Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Irvine Laidlaw - Lady Christine - Oceanco - 55,63 metre -2001

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Although a new Lady Christine has just been delivered by Royal van Lent to mr Laidlaw and Superyachtfan just has three pictures (of poor quality....) of the superyacht Lady Christine, still some info on the 2001 yacht Lady Christine.

Lady Christine was deliverd by Oceanco in 2001 to Mr Irvine Laidlaw. With the new Lady Christine just being delivered, this Lady Christine is currently for sale through Edmiston at EUR 26,9 million. In 2008 her asking price was EUR 45 million, so this sounds like a 'real bargain'.

Mr Laidlaw is a well known Scottish businessman.

On Wikipedia you will find:

Irvine Alan Stewart Laidlaw, Baron Laidlaw (born 1943 in Keith, Banffshire, Scotland) is Scotland's second richest businessman. In the Sunday Times Rich List 2007 ranking of the wealthiest people in the UK he was placed 100th with an estimated fortune of £730 million.

He ceased to be a member of the House of Lords on 15 April 2010.

The eldest of three children of a Banffshire family textile business owner. His father, Ray, was a Tory councillor who died when Laidlaw was 22. Laidlaw was educated at Merchiston Castle School in Edinburgh, the University of Leeds and New York City’s Columbia Business School where he did an MBA.

IIR - The Institute of International Research
After graduation in 1967, Laidlaw spent two years touring America before joining the US publisher, Doubleday, as a financial analyst where he learnt his direct marketing skills. He was quickly promoted to chief executive of the Doubleday Book Club before starting on his own at the age of 30, buying a small newsletter operation in 1973. In 1978 IIR - the Institute for International Research - entered the conference business and, in the wake of the success of its first two events, IIR's focus rapidly switched to conferences. In 1979 the first conferences were held in Europe and Singapore, and by 1980 offices had opened in Singapore and Hong Kong, and conference activities had expanded into Malaysia, the Philippines, Indonesia and Thailand. By 1986 there were 7 conference offices, and continued expansion in Europe, Scandinavia, North and South America, Africa, the Middle East and Australasia over the last decade led to a total of 46 companies - the broadest international spread of any company of its kind. The company has also recently opened offices in Eastern Europe and Portugal. IIR moved into Exhibitions in 1984 with the opening of an exhibitions company in Singapore, and now owns a large portfolio of high profile exhibitions throughout the world including the Monaco Yacht Show and IPEX.

IIR's complex web of companies had an opaque structure, which meant information was not always transparent. The financial hub was in Amsterdam from where a large team provided well ordered accounts: one of their chief purposes was to minimise the tax exposure of each business and the overall group liability. According to one senior ex employee, Dominic Carman, who worked very closely with him:

'Laidlaw would deliver a polemic on the evils of taxation. He hated tax. And still does. Coveting a peerage for many years, he sometimes joked that his donations to the Conservative Party - currently approaching £7million in total - might secure one.'

For much of the Nineties, he expressed a desire to become a billionaire but fell slightly short. After calling off a £500m flotation in 2001 when the market plunged, IIR was eventually sold in 2005 to Informa plc, with Laidlaw's stake was £713million.

Conservative Party Donations
One of the largest financial backers of the UK's Conservative Party, Laidlaw was made a life peer as Baron Laidlaw, of Rothiemay in Banffshire in June 2004. According to the records of the UK Electoral Commission, on 27 November 2007, Laidlaw gave a donation of £2,990,532.20 to the UK Conservative Party. Laidlaw donated £25,000 to the 2008 London Mayoral election campaign of Boris Johnson.

Tax Exile Status and Laidlaw's Peerage
Lord Laidlaw is described by The Guardian as a "Monaco-based tax exile."

Lord Laidlaw was criticized in April 2007 in the press for failing to become UK tax resident despite being appointed to the House of Lords. The Lords Appointments Commission now enjoys powers to block any non-UK residents becoming Lords in the first place, but it has no powers to force Lord Laidlaw to alter his status as he was granted his peerage prior to this change. The BBC has said that, in a letter seen by them, Laidlaw "cites a variety of personal reasons" for non-compliance.

Laidlaw has attended debates in the House of Lords but, faced with an estimated £50m tax bill, he took a leave of absence in 2007. In an unprecedented move, cited in its the Propriety and Peerages report, the Commission said it would not have approved his peerage had it known he would not return. In an exchange of letters in March with Lord Stevenson of Coddenham, chairman of the Lords appointments commission, Laidlaw said he was “mindful of the commitment that I made to the appointments commission prior to being appointed as a peer”. He said there were reasons why he had not spent as much time as he would have liked in the UK. Letters released under the Freedom of Information Act strike out the reasons. But The Sunday Times discovered that Laidlaw cited serious health problems and the prospect of divorce from his wife Christine, which he did not want, as a reason for not spending much time in the UK.

Following this interchange with Dennis Stevenson, Baron Stevenson of Coddenham, chair of the House of Lords Appointments Commission, regarding the assurances given to the committee by Laidlaw to be a UK tax resident by April 2004, Laidlaw was granted a leave of absence, subject to further investigation. On 15 April 2010, Lord Laidlaw chose not to become domiciled in the United Kingdom for tax purposes, so he is no longer a member of the legislature (although he keeps his title).

