Steeped in history and exuding Old-World romance, the 35m/115ft classic yacht ‘Over the Rainbow’ played host to YachtCharterFleet's editorial team on a four-night cruise in the Indian Ocean.
A classic gentleman's yacht of the 1930s, Over the Rainbow has a timeless look that lends itself perfectly to discerning charter guests looking to experience something different on their yachting vacation.
It may be almost 90 years since her launch, but she retains all of her original allure and is in the same pristine condition as the day of her delivery. Alongside this, she boasts a number of subtly-installed upgrades to ensure she meets the needs of today’s yacht-goers.
Guests stepping on board will experience all the comforts of a modern-day charter yacht, as well as five-star service, gourmet dining and a wealth of exciting amenities.
Based in the South of France during the summer months, the yacht relocates to East Africa every winter to give those staying on Thanda Island, a private island and marine reserve, the opportunity to enhance their vacation with the Thanda Island Yacht Cruise.
Alternatively, guests can choose to charter the yacht around this region without the use of Thanda Island.
Although Tanzania is not yet a popular charter destination, the East African cruising grounds are primed for adventure. As YachtCharterFleet quickly discovered, Over the Rainbow is paving the way for future superyachts to visit the region.
Built in 1930, Over the Rainbow was launched by Dickie & Sons from their shipyard in Wales. At the time, she was one of the world's largest luxury motor yachts, with most private yachts being owned exclusively by Royalty or the State. As a result, she generated a considerable stir when she was was delivered to her owner, G.W. Hetherington, the founder of Scottish confectionary giant Creamola.
At the outbreak of World War II, the UK Government requisitioned her to use as a coastal patrol vessel and she served for nine years in the Royal Navy. As well as defending against submarine attacks, she was enlisted to assist in the Dunkirk Evacuation.
One day in a port I saw a wreck that was going towards death, and I said to myself immediately ‘you’ll have a new life!'
After the war, she was re-sold, and after a brief trip to America, she settled off the coast of Athens and took on a new vocation as a floating casino.
With a lack of maintenance, she fell into disrepair, but her salvation came when renowned artist Jean-Michel Folon spotted her in 2000. “One day in a port I saw a wreck that was going towards death,” Said Folon. “I said to myself immediately ‘you’ll have a new life!’
Reportedly, she was named 'Over the Rainbow' after Folon heard the Judy Garland song playing in the shipyard where the yacht was initially being housed.
Mondomarine was tasked with undertaking an extensive two-year refit of the yacht. Key features of the restoration included completely restoring the oak frames, caulking the hull using traditional methods, laying down fresh teak over the existing decks and extending the sun deck.
Sadly, Folon passed away shortly after the refit was completed, and Over the Rainbow changed hands yet again. Luckily, her new owners recognised the appeal of her unique heritage, and have now made her available for charter for the first time since the 1990's.
Guests arrive aboard Over the Rainbow via her port-side boarding platform, and are welcomed onto the main deck aft by a crew of five. Boarding is supremely easy, thanks to a set of steps and handrail.
In this area, guests will find the principal alfresco dining set-up, which is shaded by the sun deck above. A rich, high-gloss wooden dining table complete with a brass base takes centre stage. Soft seating flanking the space is well-suited to sitting and admiring the vistas, and steel capstans engraved with 'Over the Rainbow' add a touch of authenticity.
Adjoining the aft deck, the main salon is laid out invitingly, with cream-coloured sofas arranged in an L shape around an antique coffee table.
Windows stretching out around the space and mirrored panelling on the wall forward contribute to a light and airy ambience.
Guests with a penchant for Hemingway can immerse themselves in his work while on board, as the motor yacht houses part of an enormous collection of his literature.
Interspersed with the novels, the bookshelves also boast a selection of Winston Churchill memorabilia, a common theme throughout the yacht.
Guests with a love for Hemingway can immerse themselves in his work while on board, as the motor yacht houses part of an enormous collection of his literature.
A bust of Churchill's head sits atop the main salon’s sideboard, alongside a case of Pol-Roger Cuvée champagne displaying the late prime minister's name and emblem.
Port-side, a plinth bearing a box of Cuban cigars stands by the top of the stairwell, subtly nodding to Hemingway's love for the country and its culture. Alongside it, a full-scale model of Over the Rainbow following her refit stands proud, complete with an embossed plaque from Mondomarine.
Descending the stairwell, guests will find the master and VIP suites. The master is superbly well-appointed, with a four-poster bed in the centre and plenty of space surrounding.
Atmospheric, yet luxurious, the space is furnished in glossy mahogany contrasted by plush ivory fabrics. Wide sideboards run the perimeter and a lofty dressing room is located starboard.
The stunning wooden styling continues into the en suite and balances remarkably well with modern fixtures to ensure the ambience remains authentic, while adding a touch of sophistication.
The VIP cabin follows similar themes of understated elegance, with inspiration sought from the French art deco style influenced by the time period in which she was launched.
Boats built around this time did not often feature large windows, but mirrors have maximised the feeling of natural light. A large wardrobe can be found port-side, with a shower room to starboard.
Boats launched around this time did not often feature large windows, but mirrors have maximised the feeling of natural light.
