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Silver 72 ft Ormidale TSMY 1952 2016 - Sold



Silver 72 ft Ormidale TSMY 1952 2016

Designer John Bain
Builder James A Silver Ltd., Rosneath
Date 1952
Length overall 72 ft 0 in / 21.95 m
Length deck 72 ft 0 in / 21.95 m
Length waterline 68 ft 0 in / 20.73 m
Beam 15 ft 0 in / 4.57 m
Draft 5 ft 7 in / 1.7 m
Displacement 60 Tonnes
Construction Mahogany and pine on oak frames
Engine 2 x Gardner LX 6 cylinder diesels
Location Italy
Price Sold

These details are provisional and may be amended



Following a Classic Boat magazine Restoration of the Year-winning keel-up restoration 2015-16 at the yard of Stirling and Son, Plymouth, with interiors furnished and decorated in immaculate taste to designs by Paris-based India Mahdavi, LIFE AQUATIC is now a superior boat both structurally and cosmetically to the one Silvers launched in 1952 as THELMA VI.

At 72 feet, she is to the longest model of James A Silver naval architect and managing director John Bain's renowned Ormidale design series, and has long proved herself as an exceptional sea-boat, including charter work as a steady platform for event filming and viewing with her trusty Gardner diesel engines and Vosper Maxi Fin stabilizers.

Now with 3 double cabins, a single, and crew accommodation, LIFE AQUATIC is an incredibly exciting and unique option in turn key condition.



Initially the project was deemed a ‘refurbishment’ but it soon became a great deal more than that. There was known to be some rot in the covering boards and surrounding areas and while this was being further investigated, more was found in the beam shelf. It was decided to remove the entire deck, take the boat back to a bare hull and then start to replace some of its component parts.

The teak stem and oak keelson were left intact but below it, the 9 inch square oak false keel and ballast keel were removed and renewed. Almost half the planking was replaced and as this was not possible in the original timber types of reliable quality at a reasonable price, Oregon pine was used instead of pitch pine on the bottom. West African utile replaced the Honduras mahogany on the topsides.

About half of the steamed oak ribs were replaced, repairs carried out locally to the sawn oak frames and all were refastened, with copper rivets and bronze screws respectively. All the galvanised steel strap floors were renewed and five extra ones were added in the engine room where they now span the shaft logs and engine beds, and about half of the timber floors were renewed. A new utile beam shelf and deck beams were fitted and then a plywood sub-deck was laid over them in two half-inch layers with staggered butt joints for extra strength.

The superstructure (anyway not original) was in too poor a state to be saved so this was rebuilt in the 1973 style – and the original windows were refurbished and reused, Two traditional skylights, two hatches and a seat/storage locker were fitted

A half inch thick semi-swept teak deck – thought more attractive than the original straight-laid deck – was then laid with snapes into the king plank and covering boards. In so far as possible, original deck fittings – or at least those on the boat when she arrived in Plymouth-have been refurbished and reused. These include the windlass, searchlight, the Kent Clearview screens, engine room ventilation cowls, the cap rail hinges and locks, the flagstaff socket, fairleads, and the cast iron stanchions. Several of these needed weld repairs before being re-galvanised and painted. The original Silver style steel mooring cleats were used as patterns to cast new bronze ones which were then polished and chrome plated.

The interior design was contracted to India Mahdavi, the Paris-based architect and interior designer who has worked on residential projects for the owner. Dubois Naval Architects were also taken on to ‘marinise’ India’s work and to convert it into a CAD format that Will could use. Much of the Dubois work was carried out by Adam Scott-Mackie but Ed Dubois’ enthusiastic personal involvement proved very poignant as this was one of his last projects before his sad and untimely death. Fourteen different general arrangement drawings were produced before the final details were agreed. “It was a question of refining everything,” said Adam. But at the insistence of both India and the owner, the final interior layout is not dissimilar to the original and detailed in the Accommodation section below.

