The 66-year-old Istros has been purchased by the Murdochs | Source: Boat International

Inside Murdoch’s A$30m Restored Classic Motor Yacht

Lachlan Murdoch, executive chairman and CEO of Fox Corporation and son of media baron Rupert Murdoch, has purchased a restored Dutch-built 1954 luxury classic motor yacht for around A$30 million.

It will sit in Sydney harbour next to the Murdochs’ A$100 million Harbourside Bellevue Hill estate called ‘Le Manoir’.

The Istros moored in Sydney Harbour outside the Murdoch’s property, Le Manoir | Source: Daily Mail

The 43-metre yacht, Istros, was originally owned by the wealthy Pappadakis family who was heavily involved in mid-century shipping. The Pappadakis family famously remained very low-key and changed the name of the motor yacht to Andros for a time so, little is known about the vessel’s adventures for its first 50 years. The motor yacht eventually ended up docked in Malta, rotting.

Nine years ago, a fan of the motor yacht purchased it and embarked on a major refit, only to give it up shortly after.

Source: Boat International

She changed hands a few times and was eventually listed for sale when captain Tristan le Brun, having restored the Dutch Moonen Sloop, Etoile d’Azur, saw her for sale and convinced the owner of the Sloop to buy the dilapidated motor yacht.

The 22-year old ex-competitive sailor, together with the owner, put together materials costings and started approaching shipyards for bids, eventually deciding to work with renowned Dutch shipyard, Feadship, where work began on Istros in 2018.

“It was easy to get the owner excited about this because he loves projects. He is in yachting because he loves beautiful machines and that’s why we get along,” said le Brun.

One of the many challenges they faced for the rebuild was the engines. Keeping the original engines was never considered as they were difficult to use, inefficient and weighed 36 tonnes, the removal of which would have huge ramifications for stability.

Source: Boat International

The new engines, a pair of Caterpillar diesel engines with a top speed of 14.8 knots and enough fuel to achieve a maximum range of 3900 nautical miles, weighed just two tonnes, so a very large amount of lead ballast needed to be dropped into the hull.

Another problem was extensive corrosion of the original superstructure of the vessel. In order to be compliant with Lloyd’s, the teak doors were going to have to be replaced with watertight ones resulting in the decision to do a complete rebuild.

The restoring team approached De Voogt Naval Architects who suggested they use aluminium for the new superstructure.

According to le Brun, aluminium would be lighter, stronger and better for fitting portholes and doors. The difficult rebuild was further complicated by the fact that the shipyard had just 10 original drawings of the ship’s design to go from, compared to the more than 3,000 that are available for a new design.

Source: Boat International

The original teak steering wheel was kept and the interiors were refurbished to be fresh and liveable. The owner and shipyard wanted it to be a family-friendly, luxury motor yacht.

We started with a Scandinavian design, minimal lines but keeping it warm as well, and because it’s going to be mostly in the Med, we said let’s keep it white and crisp.

Tracey Canavaggio of Van Geest Design told Boat International

It can fit 10 guests on board in five state rooms with berths for eight crew, oiled teak floors throughout the vessel are offset by “beach house” influenced interior design. The galley has been equipped with the latest cooking equipment and the cabins feature large beds, some with ensuites.

Source: Boat International

Onboard furniture was made by Reul Frères, with many of the outdoor pieces made from Corian, an acrylic polymer and alumina trihydrate derived from bauxite ore, including the eggshell textured outside couches.

Dubbed by some as the Murdoch family’s pricey tinnie, the refurbished Istros will soon be trumped by the upcoming delivery of Murdoch’s 60-metre, A$150 million sailing yacht.

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