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22 iconic photos of life at sea

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Errol and Nora Flynn, Rita Hayworth and Orson Welles

Bettman/Getty Images

From the yachting clique of Hollywood's golden era to modern sailing icons, click through to see the stories behind some of the most iconic and glamorous images ever taken of life at sea...

Errol and Nora Flynn, Rita Hayworth and Orson Welles

Errol Flynn may not have made the cast list alongside Rita Hayworth and Orson Welles in the 1947 film noir The Lady from Shanghai, but his yacht Zaca clinched a starring role.

The 36 metre wooden schooner, launched by Nunes Brothers in California in 1930, belonged to the swashbuckling actor from 1946 until his death in 1959. In the Welles-directed movie Zaca stood in for the yacht belonging to lawyer Arthur Bannister, with whom Welles’s character Michael O’Hara gets tangled up in a fake murder plot that turns into a real one – the famous denouement taking place in a hall of mirrors. In this photograph, taken during a break in filming in 1946 in Acapulco, Mexico, Flynn and his wife Nora joined Hayworth and then-husband Welles to celebrate the actress’s birthday on board the boat.

The film was extensively reshot and brutally cut under the orders of Columbia Pictures boss Harry Cohn, who didn’t appreciate Welles’s documentary-style cinematography – pushing it vastly over budget – and the resulting movie was not a critical success. By the time it hit screens Hayworth and Welles were also finalising their divorce. Zaca passed through the hands of several owners after Flynn’s death in 1959, falling into disrepair, and was dogged by rumours of a rather merry haunting – sounds of a lively party emanating from the empty boat persisted so long that she underwent an exorcism in 1979. Fortunately, her current owner, Roberto Memmo, who bought her in 2008, has lovingly refitted her in classic style and she now continues to make star turns – although nowadays those are at Mediterranean regattas rather than on the silver screen.

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