59m classic motor yacht Marala, one of relatively few surviving yachts from her era, has a fascinating story of 1930’s elegance, German U-boats and Hollywood glamour. Built by Camper and Nicholsons in 1931, she has had unusually few owners for her age, meaning her character, basic layout and original engines have all been preserved. However, many modifications have been made to her superstructure and interior throughout her life, most notably when she was converted for naval service during World War II. Beloved by several notable Owners, guardian of wartime naval crew and host to distinguished guests such as Salvador Dali, Frank Sinatra and international royalty, she is now a historical icon infused with character from each era of her life.
When she came onto the market in 2016, it was for the first time in over 50 years, and her new Owner sought to have her meticulously restored. Her Captain remarked “Marala’s new Owner recognised the rare opportunity to own a Camper & Nicholsons classic motor yacht but understood that her essential structural requirements would impact her interior, meaning it would be wise to address engineering updates at the same time. With a determination to remain sympathetic to her heritage and original design, the decision was made to bring the yacht to Pendennis to complete a restoration and preserve her spirit for many years to come.”
A comprehensive programme of works will see upgrades to the yacht’s domestic and electrical systems that will harness modern engineering methods. The steelwork of the hull will be renewed, and amendments to her profile will undo some of the modifications made over the decades. As much of her original timber as possible will be kept and refurbished, including the beautifully aged floorboards in the dining area and saloon. Her recently rebuilt original engines have been kept, but the power train is being refurbished to upgrade the propulsion down through into the water.
London based design house Muza Lab have been commissioned to bring a new look to the décor that both respects and celebrates the 1930s spirit of the vessel. Beginning with the original design spec and blueprints from the National Maritime Museum archives, they extensively researched Marala’s history, developing an understanding of her heritage and character which they would reference throughout the design process. The designs for the guest cabins are a journey through different periods of Marala’s life, with 1930’s style waxed linen panels, nods to her time in military service, and savoy blue accents symbolising the Palace of Savoy in homage to a former Owner. The Owner’s area will be rich with art deco glamour, inspired by the 1930’s ocean liner, the SS Normandie.
Muza Lab explained “In her 89 years of illustrious history, several performances have graced the stage that is this grand dame, each with its curious cast of characters. It is this rich heritage, specifically the times full of optimism, of heady glamour, that we have sought to honour in our new design direction for Marala. Far from an interior restoration project, this has been about reinvigorating her 1930s spirit, preserving her aura for years to come.”
The project is scheduled for completion in November 2021. Joint Managing Director, Mike Carr commented “Pendennis is renowned the world over as the premier destination to complete a complex restoration project like Marala. Years of experience working on award winning projects such as Fair Lady, Shamrock V, Malahne and most recently Haida 1929 has given our 430 strong workforce not only a broad understanding of the complexities of completing a project such as Marala, but also a deep respect for preserving the heritage of these yachts for generations to come. We pride ourselves on being able to sympathetically balance traditional craftsmanship with modern technology, breathing new life into these historic yachts”.