Nahlin (yacht)

Nahlin is a luxury yacht and one of the last of three large steam yachts constructed in the UK. She was built for Lady Yule, film financier and horse breeder, and was launched in 1930.[3] She is owned by British industrial entrepreneur Sir James Dyson, who purchased her from Lord Bamford, Chairman of JCB.[4][5] The name Nahlin is taken from a Native American word meaning "fleet of foot" and the yacht has a figurehead depicting a Native American wearing a feathered headdress beneath the bowsprit.[6][7]

Motor Yacht Nahlin.JPG
Nahlin moored in Dartmouth, Devon in July 2010
BuilderJohn Brown & Company
Yard number533
Launched28 April 1930
StatusIn service
Naval Architect: G.L. Watson & Co.
General characteristics
Class and typeLuxury yacht
Tonnage1277 gt; 1,574 metric tons (dwt)
Displacement2,017 metric tons (maximum)
Length91.4 m (300 ft)
Beam10.98 m (36.0 ft)
Draft4.42 m (14.5 ft)
Propulsion4 × 2,200 hp[1][2]
  • 17.4 knots (32 km/h) (maximum)
  • 16.1 knots (30 km/h) (cruising)


Lady Yule ordered three private yachts in 1929 from John Brown & Company, Clydebank, with Nahlin being the first built. In 1934 Nahlin was classified as one of the biggest private yachts ever built in the UK. Numbered 533 at the yard, she was the vessel constructed by Brown's immediately before the RMS Queen Mary.[8]

In 1930 Lady Yule and her daughter Gladys embarked on a world cruise in the NAHLIN. They stayed in New Zealand, Australia and Miami between 1931 and 1934. The archives of the yacht are held by the National Maritime Museum at Greenwich.[9]

In 1936 Nahlin was chartered by King Edward VIII—rather than using the Royal yacht Victoria and Albert, to "enable the avoidance of formality accorded to Royalty"—and used by him and Mrs. Wallis Simpson during a cruise in the Adriatic Sea.[6][10][11] As Lady Yule was a strict teetotaler, the king took over the library on the shade deck where he replaced the books with bottles.[12] The presence of Simpson on board the yacht first "alerted the world's media to the impending abdication crisis."[13][14] Informal photographs of Edward and Simpson on board together during the cruise were not published in Britain but became front-page news in the United States.[7] During the cruise, Nahlin was escorted by HMS Glowworm, a Royal Navy destroyer.[8][15]

The yacht was bought in 1937 by King Carol II of Romania for £120,000 and renamed Luceafarul (Evening Star), and, later, Libertatea (Liberty).[citation needed] When the Romanian monarch abdicated in 1940, she became the property of the Romanian Ministry of Culture and was tied up in the port of Galați on the Danube as a museum and later as a floating restaurant.[7][16][17][18][19]

After the 1989 revolution and fall of communism in Romania, although classified as cultural patrimony, the yacht dubiously became property of a small Romanian private company called SC Regal SA Galaţi and was rediscovered by luxury yacht broker Nicholas Edmiston, who purchased the vessel in 1998 for $265,000 and in 1999 sent her to Falmouth, Cornwall, on the heavy-lift ship Swift.[7][20][21] Being a piece of cultural patrimony, a temporary permit had to be issued by the government for her to be taken outside Romanian borders, supposedly to be rebuilt by the original manufacturer, the sole keeper of the original plans for the vessel. She was then towed to Devonport, Plymouth and then to Liverpool for restoration.[22][23][24] The yacht ceased to be Romanian cultural patrimony in 2002. Phase one of the restoration project was delayed when restorers Cammell Laird went into receivership.[citation needed]

In 2006, James and Deirdre Dyson purchased the yacht and spent five years comprehensively rebuilding and restoring it. The ship was recommissioned in 2010 as the Nahlin and is registered again in Glasgow, Scotland.[3][16][25][26] The refit was undertaken by Nobiskrug at Rendsburg, Germany, and completion was at the Blohm+Voss shipyard, Hamburg, where diesel engines replaced her old steam turbines.[27] During restoration, the yacht's original mahogany-hulled 6.4 m (21 ft) ship-to-shore tender, believed lost for 60 years, was located in Scotland, having been fully restored by owner Willie McCullough. It has now been reunited with the yacht.[23]


