating at the evacuation of Dunkirk in 1940. She was later owned by Hollywood film producer Sam Spiegel of On the Waterfront fame, served as the production headquarters for the making of Lawrence of Arabia starring Peter O’Toole and also hosted stars including Elizabeth Taylor, Grace Kelly, Frank Sinatra, Kirk Douglas and Jack Nicholson. Surviving in pretty good trim until the 1980s, like so many other yachts of her era she fell into disrepair and neglect and seemed destined tor the scrapyard.

This one has a happy ending, however; a few years ago the rusted hulk of the yacht caught the attention of top-drawer yacht broker Nicholas Edmiston, who soon found a prospective buyer. The yacht arrived at the Pendents Shipyard in Falmouth on a barge in September 2012 in a decidedly decrepit state with orders to “recreate the vessel as she was in the 1930s.” No small task, but with the help of exterior designers GL Watson she was given a carefully concealed modern makeover, while Oliver Laws was recruited to create a stylish Art Deco interior, complete with original Bakelite telephones and deck telegraph that has been repurposed for the most up-to-date electronic satellite communications. 30 months later the Malahne is ready to set sail once again, and is easily one of the most stylish craft on the water. St Barth’s anyone…?

Words by JPS for duncan quinn