World's 100 Largest Yachts 2008 #50: Salem
Last summer this converted craft was put up for sale, for $19.75 million, the first time since she was transformed from a weather ship. She was withdrawn from the market several months later, however, because her owner changed his mind. Here's hoping he continues to keep her in superb condition (yacht-spotters say she's immaculate) and continues to entertain friends and family; her voluminous interior allows 48 guests to mix and mingle. She's been used extensively for family cruises in the Red Sea.
Y: 1963/1998 (conversion); B: Devonport Yachts, England (conversion); N: Devonport (conversion); H: steel; E: 1/3,996-hp MAN B&W Alpha
Salem began her career as Cumulus, a North Atlantic weather ship, lofting weather balloons and making on-the-spot meteorological observations for a consortium of airlines flying transatlantic. Weather ships like Cumulus typically traveled long distances within a northerly cruising ground bounded by the coasts of Greenland, Newfoundland, and Ireland. As a Holland-based workhorse, Cumulus accommodated a crew of 52 and made speeds of 10 to 12 knots. Unlike many sisterships, however, she did not fade from the scene with the advent of weather satellites. In 1998 a Saudi bought her and had her rebuilt at the Devonport Royal Dockyard in Plymouth, England. Work reportedly included a new superstructure, a new hull color, a six-foot extension to her clipperish bow, and the replacement of an old Stork 1400 single diesel engine with a new, variable-pitch-propeller-equipped MAN 3996. Other updates to the romantic old beauty included a stowage bay for a runabout and watertoys.—Capt. Bill Pike
This article originally appeared in the August 2008 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.