Panerai yacht lands in St Katharine Docks
A chance to experience a slice of maritime history sails into London
A little research into London's St Katharine Docks reveals a rich history. In the 12th century, it was the site of a church and hospital which operated as kind of monastic hostel for crusading knights. Travellers began to settle and the community swelled.
By the 15th century, this area - considered a community outside of London - was a buzzing trade zone; but with overpopulation came lawlessness and by the 17th century the precinct became poverty stricken and infamous for its insalubrious slums.
It wasn't until the great civil engineer Thomas Telford came along in 1828 that this area was rejuvenated – in a controversial move, over 11,000 people were displaced to make way for one of the most active docks in the world, famous for its brimming warehouses stocked with wine, marble, spices, tobacco, ivory, and barrels of rum.
Starting 17 June, there’s an even greater reason to visit this fascinating area: Panerai’s two-masted ketch, Eilean, will be lowering its anchor here for a two-week stop.
The yacht, originally built in 1936 by Fife Shipyard of Scotland, is a true icon of artisan design - readers who grew up in the ‘80s may well remember Eilean from the 1982 music video for Duran Duran song Rio - Simon Le Bon sat astride the ship’s prow and swayed/clicked his fingers a lot.
Having completed a TransAt Classic race in January, from Lanzarote to St Kitts in the Caribbean, Eilean is being transformed into a prestigious pop-up for this very special UK mooring: visitors will be able to purchase their brand new Panerai watch on board this luxurious vessel; timepieces on display will include the new 2019 Sailing Chronographs (like the one below) and watch fans will also be able to pre-order elusive models including the PAM01020 (below in rose gold) and the PAM00764.
Eilean will briefly set sail on the 22nd of June when participants of the Panerai Challenger Trophy - a charity initiative for the benefit of children whose lives have been transformed by sailing and water sports - for a one-of-a-kind voyage aboard this elegant but oh-so-cool ship that ‘dances on the waves’ rather than the sand.