Classic Boat

BACK WITH A FANFARE

Eight synchronised swimmers, two well-known actors, an aerial hoop dancer and an internationally acclaimed orchestra conductor (all from the world of Italian entertainment); the former CEO of Panerai, a previous owner and the granddaughter of another previous owner, and five Riva powerboats – such a star-studded guest list at a lavish launching ceremony and subsequent gala dinner might well have taken some of the attention away from the real star of the show, but that was by d no means the case. As the gleaming 105-year-old Tirrenia II slid gently down the slipway to return to her natural habitat for the first time in 10 years, all eyes were firmly on her.

Tirrenia II’s original name was Sappho II. She was built – with teak planking on oak frames and with an elm keel – to a Fred Shepherd design by HR Stevens in Southampton. Her construction began in August 1912 (or at least that is when the first Lloyd’s survey took place), but it was not until January 1914 that she was launched. On the Lloyd’s Register builder’s certificate, the surveyor wrote in the ‘general quality of workmanship’ section just one word: “Good”.

FIRST TWO OWNERS

’s first two. Her first Italian owner was Guido Fiorentino, who bought her in 1925 and took her to Naples. As he already owned a 31ft yawl called , she was renamed . Fiorentino was the president of the Naples branch of the Royal Yacht Club Italiano and, in that capacity, he decided to inaugurate the Tirrenia Trophy, to be presented annually to the yacht that completed the longest Mediterranean cruise. herself won it in two consecutive years.

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