To access the dining room and forward accommodation, guests have to step onto the aft deck from the main salon, and follow wraparound decks past the galley and a dayhead. By today's standards, this layout may seem unusual, but it was very typical of the time period in which she was was launched.
Port-side, a door leads to the dining salon, which doubles as an entertainment room. The space has a simple layout, with a long dining table aft and a sofa which faces a television screen. The sofa can be transformed into an additional bed, allowing for a flexible sleeping arrangement. Tall windows bathe the room in light and offer unrivalled vistas over the surrounds.
This room is the former officers’ salon. On one of the walls, guests will spot a faint outline where a darts board used to hang, surrounded by a halo of pinpricks where darts missed their mark. It’s remarkably easy to imagine the soldiers gathered here, whiling away the hours shooting darts and drinking whiskey out at sea.
Sitting inconspicuously on the starboard side of the room is the Chinese chair thought to have once belonged to Winston Churchill himself. It’s a sturdy piece of furniture, with curved wooden arms and a sloping back.
It’s remarkably easy to imagine the soldiers gathered here, whiling away the hours shooting darts and drinking whiskey out at sea.
A stairwell in the dining salon leads to the forward accommodation, which comprises two suites, both of which offer a flexible configuration.
One of the cabins is capable of accommodating guests as either a double or a twin room, while the other is a twin which boasts the capacity to sleep up to four guests. This is possible thanks to bespoke Pullman-style berths which can be erected above each single bed.
Such flexibility makes this yacht perfect to cater to a host of charter parties, particularly large families with small children or those with a nanny.
When the motor yacht underwent its refit with Jean-Michel Folon at the helm, the original cabins were stripped out and expanded to make her more appealing for the modern charter market. Now, the cabins are spacious and wide, and each benefits from a private ensuite and wardrobe.
Although the yacht is an older vessel, guests will be pleased to know the water pressure is excellent, the air conditioning is remarkably efficient and the wi-fi is fast and reliable.
From the main deck aft, a stairwell leads to a sweeping sun deck which spans the entire beam of the yacht. On the aft portion, guests will find a seating arrangement wrapped around a central table, accompanied by scatter cushions and a selection of rocking-style chairs.
During the day, guests are able to comfortably sit back under Bimini shading and soak up the warm weather with a drink in hand. In the evenings, the space is equally well-appreciated, providing unparalleled views over a velvet sky choked with stars.
This yacht is not just a yacht for me, but a real creation. She’s a real wooden yacht as you’ll never find again, and I want to go and see the stars with her.
A favourite hangout among charter guests, this area was part of the sundeck's extension carried out during the refit by Mondomarine.
Usually the water toys are stored in the amidships section of the sundeck, but when they are being enjoyed on the water, it leaves a clear expanse of space for basking in the sun.
Whilst on board Over the Rainbow, charter guests will have access to a wide selection of water toys. Snorkelling equipment is on hand to explore the wondrous underwater world, and fishing equipment can also be employed, should guests want to try their hand at sampling the fruits of the sea for themselves.
The yacht offers Seabobs so that guests can get up close to the coral-rich reefs with ease. Meanwhile, for those in the mood for relaxing and gliding along the surface of the sea, Paddleboards can be enjoyed. As a final touch for the thrill-seeking charter guest, a WaveRunner is also available.
Snorkelling equipment is on hand to explore the wondrous underwater world of Tanzania, and fishing equipment can also be employed.
Heading up the galley is chef Stephen Jones, whose past experience includes working as a private yacht chef aboard megayachts, as well as serving his culinary masterpieces to European royalty. Guests can expect to enjoy fine dining tailored to their individual tastes and dietary requirements.
With an abundance of fresh seafood available in the marine-rich waters of Tanzania, guests can choose to take advantage of the vast spectrum of different types of fish and crustaceans.
It is possible for meals to be accompanied by a variety of wine pairings, and the chef will be more than happy to help with your selection.
Whilst she captures the essence of a classic 1930’s vessel, Over the Rainbow is fitted with all of the latest navigational equipment. Located in the wheelhouse on the sun deck forward, the state-of-the-art technology is superbly integrated without compromising her old-fashioned quality.
Captain Tim Cooter can give guests an interesting insight into the equipment, all of which was installed for cruising the Mediterranean and used to guide the yacht on its voyage from Europe to Africa.
For an extra level of security, the yacht is fitted with a sophisticated radar system which detects any boats which come within a 50 metre radius of Over the Rainbow.
Tim's experience as a captain of large vessels and other luxury yachts means that guests on a private yacht charter are in safe and knowledgeable hands.
With her elegant antiquity and head-turning profile, Over the Rainbow catches the imagination of charterers wherever she cruises. She will ensure a safe, comfortable and relaxed yacht charter vacation, and is the perfect platform for those looking to spend valuable time together and appreciate the overall experience of a luxury yacht with character and individuality.
In order to find out more about chartering M/Y Over the Rainbow, please get in touch with your preferred charter broker.
Over The Rainbow
Dickie & Sons
|Length35m / 114'10
|Beam6m / 19'8
|Draft3.2m / 10'6
|Gross Tonnage136 GT
|Built| Refit1930 | 2019
|Max Speed11 knots
|Cruising Speed10 knots
|Fuel Consumption80 LPH
|Range 3,224 nm
|Range at 12 Knots