Iconic ‘Rio’ yacht restored; Simon Le Bon dances on the sand

Avid yachtsman and Duran Duran frontman Simon Le Bon couldn’t be happier that the Eilean has been brought back from near death. The 70-foot yacht put Duran Duran on the map in the early 1980s. The boat, however, almost sank into pop culture history.

Whilst Duran Duran went from strength to strength ‘Eilean’ was not so fortunate. Soon after filming ended she collided with a ferry breaking her mizzen mast and whilst waiting for repair she sank in her mooring. She was pulled into a creek, tied to a mangrove tree where termites began eating her spars.

Amazingly 20 years later [William Shawcross, son of the original owner] saw her again, a complete wreck but still with the classic Fife lines. The owner invited him onboard and whilst he viewed the horrific state of her decks and interior he remembered the carefree sailing days of his youth – some 40 years previously. He dreamed of buying her and restoring her to her former glory but sadly that remained a pipe dream and he left the vessel rotting under the trees.

It was only a few years later when he was contacted by Angelo Bonati, the CEO of Panerai watches, who had spotted the classic lines of the boat whilst competing in the Panerai Classic Yachts Challenge. Bonati took the boat to Genoa and began to restore the vessel to her former glory.

The yacht is set to race this spring in the Panerai Classic Yachts Challenge.

Read more: http://twitchy.com/2012/03/15/iconic-rio-yacht-restored-simon-le-bon-dances-on-the-sand/

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