• The cockpit was rebuilt according to the 1930s plans and fitted with its original features including the wooden steering wheel.
• Eilean’s two masts were remade using six cubic meters of spruce wood from a single tree in Alaska.
• Sixty percent of the boat’s original 4cm-thick Burmese teak planking was salvaged.
• Around 5,000 screw heads were made from the original decking.
• Eilean’s new sailing instruments – including a wall clock, barometer and marine chronometer – were made exclusively for her by luxury Italian watchmaker Officine Panerai, which commissioned the restoration project.
Visitors to the Homo Faber exhibition in Venice this September will have the chance to board the yacht Eilean, spectacularly restored by Panerai, the high-end watchmaking maison and former supplier of professional diving instruments and timepieces to the Italian navy.
A 22-metre Bermudian ketch designed and built in 1936 by a legendary Scottish boatyard, Eilean (“little island” in Gaelic) was in a state of disrepair when she was found in Antigua in 2006 and bought by Panerai. Transported to Italy on a cargo ship, Eilean was soon in the hands of master artisans at the Francesco Del Carlo boatyard in Viareggio. Over the next three years, they brought Eilean back to life while preserving her shape, defining characteristics and the majority of her original materials.
With her elegance and perfect proportions, Eilean is not just an extraordinary example of craftsmanship and authenticity but also an expression of deep-seated human and seafaring values that are an inextricable part of the Panerai brand’s identity.
Panerai’s restoration of Eilean demonstrates the respect the luxury sector has for traditional artisanal skills and its dedication to championing master craftsmanship and preserving it for the future.
It’s an ethos shared by 20 other European maisons who will be showcasing the rare techniques and incredible skills that go into their products in the Homo Faber exhibit Discovery and Rediscovery.
Eilean will be moored right next to this exhibit in the waters off San Giorgio Maggiore island, with visitors able to board her to get a closer look at the skill and artistry that brought her back to life. As a magnificent symbol of traditional boat building and fine craftsmanship, Eilean is a perfect fit for Venice, an age-old city built on the sea and seeped in creativity.
Eilean is one of 16 exhibits that make up Homo Faber, a major new exhibition celebrating European craftsmanship, organised by the Michelangelo Foundation.
Notes for editors
Crafting a more human future
Fondazione Giorgio Cini, San Giorgio Maggiore, Venice
Free entry upon registration at homofaberevent.com
Homo Faber is the first major cultural exhibition dedicated to the very best in European craftsmanship. Organised by the Michelangelo Foundation, it aims to put fine craftsmanship on the global map and increase recognition and visibility for master artisans. The exhibition will bring together a vast range of materials and disciplines, from jewellery to bespoke bicycles, from the rarest artisanal techniques to some of the most iconic examples of the finest European workmanship. Created by a hand-picked team of world-class designers, curators and architects, the exhibition stretches over a number of magnificent spaces throughout the Fondazione Giorgio Cini. homofaberevent.com
The Michelangelo Foundation for Creativity and Craftsmanship is an international, nonprofit institution based in Geneva, Switzerland, which celebrates and preserves master craftsmanship and strengthens its connection to the world of design. Rooted in a tradition of culture and excellence and in the realities and challenges of today’s global economy, the Foundation seeks to support men and women who dedicate themselves to the pursuit of master craftsmanship and to foster a new cultural movement built around the values that are essential for their work. The Foundation focuses on Europe as a starting point for its activities, in recognition that craftsmanship has been a vital part of the economic and cultural fabric of the region for centuries. michelangelofoundation.org
Officine Panerai’s watches are a natural blend of Italian design, expert Swiss technology and passion for the sea. Founded in Florence in 1860 as a workshop, shop and school of watch-making, for many decades Officine Panerai supplied the Italian Navy in general, and its specialist diving corps in particular, with precision instruments. The designs developed by Panerai in that time, including the Luminor and Radiomir, were covered by the Military Secrets Act for many years and were launched on the international market only after the brand was acquired by the Richemont Group in 1997. Today Officine Panerai designs its watches in Italy and crafts its movements and watches at its Neuchâtel manufacture in Switzerland. Technical excellence and exclusive design are the core principals of Officine Panerai watches due to seamless melding of Italian design flair and history with Swiss horological expertise. Panerai watches are sold across the world through an exclusive network of distributors and Panerai boutiques. panerai.com
Eilean was built in 1936 by the legendary Scottish boatyard, Fife & Son, according to a design by William Fife III. In its long history, this beautiful boat has known a succession of different owners who have taken it across the Atlantic no less than 36 times. During the 1970s and 80s she was a charter yacht in the Caribbean, moored at English Bay, Antigua, and such was her popularity that she was chosen by the band Duran Duran to feature in the video to their hit song Rio in 1982. Eilean’s glory days came to an end after she was damaged by a stricken ferry near Malaga, Spain. Her then owner took her back to Antigua to begin repair work, but progress was slow and in the following years she suffered further damage. She was found and bought in 2006 by Angelo Bonati, former CEO of Officine Panerai, and her restoration was completed in 2009.