How charter favourite Lady S was transformed in Lady E

Lady E exterior

“Gone are the days of whisky and cigars,” says the captain of Lady E. Clare Mahon finds out what he means during a visit aboard in Sicily 

Some yachts are like that. You can arrive in a port where you’ve never been and look around for a yacht that you’ve never seen and recognize her instantly. I had no trouble identifying Lady E in Syracuse harbour in Sicily as she was by far the biggest and most beautiful yacht there on that summer evening.

This is an experience many have shared since her launch in 2006 as the custom 69-metre Lady S. However, this well-maintained superyacht, active on the charter market, started her life looking substantially different. Her refit extended her by six metres.

The extended beach club offers an informal entertainment space “where kids can just hang out”

The extended beach club offers an informal entertainment space “where kids can just hang out”

As is often the case, after purchasing the yacht a couple of years ago, her new owner undertook a refit. “We wanted a five-star platform for memorable multi-generational charters, the best possible canvas that we could enhance,” the owner says. “Operational reliability, volume, ceiling height and deck layout were fundamental, and we decided that anything less than 65 metres [213ft] and 1,300 gross tonnes would be too small.” They sought to build on the yacht’s assets – high ceilings and spacious, multi-functional rooms – and a track record with charter clients looking for refinement. 

Modern luxury was the aim. “Gone are the days of whisky and cigars,” Captain James Kennedy says. “This is an ideal yacht for family charters, and we wanted to focus more on water sports. It’s good for the crew and it’s even better for the guests to come away from their vacation with a new skill or a new hobby. We didn’t want to change the level of service for our comeback charter clients, but we needed more emphasis on getting good family time.” He adds, “The setup was too formal; the yacht was missing an intermediate space that was wet bathing-suit-friendly. Kids would go swimming and then have to go to their cabins to get changed. At that point, it was hard to get them back out again and away from their screens.”

Renamed Lady E after her sale, the yacht asserted herself with her new LOA and beach club. The owner’s engineer, Winterbothams, and the technical team at Burgess worked with naval architects Azure on the modification, which took place at the Pendennis shipyard in the UK. 

Guests may never notice a large part of the work, but they will notice the enhancements. For instance, extending the length also required work on the propulsion, with the redesign and replacement of propellers and work on the shafts, which improved seakeeping. Other invisible work includes new compliance with current environmental standards. 

“We greatly treasure the family memories and experiences and the access the yacht gives us to places we may never have visited”

“New grey water treatment infrastructure was added, along with a new desalination plant, new sewage treatment infrastructure, and new air-conditioning systems. We replaced the generators with two Scania 350kw and one Scania 300kw generator that meet Tier III IMO requirements. This led to new power-management and alarm-management systems and the replacing of the exhaust infrastructure. Lady E can now process her own grey water into drinking water and convert seawater to freshwater,” the owners says.

“Even more significantly,” he continues with a point of pride, “she emits lower NOx and SOx and is more than 10 per cent more fuel-efficient. The new environmental footprint of Lady E is smaller than most day boats.”

More than three miles of new fibre-optic cabling led to additional improvements in the now-paperless bridge, with electronic mapping, a new FLIR thermal camera, and satellite communication systems. The AV/IT was also enhanced with new communication systems. New 77- to 85-inch screens operated through an iPad interface replaced the previous televisions. “Now, as far as systems go, it’s like we have a two-year-old boat on a 16-year-old platform,” the captain says.

More visible to guests will be the new spaces created by the hull extension and a GA that now encompasses a massage room. The hull extension was accomplished without dramatically altering the yacht’s profile and the new beach club looks like it was always there. Portholes in the new section mirror the ones further forward, keeping the look consistent, but the spaces are vastly different.

The original symmetrical staircases that led to the original swim platform are still here but there is a lot more space behind them now. “This is the space we were missing, a place where kids can just hang out,” the captain says.

Hang out and hang 10 from the looks of things. Boards of all types are stacked against the walls, from an Andy Warhol surfboard to wake, paddle and foil boards. “The beach club has achieved what we wanted. It’s a place for entertaining and fun that unites everyone aboard. Now our charters are all-encompassing, not just food and alcohol, although we still do those very well,” Kennedy says with a smile.

“The setup was too formal; the yacht was missing an intermediate space that was wet bathing-suit-friendly”

The new space has a beach-house vibe, with a huge transom door and light coming in from a skylight and porthole windows. “We used synthetic teak flooring so that it’s practical to just hose it down, but with a full bar, we can still offer the same quality of service that we always have,” the captain says. “The beach club gives our clients a place to enjoy family time as they cruise to new places. They discover things together, they share. The charters become a time when they learn a new skill or grow to love a new sport. For the crew, it’s nice to be part of this growing experience.”

