A very long way from the Waitemata and made of steel but OMG, this legendary super-yacht is drop dead stunning.
Christina O has a very impressive heritage – built in 1943, she served in WWII at the D-Day Landings and later witnessed some iconic events. President John F. Kennedy first met Sir Winston Churchill aboard in the bar, and you will see from the photos on board the likes of Marilyn Monroe and Jackie Kennedy (later married to Onassis) have called it home.
She started life as a Canadian anti-submarine frigate and Aristotle Onassis in 1954 converted her into a luxury yacht. In 2016/17 she was totally refurbished to what you see above , but retains her ‘old world’ class and opulence. Today she is available for charter, with 17 cabins.The mosaic swimming is original and can be raised & lowered.
At 325’ Christina O is not the worlds largest or most expensive super-yacht but it would have to be the most famous.
INPUT FROM Russell Ward
“Converting a warship to a private yacht showed that Onassis had a lot of style. They were a fine shape. Mind you he got a bargain –a well made ship that had not had a lot of use $34K. All the engineering systems were designed to be literally bomb proof and no expense spared.
The River Class were similar specs to the Loch Class (the RNZN had five ‘50s – 70s) but were traditionally built with fine lines and did not have the sheer broken into three straight lines as the later Loch class which were designed to be built in modules off site and taken to the slip for assembly. Most were steam powered with four cylinder triple expansion engines and oil fired water tube boilers. These engines made the ships amazingly manoeuvrable since a precipitating engine can be slammed from full ahead to full astern if the needs (like hunting and killing submargarines) arise. Also unlike turbines (some were so powered) they required comparatively unsophisticated spanner work to keep them going. Also turbines don’t reverse so easily.
I am not sure whether Christina O was diseaseled (I seem to think he kept her steam. Even if only originally). Unfortunately the media these days concentrate on the Jackie Kennedy, Christina Onassis herself, guests and the solid gold bidets marble bathtubs etc rather than mundane things like the engine rooms.
Oh by the way, the NZ Navy had one of these –the Lachlan- -a river class frigate built by Morts Dock in Sydney. She was our surveying vessel and frequently used to be seen when we were out cruising. Did a hellava lot of work updating our charts some of which died from Capt Cook’s work. She’d stooge in and anchor off the bay practically unheard and then shoot through in the morning. Not the drama, bells and on deck announcements with a real navy ship. I remember once she anchored off Stanmore Bay in the early ‘60s and we steamed off over to have a look as fast as Milli ll’s Stuart Turner would take her. But Lachlan evidently saw us coming and weighed and steamed off at a real old clip –she’d do 20 knots easy. Gone in a flash.
The Navy decommissioned her in ’74 and used her for accommodation for a few years. Her engines were removed in 1975 and Marie wouldn’t let me have one sadly. I got an admiralty pattern angle poise type light off her bridge (won’t tell you how!) and the desk from the sickbay (of course) when she was stripped prior to being knackered in the Philippines in 1993. I use the desk in my Mancave and always thought I’d put the lamp on one of my boats but never did as yet.
The Aussies had a sister ship Diamantina similarly deployed on surveying she had a similar lifespan.”