The interior joinery is all in oak, in a style very similar to the original, stained with Van Dyck walnut crystals and coated with six coats of varnish. The grain has deliberately not been filled, “as we didn’t want a perfect, almost plastic, finish,” said Will. A few of the original parts of the interior have been saved, including the flag stowage locker in the wheelhouse, the mirror in the owner’s cabin, locker door knobs, drawer carcasses, several chairs, the galley sink and a number of taps. The interior was finished off with Tibetan carpets, Normandy handmade tiles in the heads, and upholstery by Sanders Sails of Lymington.

The Gardner engines were sent to Gardner Marine in Kent to be taken back to ‘zero hours’ and were then reinstalled in a newly laid-out engine room to allow easier access. Details are in the Mechanical and Electrical section below. The rudder stock, propellers and shafts were also renewed. The engineering work was carried out by Joshua Preston Marine and Heavy Engineers, and the plumbing and electrical work by AllBoat Services, both in Plymouth.

And so it was that, after an astonishing amount of work had been carried out in less than two years, LIFE AQUATIC was relaunched on 23rd May 2016. During sea trials, she demonstrated a cruising speed of 8 knots and a maximum of 10 which Jim McIlraith considers impressive for a 60 tonne boat with 300 HP of propulsion. “She slips along nicely with a wee frothy bow wave and a beautiful run-off under that wine glass stern,” he said. Barely a month after the launch, Will himself delivered LIFE AQUATIC down to the Mediterranean.

The current owner is extremely complimentary about all the key players in LIFE AQUATIC’s restoration – most notably Will Stirling. “I am so lucky to have spent two years working with someone of his talent, and it has been extraordinary to see him bring on his apprentices which wasn’t something I really thought about when I bought the boat. It’s been such a privilege.” And those key players also had kind words to say about the owner. “The work really escalated but luckily, she was prepared to go down that road,” said Jim, “and she has really saved a classic.” “As soon as she saw the boat, she had a vision to do something different,” said Barney. “It takes some nerve and staying power, and of course money, to see a boat taken apart and then put back together like that. She probably didn’t intend to do it on the scale and she could have cut corners, but she is a perfectionist and she wanted a boat of extreme quality. Plus, she has managed to keep the spirit of the boat.”

Most of all, the owner is understandably very enthusiastic about Life Aquatic. “There is an elegance about her and she is very alluring without being ‘show-offy’,” she said. “She has a very special place in my heart, partly because of everyone who has worked on her. And she just makes me smile.”



Built by Silvers at Rosneath for E Lynton Vicars, senior member of a major north west of England biscuit-making machinery manufacturing and serial yacht owning family, THELMA VI was launched by Mrs Bain in July 1952. She was triple-screw; the main power coming from two Gleniffer 72 HP diesels but she had a Morris Commodore 47 HP petrol engine too.

In 1954, she was sold to Sir Robert W Smith – who had the central engine removed - and she remained with the Smith Family for the next ten years. When they sold her, she spent some years at Cannes in the ownership of JE Bullough and then Malta with owners H Strachey-Hawdon and AS Denniff – before returning to the UK when Eric Norbury bought her in 1971.

Two years later, her Glennifer engines were replaced with two Gardner 150 HP diesels – not new but 1962 vintage and, probably at the same time, her solid teak superstructure was replaced in plywood.

Norbury was still her owner in 1980 but for the next 13 years, her ownership and history are largely unknown – not least because Lloyds Register ceased publication. She did some charter work for the BBC and apparently appeared in the TV series “Howards’ Way”. In December 1993, well known Isle of Wight resident Gary Newnham bought her noting “She was chained to a pontoon in East Cowes looking rather sad,” He bought her with a view to selling her on, but it would be more than 20 years before he did so; THELMA becoming a “member of the family” meanwhile

Gary kept THELMA in Cowes, and for the first ten years used her for family cruises, mostly to the West Country and Channel Islands. Subsequently she became “almost the floating clubhouse” for the British Classic Yacht Club. “At regattas we would have people sleeping on board and we would take people out to watch the racing,” Thus he prolonged his ownership but he was always conscious that she needed a lot of work which he couldn’t afford, so eventually he put her on the market.