Although the cabins were left essentially as they were, Lady E’s spa and wellness spaces are important new onboard additions

Although the cabins were left essentially as they were, Lady E’s spa and wellness spaces are important new onboard additions

An almost unexpected benefit of the new beach club is a new space on the main deck. “This is the only aft space that isn’t shaded by an overhang and with its glass railing, it’s like a grandstand for watching what’s going on in the water,” the captain says. “It has also made the aft guest cockpit much more private than it used to be and as a result, we’re using it more.”

“We didn’t want to change the level of service for our comeback charter clients, but needed more emphasis on good family time”

Inside, past the captain’s cabin and a cabin that can be used for guests or staff, there is now a wellness room. “This used to be a guest galley, as the wife of the original owner enjoyed cooking,” the captain explains. “Without changing the layout, we made it into a treatment room.” Designed by Exclusive Living, it has an engraved glass feature wall with underwater scenes, a massage bed, a hairdresser’s chair, and a space for facials.

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The changes made inside the sky lounge that included bespoke pieces by Hermès show how respectful the refit was to the original interior by the late Italian designer Walter Franchini. “We didn’t want to change the interiors so, just as an example, where we closed off the door to the guest galley, we sourced wood panelling to replicate the [veneer in the] rest of the salon,” the captain explains. 

In the main deck lobby, Franchini’s original sculptural spiral staircase holds its own against the artwork displayed all around it. “The original owners were experienced yachtsmen and even though it was unusual then to have a full-beam owner’s cabin fore on the main deck, they knew that was what they wanted,” the captain says, leading the way to a large, bright cabin with pieces by Picasso and Chagall. 

The owner’s bathroom is also full-beam with his-and-hers sections joined by a shared shower. Closets have sections that can be locked off, allowing the owners to leave belongings aboard even when they charter.

More changes were made to the so-called barbecue deck (above the bridge deck). Here, the massage room next to the Jacuzzi became a new Turkish hammam with an ocean view, and the gym was updated to focus less on aerobics and more on current exercise trends. “Now it’s more about yoga and cross-fit training with new SkiErg, Rogue Echo, and NordicTrack exercise bikes and water rowers, it’s more ‘trim and terrific’ than ‘bold and bulky,’” the captain says. 

If much of the refit work was done with an eye to the charter market, the owner and his family chose the yacht primarily to meet their own needs. “We use Lady E to celebrate major family events, like my parents’ 60th wedding anniversary in the Maldives, where the crew arranged a life-size sand sculpture replica of the church they were married in,” the owner says. “We have been able to encourage significant support for our charities aboard Lady E, but most importantly, we greatly treasure the family memories and experiences and the access the yacht gives us to places we may never have visited. The more we can experience with the children the better,” he says. And as for all of those boards in the new beach club? “Dad enjoys a little speed,” the owner says. “The technology associated with the new electric foil and surfboards is dangerously enjoyable.”

Although many members of Lady E’s crew have been with her for quite a while, the addition of the beach club and the yacht’s new focus on playing together and staying together has required some new skill sets. “We have specialists in water sports and someone to do video editing,” the captain says, and adds the refit was worth the investment. “From an emotional standpoint at least, this refit has been worth every penny from the very first charter. Think, the last people who chartered were three generations of family and the grandmother and children had tears in their eyes when they left.”

While perhaps not tearful, the owner says he is happy with the result. “Lady E’s refit took more than a year, longer than expected, but given the amount of work, the number of variations to our initial plan and the impact of Covid-19, we were pleased with the outcome,” he says. “The Lady E crew and the various contractors did a splendid job. In the future, we would consider doing a project of this scale at one of the leading shipyards in Australia and afterwards cruising the Great Barrier Reef, the Kimberley and other Asia-Pacific spots.”

Wherever she may be, in an Italian harbour or exploring the Pacific, Lady E stands to be one of those immediately recognizable yachts – not quite a classic yet, but one classy superyacht.  

First published in the September 2023 issue of BOAT International. Get this magazine sent straight to your door, or subscribe and never miss an issue.

The Turkish hammam has an ocean view and the large pool is heated

Pops of color warm the more formal dining space

The full-beam master suite has an office and lockable closets

The beach club holds a range of water toys from dinghies and waterskis to SeaBobs and an aquapark

LOA 244' 4"

Gross tonnage

LWL 195' 6"

2 x 2,374hp Caterpillar

Beam 39'

3 x Scania DI-1309- 1M

Draft 12' 1"

Speed (max/cruise)
17/12 knots

Range at 12 knots
5,800 nm

Owners/guests 12

Fuel capacity
45,974 gallons

Crew 21

Freshwater capacity
7,259 gallons

Steel hull; aluminum superstructure

1 x Wajer 55;1 x Super Air Nautique G23
1 x Zodiac rescue tender

Naval architecture


Exterior design
Walter Franchini

Refit yard/year
For charter

Interior design
Walter Franchini

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