Monday, November 23, 2009

The Christina O


Christina O is one of the world's longest private yachts at 325 feet 3 inches (99 m). She was originally a Canadian River class frigate called HMCS Stormont and was launched in 1943. She served as a convoy escort during the Battle of the Atlantic and was present at the D-Day landings.

After the end of the Second World War she was one of many surplus naval vessels and Greek shipowner Aristotle Onassis purchased her for just $34,000. He spent $4 million to convert her into a luxurious yacht and renamed her Christina after his daughter. Apart from Onassis's mistress Maria Callas and his wife Jackie Onassis other celebrities such as Marilyn Monroe, Frank Sinatra, and Eva Peron have sailed on her. She was one of the most famous society venues of the mid 20th century: John F Kennedy first met Winston Churchill on board in 1957.

When Aristotle Onassis died in 1975, he left the yacht to his daughter, who gave her to the government for use as a presidential yacht in 1978. She was rechristened the Argo but was allowed to decay and was put up for sale at $16 million in the early 1990s, but found no takers. In 1996 a sale to an American fell through (he was later convicted of wire fraud in relation to his attempt to purchase the yacht).

Finally in 1998 she was purchased by Greek shipowner John Paul Papanicolaou who had sailed on her as a child. He changed her name to Christina O and undertook a major refurbishment between January 1999 and April 2001. As of 2006 she is available to charter at between 45,000 and 65,000 Euro per day.

Christina O has a master suite, eighteen passenger staterooms, and numerous indoor and outdoor living areas, all connected by a spiral staircase. Compared to a typical 21st-century superyacht, her staterooms are small and Christina O lacks the indoor boat storage that is now standard; but on the other hand, the number of living areas is large, and the amount of outdoor deck space is very generous.
The aft main deck has an outdoor pool with a mosaic floor that rises at the push of a button to form a dance floor, and there is a helicopter platform on the promenade deck. In Ari's Bar, the barstools retain the original upholstery made from a very soft, fine leather made from the foreskin of a Minke Whale.

The rebirth of the Christina : The Christina O


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