Project Background

Originally built and launched by JL Thornycroft back in 1938, the classic motor yacht Shemara has a rich maritime history and often featured in the worlds media under her original owners, Sir Bernard Docker and his wife Lady Norah who famously enjoyed the yacht amongst the trappings of the French Riviera with prestigious guests of the era including Grace Kelly and Marilyn Monroe. The yacht was sold on in the 1960s, and soon found herself laid up in Lowestoft, Suffolk, where she sat idle and out of the limelight until acquisition by the current owner. The new owner had a vision to transform Shemara and restore the vessel to her former glories via a meticulous refit, including modern yacht technology and propulsion systems whilst sympathetically retaining the best of her heritage features. She was towed to Portsmouth from Lowestoft in 2010 where the refit works began.

Our Work

Initially our involvement in the project was an underwater inspection carried out in the port of Lowestoft by our diving team to ascertain the condition of her hull. Once declared fit for sea, Shemara was towed to Portsmouth where our technical management and engineering team completed the strip-down and removal of the old superstructure and interior prior to taking her out of the water on our Roll Royce Syncrolift.

She was then transited to an adjacent shed where Shemara Refit LLP, established by the owner specifically to complete the refit, managed her extraordinary transformation. Burgess Marine were a key subcontractor throughout the refit with our Technical Director, Ray Cutts, seconded to a permanent project team role responsible for marine engineering, structural repairs and renewals, and mechanical installation all carried out by our technical staff. Additionally, we supplied the project with SHE and infrastructure support services. Once the refit was complete we relaunched the vessel and provided riding crews on her delivery to the owner.

Resulting Success

On 16th April 2014, after more than three years of work, Shemara was launched back into the water from our ship lift facility at the top of Portsmouth Harbour. Following her launch, she was taken under tow to Southampton for final fit-out, commissioning and sea trials.

The refit was a resounding success and proof that the UK has the expertise and knowhow to rival superyacht refit yards of Europe and further afield. It also helped to establish Burgess Marine as a serious contender in the support and restoration of classic yacht refit projects. Mr Peter Morton, the Owner of Shemara Refit LLP commented: “Burgess Marine has been an important partner in this project from the moment we took ownership of the vessel in Lowestoft in 2010”.

We continue to support Shemara today with yacht management assistance and also marine procurement services via our sister company, Global Services.

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client testimonials

 Internationally Burgess Marine's expertise with regards to in-service support and maintenance, and their close working relationship with MAN Diesel has proven invaluable
Robert Clifford, Chairman for Incat
Burgess Marine, through their partnership with BAE Systems, have offered comprehensive support to our dry docking and conversion programs in Portsmouth, UK.
Frank O'Neill, Technical Director for The Isle of Man Steam Packet Company
As a respected industry professional, with extensive high speed craft knowledge, I have no problem both endorsing and recommending the services of Burgess Marine.
Guillaume Hagi, Superintendent for Brittany Ferries
I would not hesitate to recommend this company's workmanship and professionalism.
Alistair Shove, Broker for Ancasta Yachts
Just a note to thank you for a well managed and executed plan in regards to recovering the pontoons.
Keith Reed, Marine Co-ordinator for Vattenfall

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