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‘Eilean’ is a love story. It will tug at the heart strings of all those who hear the siren call of the sea and dream of sailing off in a tall ship – and as an island race, the British are particularly prone to such enticements.

This book is the story of a yacht, created yachtbook.jpgwith loving care, enjoyed by a succession of owners, ageing, sinking into disrepair, and then, quite serendipitously, being rediscovered and returned to splendid beauty.

The Eilean is one of the last yachts designed and built by William Fife lll at the Fairlee Boatyard, a legendary yacht builder and recognised as the most gifted in a line of gifted yacht-builders.

Launched in 1936, this year happened to coincide with the launch of the first Panerai watch for the Royal Italian Navy.  Panerai has an equally illustrious history to that of the Fife family, dating back to a Florentine watchmaker in the mid-1800s. It is also a major player in the organisation of classic yachts races.

Above, the Eilean in full sail; below, Angelo Banoti with his beloved yacht; and bottom,Panerai’s Luminor Submersible watch.

And it was by happy chance that the head of Panerai, Angelo Banoti, a great yachting enthusiast, spotted the sad Eilean languishing in a mangrove swamp when sailing in Antigua some five years ago.  He recognised her pedigree yachtman.jpgimmediately, determined she would be Panerai’s flagship, and two years later, the renewed Eilean appeared.

How the sleek and treasured vessel had fared from her launch in 1936 up until her relaunch at this year’s Cowes Week is a tale as rich in sentiment and character as any story about a person. 

Alas, the teller of this tale sticks very much to a nautical jib that will spellbound sailors certainly, with charts and diagrams and yachting pictures aplenty. For landlubbers, a little more of the romance of the story would have made it all the more appealing.

Nevertheless, it is a superb production and a suitable testimony to the heyday of Scottish ship building. 

And Angelo Banoti has earned the gratitude of yaachtwatch.jpgthe legions of Fife Dragon fans world-wide for this rescue. He in turn gives credit to the team of  dedicated Italian craftsmen that worked on the vessel and brought it back to life.

He likens the pursuit of excellence by the Fife dynasty to the dedication of Panerai’s own watch-making craftsmen. “A thing of beauty is a joy forever’ is a quote from Keats in the foreword of this wonderful book, filled with old and new illustrations of the Eilean. Long may she sail the seas.

The UK book launch took place at the London’s Royal Yacht Club.

Published by Flammarion, it is available at exclusive international bookshops, and on Amazon, price £80.




WINTER 2011 edition

:: SAVILE ROW Style Magazine ::





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contact Style 2 - The Golden Mile stretches out
contact Style 3 - Anderson & Sheppard brought to book
contact Style 4 - Designer for men and women
contact Style 5 - For those who don't want to wait
contact Style 6 - Spectacles with a long history
contact Gold - Trail to celebrate Britain's pre-eminence
contact SUBSCRIPTION - Savile Row Style Magazine
contact Drinks - Wine from the dead of night
contact Travel - From Chile to Saint Tropez
contact Gifts - Personal treats and gift ideas
contact Antiques - Collectables from the men's dressing room
contact Watches - Timely rescue and diamond launch
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contact Contact - Details and registration
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contact Archive - Back Issues




THE antithesis of a sporty style, these watches are from Backes & Strauss, oldest diamond dealers in the world.
They have taken inspiration from Regency London for these designs, Blue Velvet and Red Rose. In gold, decorated with diamonds, saphires and rubies, they have been produced in very limited numbers, price £72, 860 for the Rose, £68, 580 the Blue.