For sale through Sandeman Yacht Company, arrangements were made for the boat to be slipped at Stirling & Son’s slipway in Plymouth – built in 1763 and probably the oldest covered slipway in the World. She arrived in June 2014 and surveyor Jim McIlraith with extensive experience of Silver yachts conducted a pre-purchase survey. By the time the new owner had agreed to buy THELMA she had also been in discussion with Will Stirling, leading to his yard carrying out the necessary work - with Barney Sandeman as the owner’s project manager and Jim monitoring the works. Details of the works are contained in the Restoration section below with a great deal more information and pictures of all works under progress are available.



- Oregon pine lower four planks below waterline
- Original Honduras mahogany and new utile planking in long lengths for the remainder
- Oak timbers and framing
- Teak stem
- Oak main keel
- New cast iron ballast keel
- Wooden bilge keels
- Steel single plate rudder
- Marine ply and sheathed transom
- Marine ply sub deck in two layers with joints staggered and sheathed
- Quarter sawn Burmese teak deck overlaid and sealed with Teak Decking Systems
- New Utile deck beams
- New Utile beam shelves
- All teak hatches
- Teak capping rail
- New keel bolts and backbone bolts throughout
- New bolts throughout
- New strap floors
- Re-fastened with bronze screws and copper rivets
- Two layers of marine ply and sheathed deck house



From aft
- Passarelle with teak grating lifted by davits and tackle aft
- Lifting hinged capping rail gateway to aft deck
- Original steel stanchions overhauled
- Stainless steel wire intermediates
- Fairleads each side over transom
- Ensign staff socket
- Mooring cleats each side
- Wide raw teak decks with varnished kingplank
- Chromed mushroom vent on centreline
- Varnished raised lifting hatch with port light
- Varnished deck chests each side
- Bench seating over large locker fwd on centreline
- High deckhouse coaming to sides; open aft
- Companion way fwd on deck each side
- Deckhouse with large windows each side
- Varnished butterfly skylight hatch
- 2 x Dorade vents
- Davit for dinghy in 316 stainless to port
- Dinghy stowage inboard to port
- Forward butterfly skylight
- Mushroom vent
- Raised fore hatch with port light
- Mooring cleats each side
- Simpson Lawrence winch overhauled with warping drum and chain lift
- New anchor chain
- Mushroom vent over chain locker
- Stainless bow furniture with integral fairleads and bow rollers each side

Coming aft to trunk cabin
- Large windows into fwd saloon
- Raw teak ladder to coach roof
- Raw teak sunbathing platform and handrails each side
- Deck house original Kent screens overhauled and windscreen wipers to roof level
- Original navigation sidelights
- Original Simpson Lawrence searchlight overhauled
- Stowage on roof for top deck ladder and boathook

Descending to deck
- Deck house saloon
- Bench seating and stowage under aft, to sides and fwd against bulkhead facing aft
- Large drop leaf dining table
- Doorway access to wheelhouse
- Bench seat
- Clock baro etc up to port
- Lifting chart table in port bulkhead
- Helm position with engine, navigation instruments and comms fwd
- Large screen windows each side and fwd
- Flag locker to stbd
- Companionway to lower deck upper saloon to stbd



- Upper saloon, dining room, galley, twin crew cabin, en suite head all fwd of wheelhouse
- Offset passageway aft with two double cabins with wash basins to port
- One single guest cabin with wash basin to stbd
- Guest head and shower to stbd
- Large master head bathroom stbd
- Large master double cabin and banquette aft

Upper saloon
- Large windows to side and forward with bamboo hanging blinds
- L shaped settee stylishly soft furnished to port, stowage under
- Sideboard shelving and lockers forward and to stbd
- 42 litre bar fridge
- VFIM Hydro Icemaker in saloon
- Additional casual seating
- Companionway steps down

Lower saloon / dining
- L shaped bench seating over stowage fwd to port, additional chairs
- Dining table for 6
- Lockers, cabinets and shelving aft to port and to stbd side
- Doorway fwd to galley

- Peninsular feature with worktop extending along aft bulkhead
- Cupboards under, secure shelving over
- 4 Plate electric hob and oven, open lockers outboard , shelving and cabinet above
- Original ceramic butlers sink with integral draining board Grohe galley mixer to stbd
- Bosch Silver Freezer 139 litres fridge 64 litres freezer
- 42 litre chest fridge
- Microwave
- Condensing washer drier
- Mini-dishwasher
- Access fwd to crew accommodation

