The 65m MY La Sultana was re-launched in July 2015 following a seven-year reconversion requiring over one million, two hundred thousand hours of labour. La Sultana Group, attracted by her elegant silhouette, design, strength and exceptional history, acquired the yacht in 2007 and started to rebuild her into a ship that embodies the idea of travel and décor. Now listed for sale through Camper and Nicholsons, TSO speaks to the owners about the opportunity to buy a piece of history.
The boundary for La Sultana’s reconversion was to preserve the authenticity and elegance of her past, reconfigure the interior and exterior spaces, while integrating the modern technology. Built in 1962 to carry passengers in the Black Sea and then used for strategic purposes by the Soviet Union - it is believed the ship was sent to listen on conversations between the US and UK during the Cold War - the challenge was to restore La Sultana into a private yacht that houses seven large guest staterooms.
“Retaining La Sultana’s original personality was one of the project’s priority as this is what makes this yacht so special and unique,” explains her owners. “The aluminium superstructure was rebuilt according to its original shape and entirely re-riveted, giving it the firmly classic silhouette of a ‘gentleman’s yacht’.”
This ambitious restoration was led by a team of naval construction and navigation professionals under the leadership of the French naval architecture company Orion Naval Engineering, and the supervision of the RINA classification office and the flag authorities.
With restoration projects having significant differences in financial and logistical implications compared to new build projects, this project required an unlimited budget. “A refit is the only way to shape a yacht with authenticity and to create something truly unique that we cannot achieve with a new build,” the owners explain. “The financial and logistical implications in such a project often exceed the new build budget as there is more uncertainty.”
Great attention was focused on retaining the boat’s original personality. “Even though the yacht has been completely refitted to meet today’s standard, many items have been kept as relic of the past to highlight the history of the yacht,” they add. “As part of the exterior look, portholes have been restored and installed as they were before wherever possible.”
On the bridge, there is the original chadburn (Engine Order Telegraph) in Bulgarian language with the original helm and steering gear control. “There has been a delicate and attentive work to keep all those pieces of history and the best example sits in the engine room, where the old electric control panel has been kept for decoration around a new seating area,” the owners describe. “It makes the engine room very unique with a new Mitsubishi engine and modern equipment, against a backdrop of the souvenir of the old setting.”
Today La Sultana is made for long journeys at sea combined with pure leisure. The addition of a hydraulic door installed on the starboard side of the yacht near the bow, adding a swimming platform and direct access to the sea to the original exterior design is a technical feat that adds to her modernisation.