In the piece about Red Funnel’s announcement that its new fast ferry Red Jet 6 will be built at East Cowes, Isle of Wight by Shemara Refit, it was said that the decision to award the new build to Shemara Refit was influenced by the superb rebuild/restoration of the famous classic motor yacht Shemara by Shemara Refit.
Readers of my own vintage and older will remember the Shemara as the yacht of Sir Bernard and Lady Norah Docker, a couple who attracted many press headlines in the 1950s/1960s for their perceived OTT lifestyle. He was a successful industrialist, but his wife (her 3rd marriage) loved publicity. It is said that after a visit to a local mine in the middle 1950s, she invited several miners to a champagne party on the Shemara at which she danced the hornpipe.
In the mid 1960s the Shemara was put up for sale and although her new owner cruised her for a time, she was then berthed at Lowestoft where for almost three decades she languished largely forgotten. Sir Charles Dunstone of Carphone Warehouse fame, became aware of her and bought this fine old lady. In 2010 she was towed to Portsmouth, where for almost 31/2 years she underwent a stunning refit at Shemara Refit LLP. She emerged, still with her wonderful outward classic appearance, but otherwise in every sense a luxurious modern superyacht.
Quite by chance, David Walter, who provides so many excellent maritime photographs for Sea Breezes, sent me photographs of the ‘new’ Shemara in the Solent in April 2015. It is a pleasure to see this classic vessel restored and sailing again.