The Nahlin is 91.4 m (300 ft) long, and has a beam of 10.98 m (36.0 ft). Her draught is 4.42 m (14.5 ft). She is fitted with a propulsion system of 4 × 2,200 hp engines, each providing 1,619 kilowatts; total power for the boat is, therefore, 8,800 hp or 6,475 kW.[1][2] Nahlin's maximum speed is 17.1 knots. She was originally furnished with six en-suite staterooms for guests, a gymnasium, a ladies' sitting room with sea views on three sides, and a library.[28]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b "Nahlin Yacht". Retrieved 19 April 2014.
  2. ^ a b "G.L. Watson & Co. designed Super Yacht NAHLIN". Retrieved 19 April 2014.
  3. ^ a b Donkin, Richard (21 September 2011). "A piece of sailing heritage comes with a large price tag". Financial Times. London. p. 4.
  4. ^ Bryant, Miranda (14 August 2013). "Abramovich sunk in battle of superyachts: Emir's 180-metre vessel trumps Chelsea owner's as world's biggest". Evening Standard. London. p. 13.
  5. ^ Hoyle, Ben (14 August 2013). "Emir knocks Abramovich off top of mega-yacht league table". The Times. London. p. 3.
  6. ^ a b "The King's Holiday Cruise Begins: Yacht Sails For Coast Of Adriatic". The Mail. Adelaide. 1 August 1936. p. 1.
  7. ^ a b c d de Bruxelles, Simon (3 December 1999). "Royal yacht to be restored to past glory". The Times. London. p. 12.
  8. ^ a b "The King's Cruise". The Times. London. 31 July 1936. p. 14.
  9. ^ "Yule, Annie Henrietta, Lady, 1874-1950". Royal Museums Greenwich. National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London. Retrieved 5 March 2021.
  10. ^ "Wallis Simpson is an ugly American, wrote sailor". The Daily Telegraph. London. 1 November 2010. p. 3.
  11. ^ "Maid's letters are insight to feelings toward divorcee". Western Morning News. Plymouth. 25 September 2010. p. 42.
  12. ^ Tinniswood, Adrian (2016). The Long Weekend: Life in the English Country House Between the Wars. London: Jonathan Cape. p. 221. ISBN 9780224099455.
  13. ^ Lundy, Iain (3 January 2013). "Pride of the Clyde". Evening Times. Glasgow. p. 16.
  14. ^ "Glorious survivors". Evening Times. Glasgow. 6 September 2007. p. 21.
  15. ^ "Commander Richard Jessel". The Times. London. 16 February 1988. p. 16.
  16. ^ a b "Dyson's historic mega yacht sails in to become town's big attraction". Western Daily Press. Bristol. 26 July 2010. p. 3.
  17. ^ "Sailing out of history". The News Letter. Belfast. 3 December 1999. p. 4.
  18. ^ The Libertatia was seen by Bill & Laurel Cooper as they motored their Dutch barge Hosanna from France to the Black Sea. The wrote, "Ceaușescu's classic motor yacht dripped and rusted as the quay, beautiful, but neglected since the fall of his regime".
  19. ^ Back Door to ByzantiumBill & Laurel Cooper (page 222) – Adlard Coles Nautical – 1997 – ISBN 9780955035104
  20. ^ Barnicoat, David (12 October 1999). "Steam yacht back in British waters after 60 years". Lloyd's List. London. p. 16.
  21. ^ Davies, Caroline (3 December 1999). "Royal yacht saved from scrapyard". The Daily Telegraph. London. p. 15.
  22. ^ "Ship with a past set for future glory". The Herald. Glasgow. 3 December 1999. p. 12.
  23. ^ a b "Reunited after a parting of the waves". The Herald. Glasgow. 21 August 2000. p. 11.
  24. ^ "Windsor 'love boat' full steam ahead for £23 million refit". Evening Standard. London. 16 May 2000. p. 16.
  25. ^ "Nahlin: Classic Motor Yacht". G.L. Watson & Co. Liverpool. Archived from the original on 22 July 2012. Retrieved 30 June 2012.
  26. ^ "Billionaires on the Sea". Forbes. Retrieved 16 August 2018.
  27. ^ Elson, Peter (14 December 2009). "Shipping Lines". Liverpool Echo. Liverpool. p. 16.
  28. ^ "Super-yachts steal the show on waterfront". Herald Express. Torquay. 19 July 2010.
  • Crabtree, R. (1975). Royal Yachts of Europe: From the Seventeenth to Twentieth Century. Newton Abbot: David & Charles. ISBN 0715367544.

External linksEdit