Naval engineer J.M. Soper designed “Xarifa” which was built at J. Samuel White & Co. Shipyard in Cowes in 1927 for Franklin Morse Singer who was one of the numerous sons of the wealthy Singer American family who made their fortune building sewing machines. Obviously Franklin Singer loved beautiful things money can buy. His beautiful wife had supposedly modelled for sculptor Frederic-auguste Bartholdi when he was tackling New York’s Statue of Liberty. Apparently others claim Bartholdi had drawn inspiration for the statue deploying his own mother Charlotte as model. Two years after having been launched, perhaps because of the Wall Street crash and ensuing recession, Singer was forced to sell the yacht in 1929. The new owner Edward Mauger a British gentleman changed the yacht’s name to “Radiant”. Six years later Louis Empain a Belgian baron who owned several companies in Canada bought “Radiant” changed the name to “Oiseau Blanc” and used her to cross the ocean from Europe several times as well as cruising extensively in the United States as well. At the time of her launch and for some years after “Xarifa” was considered an engineering feat and a very elegant masterpiece and her schooner rig accentuated her flowing lines while sporting a sumptuous interior decor below deck and great comfort for the times. The Belgian baron did not keep her long. Only eleven years after her launch in Cowes she was sold once again in 1938 and became “Capitana” and then again “Georgette”. Hans Haas scientist and underwater photographer – who I had the pleasure of meeting some years ago – bought her in 1951 to sail around the world with his wife - while mostly privileging the Indian and Pacific Oceans - he re-instated the original name and “Xarifa” made her appearance in several of Haas’s films “Under the Caribbean” one with James Bond and also “The sailor from Gibraltar” in 1967 with Vanessa Redgrave and Jeanne Moreau. An Italian billionaire, Carlo Traglio bought her in 1960 and her home port was for many years Montecarlo from where she sailed extensively and by 1970 she was more than due for a much needed thorough refit to bring her back to her original form and splendour. The latest total refit was carried out in 2014 after 44 years from the first this was carried out in the Spanish town of Vigo at the Metalship Yards & Docks site.