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Yachts for sale with a difference: the unusual, the unique and the idiosyncratic

There are yachts out there to suit every taste and temperament – sleek and fast, rugged and adventurous, sophisticated and stylish – and most of them fit into succinct categories or types, each appealing to a certain type of owner. And then there are the yachts for the non-conformists. Vanilla they are not, and some of these yachts have pasts that you just could not make up. So for those who like to stand apart from the crowd, or opt for something just a little bit different, here is a selection of yachts for sale that don’t quite fit the typical superyacht mould…

Don Giovanni | 1964 | 28m

Hers is a story that spans continents, and borders on the absurd. The former tug Don Giovanni, of Japanese provenance, spent her early years tugging gigantic blocks of concrete between Singapore and Nigeria for the construction of Lagos harbour. She then changed course for Italy, working for the di Napoli shipping company, before being converted into a luxury yacht in 2004.

Still bearing the marks of her industrious past (she has an indelible di Napoli anagram on her chimney) Don Giovanni has taken on a more domestic air with her conversion, with a bay window-style frontage to her superstructure and slender arched windows. She is not a conventional superyacht by any means, but is nonetheless luxurious, classic and comfortable. Reliable, seaworthy and undaunted by any weather Don Giovanni has a character all of her own and is looking for a new owner to write the next chapter of her colourful history.

Says Tomaso Polli her broker, ‘She is a truly unique vessel, like no other on the open market today. This is a rare opportunity to purchase a unique vessel with classic appeal, offering luxurious pleasure cruising.’

RS Eden | 1930 | 47.96m

When Janidore, as RS Eden was originally called, was launched in 1930 she was state-of-the-art in every respect, with nothing like the clipper profile she now has. Her first owner was paper-making millionaire Zellerbach and she passed through many hands, including those of the US Navy during the Second World War, acquiring and losing various names along the way. As Luisa II she was modernised in 1966 by Merrill-Stevens at the behest of her then owner, W. H. Bauer. Becoming Fulmara in the 1990s she had a limited refit and worked as a charter yacht, but by the time she was bought by her current owner in 2005 she was in a state of disrepair and corrosion had set in to her bow. Plans for a radical transformation were drawn up by Tim Saunders, who sought to return her to her original classical style, albeit with an extended bridge deck, new flying bridge, and clipper bow including bowsprit and a sheerline to match – a far cry from her original severe straight stem.

Having completed an intensive yard period this winter, RS Eden is fresher than ever.

‘Classic charm is not something that can be designed, engineered or built,’ says her broker Toby Maclaurin. ‘You won’t find an explanation or rating of it in brochures or sales specifications. Some classic yachts have it and some don’t, but RS Eden has classic charm in abundance.’

‘For me the aft bridge deck is just such a great space, large for a yacht of her size, secluded and out of the way, yet you can see all that is happening around you. I don’t know of a comparable modern yacht that can replicate the area and the atmosphere of this deck.’

‘She has just completed a charter, dropping off her A+ list star and celebrity guests in Sicily, declaring it’s the best charter they have had. Of course all credit to her captain and crew, but I am sure RS Eden played her part as well.

Islander | 1991 | 58.52m

The most unusual thing about motor yacht Islander is that she used to be a sailing yacht. The 58.52m vessel was originally built by Australian Yacht Builders as an ABS-classed motorsailer – apparently a compromise between a father and son who had different visions of their ideal yacht. The father passed on, but the son never gave up on his original dream of owning a true motor yacht and with onset of the global recession in 2008, when the charter market dried up, decided the time was right to initiate the metamorphosis. A year and a half laterIslander emerged from a refit, sans mast and keel, and transformed both inside and out into a motor yacht.

She now boasts a swimming pool and stows two cars and a sportfisher. Up to 13 guests can be accommodated in her five guest cabins and she offers a gymnasium for the active, and a lift for the less so.

Moonbeam of Fife III | 1903 | 30m

Moonbeam of Fife III is indeed of Fife pedigree, built in teak on elm by the Scottish yard to one of William Fife III’s designs. Commissioned by London barrister Charles Plumtree Johnson, she was the third of four yachts of the same name that were launched between 1850 and 1920, and started life as a yawl. Between the 1920s and ’30s she made a move to the Mediterranean where she acquitted herself well on the racing circuit, winning the Course Crosière de la Mediterranée, but then she was abandoned in France for almost a quarter of a century. Fortunately someone saw fit to rescue her in 1998, and she was sent to the former Camper & Nicholson yard in Southampton for restoration before making a return to the classic sailing circuit, where she took part in the third edition of the Fife Regatta in 2008, and winning in her category at Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez.

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