Don’t Miss Your Chance To Own A Piece Of Maritime History

Shenandoah of Sark has a storied past that reads like a history book. If the decks of the 120-year-old classic schooner could talk, they’d tell tales of aristocratic parties, Hollywood royalty and wartime revenge.

The three-masted 180-foot sailing yacht was built in 1902 by US shipyard Townsend & Downey for Charles Fahnestock, one of the richest bankers in America. Originally named Shenandoah after the native American Indian tribe – spot the figurehead underneath the bow – the yacht went through various names, and ownerships, before being returned to Shenandoah by previous owner Baron Bic.

During its colourful lifetime, the yacht has been owned by royals and barons, frequented by presidents and celebrities, captured by (and hidden from) invading enemies, and even allegedly commandeered by smugglers. Now, she’s now looking for the next patron to sail it into its next chapter.

“The history and the previous owner of the boat give it some character, along with the fact that she’s almost been scuttled three times,” says Captain Russell Potter, who has led the crew for 10 years. He explains there are five reasons the vessel is so special. “Firstly, it’s a piece of yachting maritime history. Secondly, it’s one of the most beautiful boats afloat. Thirdly, it’s hugely charismatic. Fourth, she’s a great boat to go sailing on. Fifth, you’re also going to be one of the most photographed, most glamorous boats wherever you go.”

I was given a glimpse of what life would be like for an owner, or a charter guest, during a recent stop in Sardinia. As we began to sail along the coast of the Costa Smeralda, her five grand sails billowing in the wind, we saw first-hand the attention the yacht commands. Crew and guests onboard passing motoryachts couldn’t help but stare and take photos as we passed – one even changed course to follow us.

It was easy to see why Shenandoah of Sark has hosted high-profile guests such the Kennedys and Rod Stewart – who featured her in the ‘What Am I Going To Do’ music video. During Potter’s reign as captain, his most famous guest was Pierce Brosnan, who spotted her at anchor off the Bora Bora Hotel in 2004. The actor, who was playing the role of James Bond at the time, asked the concierge to set up a visit, which the owner obliged to, inviting Brosnan on board for cocktails before dinner. “It was quite surreal picking up James Bond from a really fancy exclusive hotel and taking him out to this boat at anchor – it genuinely felt like it was a scene out of the movie,” Potter says.

There’s plenty more to the yacht than exquisite sailing. Shenandoah of Sark sleeps 10 guests across three cosy yet comfortable en-suite cabins and a giant master suite – look out for a secret door in the master’s library which leads to the captain’s quarters.

Below deck, the main saloon offers one dining option – a three-part custom gimbal table illuminated by a large skylight – while on deck, an al fresco dining space in the cockpit offers views of the surrounds and the crew at work as the chef serves restaurant-quality fare.

The interior, which was modernised in a 2009 refit, is classically elegant and dominated by wood – from the teak deck to the Oregon pine masts to the red padauk that dominates the interior, the sheer volume of wood is quite impressive.

When it comes to entertainment, you’re spoilt for choice – the yacht is equipped with toys including kayaks, paddleboards, Seabobs, an eFoil surfboard and scuba diving equipment, plus electric bikes for the land and two laser sailing boats – “if you can get three or four people interested, you can go and race each other and have a lot of fun.” Music and movie enthusiasts will enjoy the Steinway mini grand piano and the library filled with classical and jazz CDs, DVDs and BlueRays.

While the price tag of $9.9m seems fairly reasonable, some people may worry about running costs. Potter says. “Our budget tends to be quite differently focused to race boats or Perinis because it’s quite labour intensive. There’s a lot of crew on board because there’s three masts and nothing’s really automatic – it’s all manual, but having said this the costs are inline with yachts of similar size.”

But this is half of the yacht’s charm. From sailing the high seas to sticking on a DVD at the end of an evening, coming on board really is like stepping back in time to a simpler, bygone era.

Shenandoah of Sark is on sale through Burgess Yachts

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