5 restored yachts once owned by Hollywood stars


Imagine sailing on the yacht aboard which Grace Kelly spent her honeymoon or spending a night in the sumptuous suite where Aristotle Onassis seduced Greta Garbo. It's possible - these classic yachts and many more glamorous ones like them are available for charter all over the world. Here's our pick of the best.


Lauren Bacall was the love of Humphrey Bogart’s life, although as she wisely acknowledged she had to share his affections. “If ever I had a woman to be jealous of,” she wrote in her autobiography, By Myself, “she was the Santana.” This was Bogart’s yacht, a pretty and slippery 16.7 metre yawl that Bacall said “enslaved” her film-star husband.

Ingrid Bergman, Richard Burton and David Niven were frequent guests aboard Bogart’s Santana, which he used most weekends and holidays for 10 years up to his death, aged 57, in 1957 and much of the sailing was around Catalina, off the California coast. Bogie raced, too, finishing first in his class in the San Clemente Island Race in 1950. “Bogie was in love … and truly had everything he’d ever dreamed of,” Bacall said of her husband’s boat.

She is back to her original rig as a schooner now, under the ownership of a group of sailors from the US West Coast. They have embarked on a complete restoration that should see her sailing again this year.

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Christina O

If ever there was a yacht crackling with the presence of screen gods and goddesses it is  Christina O. This 99 metre vessel was built for the Canadian navy, sold off at the end of WWII and bought in 1954 by Aristotle Onassis.

Onassis used a big slice of his fortune to turn Christina, named after his daughter, into a floating palace. Panelling from impoverished English stately homes was used for cabins; a mosaic decorated the bottom of the pool, which rose to deck level to become a dance floor; and a grand piano stood in the saloon. In the bar, stools were covered in leather from the foreskins of whales. Onassis delighted in telling his female guests perched at the bar that they were “sitting on the world’s biggest penis”.

And there were some famous women guests. Onassis, the supreme egotist, was captivated by the wrold's most beautiful woman Greta Garbo and Christina was part of his plan to seduce her. She soon became a regular guest. Arriving at Nice railway station, Garbo found that Onassis had laid on an entire orchestra to welcome her as she stepped off the train.

Onassis would sail the yacht to  Capri or  Venice and throw a huge party. Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor were regular guests and Frank Sinatra, John Wayne, Peter Lawford, Grace Kelly and, in 1963, Jackie Kennedy all joined in the exclusive fun. The yacht, like Jackie, now has an O after her name and is currently for charter. Camper & Nicholsons is listing her at £270,000 per week, plus expenses.

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Canadian Vickers   99.15 m •   1943


Elizabeth Taylor was so taken with life aboard her friend's yachts that she persuaded Richard Burton that they should buy their own. In 1967, when the couple were at the height of their fame, Burton bought a GL Watson-designed steam yacht, launched as Minona in 1906. The Burtons paid $192,000 for her and then spent six months and hundreds of thousands more on a complete refurbishment, adding artworks by Picasso, Monet and Degas. They renamed her  Kalizma, after daughters Kate Burton, Liza Todd and Maria Burton. She had been re-engined with diesels and could do 14 knots.

The boat became the couple's floating home for long periods while they were filming on location. In 1969, while Kalizma was tied up in Monte Carlo harbour, Burton presented his wife with a fabulous 69-carat diamond. He had bought it from Cartier for $1.1 million and it arrived aboard Kalizma under police escort. Taylor wore it for the first time a few days later (on a specially made necklace arranged prominently on her trademark décolletage) at Princess Grace’s 40th birthday party.

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Ramage & Ferguson   50.29 m •   1906

Deo Juvante II

When Prince Rainier married the Oscar-winning actress Grace Kelly in 1956, his friand Aristotle Onassis presented the couple with an extraordinary wedding present: a 44.8 metre classic motor yacht from the 1920s. The vessel, which Rainier and Grace named  Deo Juvante II, had been built for a wealthy Argentinian. It was acquired by Sir George Tilley, chairman of Prudential Insurance, in 1938, used by the British Royal Navy in WWII before being returned to Tilley after a complete restoration at her builder, Camper & Nicholsons. When Tilley died in 1951 the yacht was bought by one of Onassis’s companies.

Princess Grace spent her honeymoon and some of the happiest moments of her early marriage aboard Deo Juvante II, cruising the  Mediterranean; Corsica and Sardinia were favourite destinations. The vessel was sold in 1958 and had several owners until 2007, when she was bought by Quasar Expeditions, an adventure holiday company. Quasar refitted her and today she takes charter parties around the Galápagos Islands. As a nod to her Hollywood associations she is now named Grace.


Errol Flynn, the great swashbuckler himself, was also a dedicated seafarer. In 1945 he bought a 36 metre schooner that had been requisitioned by the US navy for patrol service during WWII. The vessel was built in 1929, along the lines of the Canadian Bluenose. After major work, Flynn renamed her Zaca and took her on a long cruise before chartering her to Orson Welles for his film The Lady from Shanghai, starring Rita Hayworth. There are some terrific sailing shots in the film but the images of Hayworth on deck, at her most alluring, proved even more memorable.

Flynn ended up living aboard Zaca (now renamed Zaca M) in Palma, Mallorca, until his death in 1959. The vessel moved to Villefranche, fell into disrepair and then attracted a strange reputation. A number of people reported seeing a ghostly figure, resembling Flynn, pacing her deck. Clinking glasses and laughter were apparently heard in her empty saloon. In 1979 a Catholic and Anglican priest conducted a joint exorcism. Zaca was later bought by an Italian businessman, extensively restored and based in Monaco.

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