Crew quarters
-Head shower and basin to port
-2 x Raised single berths with stowage under
-Shelving outboard
-Hanging locker fwd to stbd
-Deck head and bulkhead lights
-Hanging rails and opening hatch in deck head
- Returning through galley, lower saloon / dining and upper saloon
- Companionway steps down and corridor aft

Guest cabin to stbd on LHS
- Single enclosed berth with stowage under
- Ceramic wash basin
- Hanging cupboard
- Port and electric lighting

Guest Fwd cabin to port on RHS
- Double berth with stowage under
- Ceramic wash basin
- Hanging cupboard
- Port and electric lighting

Guest Head compartment opposite to port on LHS
- Electric WC
- Ceramic washbasin in cabinet, locker under
- Shower with seating and teak grating sole
- Port and electric lighting

Guest aft cabin to port on RHS
- Double berth with stowage under
- Ceramic wash basin
- Hanging cupboard
- Port and electric lighting

Master cabin aft
- Bureau / dressing table to stbd on LHS
- Banquette seat aft to stbd
- Locker aft and open shelving beyond
- Large double berth on RHS to port
- Port and electric lighting
- Doorway to corridor fwd

Master head compartment stbd
-Bath and shower
-Electric WC
-Ceramic washbasin in cabinet, locker under
-Port and electric lighting

Other domestic equipment
- Dometic cruise air conditioning
- Fusion home entertainment
- Television
- Hand made Tibetan 100 knots nettle rug
- Fauvel hand made tiles by Normandy Ceramics



- 2 x 6LXB Diesel main engines with full workshop overhaul at Gardner Marine to zero hours
- 2 x Twin Disk MG5050 marine gear with SAE B 4 bolt power take off
- Sigma 150 drives on the intermediate shaft
- Handed pair of 32 x 21 4 blade NAB propellers by Michigan Wheels
- 2 x 2.5 inch tail shafts, stern tubes and glands, rudder tube and glands, rudder shaft all new
- Cruising range 800 miles at 1250 rpm with a 10% reserve
- Sleipner SP 285 TC1 Side-Power bow thruster with 8950G Sleipner joystick panel new
- Naiad Multisea MSII and Vosper maxi-fin stabilisers overhauled
- MDKDU 27kW @50HzCummins Onan generator new
- 24 V electrical system with master panel and safety features
- All batteries maintenance free
- 2 x 12 V Engine start batteries
- 2 x 12 V Genset start batteries
- 2 x 12 V Windlass batteries
- 4 x 12 V Bow thrusters
- 2 x 12 V Domestic batteries each side; total 4
- Shore power 230 V domestic
- Shore power 230 V air conditioning
- 115 litre calorifier
- Stainless steel fuel tanks new total 2,000 litres
- Stainless steel water tanks new total 2,000 litres
- Black water tank 500 litres
- 2 x Grey water tanks 400 l each total 800 litres



- Zeus 2 9 inch multi-function display
- H 5000 analogue depth
- H 5000 analogue speed
- DST 800 active d/s/t plastic transducer
- RC42 rate compass
- Triton Pilot add-on system low current
- RF25 N rudder reference unit
- HLD -350 mk 2 short split linear drive
- Broadband 4G radar c/w 20 m radar cable
- V90 Black Box VHF
- NAIS 400 class B-AIS c/w GPS
- NMEA2000 connections
- 2.4m VHF whip antenna
- Stainless steel ratchet mount



- Life Saving Aparatus complying with MCA Category C at re-launch
- Manual and electric bilge pumping systems with bilge alarms
- NFD900M Sea Fire engine room fire fighting system
- New horn



- LUX300 Tender with Mercury 9.9 HP 4 stroke outboard


These particulars have been prepared from information provided by the vendors and are intended as a general guide. The purchaser should confirm details of concern to them by survey or engineers inspection. The purchaser should also ensure that the purchase contract properly reflects their concerns and specifies details on which they wish to rely.


Sandeman Yacht Company

Brokerage Of Classic & Vintage Yachts