In the early nineteen twenties Alexander Robertson was busy building ships on the Clyde for private customers. One of them was La Falaise built for a Scottish businessman for the sum of £5,000. Both of these men would be proud to know that nearly one hundred years later the boat is still in service and looking really smart. Indeed she is registered on the Historic Ships Register as Maria Christina and is currently named La Fiesta as the owner has been using her for corporate and private charters with dinner on board.
The galley is professionally equipped with a Jura coffee machine, a draft beer device, a big fridge, separate freezer and there is even a desalination plant in the bowels of the ship as well as an ice maker, air conditioning, a generator and diesel heating. The current owner is a chef who has been earning his living by cooking for guests on board. He is not well at the moment hence his decision to leave the live aboard carefree life for a safe haven on shore somewhere in the vicinity of a hospital.
There were 32 motoryachts built similar to this one at the Robertson yard. You can find it on the Scottish historic ships register as boat number 154. She is of teak on oak with an extended wheelhouse also in teak. The engines were replaced in 1947 with twin 5.8 litre Gardners. In fact the boat returned to Scotland in a parlous state following its war service in Scandinavia where having been requisitioned for the Admiralty, it was scuppered by the Germans. Clearly it was considered too valuable to scrap and after a refurbishment which included the new engines the boat was put to work as a postal vessel serving the Shetland Islands for the next 15 years. After this she was once more purchased by a private individual. During the nineteen sixties Sir Alec Guinness lived on board in London when it was fashionable for actors to live on boats. Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor also lived on a boat in central London so that their dogs would avoid quarantine !
The boat has an interesting layout with three heads and two showers, one at either end as en suites to the two twin cabins. Access to the bow cabin is directly down the companion way from the saloon while the aft cabin is accessed from the aft deck and feels very private. The aft deck itself takes up the space over the canoe stern and has ample seating with two shaped benches built in to reflect the shape of the stern.
The saloon has some fitted furniture including a piano which separates it from the galley area. The whole feel of the interior as imagined by the current live aboard owner is art deco inspired. Whether a new owner decides to keep the fixtures and fittings will be a matter for negotiation. There are fitted electric blinds, each with a different scene on a black background and which are operated remotely. It all feels very cosy and comfortable even on the grim wintry day when I visited.
The owner who has been on board for the past seven years cruised all the way to the Canal du Midi in 2019. There is a fairly recent survey for any serious prospective buyer.
A few vital statistics :
LOA 58 ft
Beam 11ft 6ins
Air draft 10ft 3ins
Current BSS certificate to August 2023
Current commercial EA licence