Charity donations
In 2004, Laidlaw said that he would over the next 20-30years donate most of his fortune to helping disadvantaged Scots. His main vehicle was the Laidlaw Youth Trust (formerly the Laidlaw Youth Project) which supported charities in Scotland helping vulnerable children and young people. It was reported that the Trust was closing in summer 2009 after having paid out over £6million to support youth work in Scotland. He has also donated:
£2million to The Prince's Trust
After Moray Council earmarked Rothiemay Primary School for closure, Laidlaw donated funds to a parents campaign which successfully kept 21 schools open
£40,000 to Keith Grammar School, to fund a scheme to help senior pupils prepare for the world of work
£1,000,000 was given by Baron Laidlaw to Merchiston Castle School his former school; despite having despised attending it, he eventually relented to persuasion by the headmaster and donated this sum. The new sixth-form house at the school, which his donation went some way to financing will therefore be named Laidlaw House. Moreover, Lord Laidlaw has donated £1,000,000 to Merchiston to fund scholarships for academically or musically gifted pupils from state maintained schools, who would otherwise be unable to attend the school. At present (May 2010), there are seven Laidlaw Scholars at Merchiston.

Academy Sponsorship
In January 2005, Laidlaw expressed an interest along with Newcastle City Council to establish an academy school in the west end of Newcastle to replace two existing schools. Excelsior Academy opened in September 2008 in new premises, leased from Newcastle City Council. Laidlaw doesn't take a main role and leaves this up to his Governing Body and the academy's Executive Principal.

Personal life
Laidlaw and his second wife Christine divide their time between their £4m vineyard on the French Riviera, a £3m apartment in Monte Carlo and a £10m estate near Cape Town, South Africa. They also own a £2m London house, a Scottish mansion and a £14m stately home in Hampshire. At the time of the purchase in 2005, the 23200m² De Goede Hoop Estate in Noordhoek, South Africa (bought for R106-million) was the country's most expensive house. Lady Christine shares Laidlaw's passion for sailing and is also keen on horses: in April 2008, for example, she paid £200,000 at a South African auction for a colt called White Hills. The colt was bred by Mary Slack's Wilgerbosdrift Stud and was named after her former residence. Lady Christine changed his name to Noordhoek Flyer, after her South African home. The colt recently won the Gr.1 Cape Argus Guineas, one of the more important 3-year-old races on the South African calendar.

Laidlaw regularly competes in historic car racing around the world with his Porsche 904GTS, Porsche 904/6, Maserati 250S & Maserati 6CM. Laidlaw also won a medal in the Scottish amateur rally, using a Ford Focus ST. In 2007 Laidlaw added a 1001 hp Bugatti Veyron to his extensive car collection, which is sometimes seen between Noordhoek and Cape Town, on the world-famous coastal road Chapman's Peak Drive.

Laidlaw has won the Key West Regatta twice using his Swan 60 cruiser-racer, Highland Fling. He began a voyage around the world in Oceanco built motor yacht, the Lady Christine, in 2003.

Sex scandal in Monte Carlo
In April 2008, Laidlaw was the target of a sting operation staged by investigative journalist Mazher Mahmood on behalf of the British tabloid The News of the World. He was secretly filmed with four prostitutes and a male gigolo in the £6,000-a-night presidential suite of Monte Carlo's sumptuous Hermitage Hotel, and had paid £27,000 for the pleasure of their company. According to the paper, Laidlaw wined and dined the sex workers with the prostitutes drinking champagne, fine wines and taking cocaine, before cavorting in lesbian, domination and bondage sex acts. Laidlaw did not take any drugs. One of the girls told the The News of the World that it was a “crazy” party but stressed that Laidlaw, who has recovered from prostate cancer and a heart attack, did not do cocaine. But she added: “Irvine was drinking and taking the sex drug Viagra. He f***ed me and another girl. He can still f***. He knew the other girl from an earlier party because she knew exactly what he liked. He liked to watch the male model, called Ben, f***ing with the girls. I think that’s why the guy was there. Every time Ben went away to get a drink, Irvine was pleading ‘Come back!’ We also did a lesbian show for him. I do everything except unnatural acts. I’m very easy-going, you know!” Vignardi added she charges £3000 for a night of sex and revealed that Laidlaw footed the bill for her return air fare from London, plus a chauffeured limo from Nice airport.

Laidlaw submitted a written confession to The News of the World in which he allegedly confessed a life time fighting sex addiction:

“I have been fighting sexual addiction for my whole adult life. Sexual addiction is comparable to the other, better known addictions, such as drugs, alcohol and gambling. Many people suffer different types of this disease. There is no cure for it, and self help is rarely successful. But having an addiction is no excuse for my behaviour. I have been in therapy a number of times, but I have not worked hard enough or continuously enough on this. I should have been stronger in resisting the temptations...I hope that in time people will be able to understand and forgive me as I fight this difficult, personal battle.”

Laidlaw checked himself into a six-week residential sex addict programme in South Africa, not far from Goede Hoop, his retreat outside Cape Town, and donated £1million to help fellow sufferers. The exercise in damage limitation arising from the sex scandal was co-ordinated by Lord Bell, the PR man who helped mastermind three Election triumphs for Margaret Thatcher.

A clinical sexologist, Dr Eve, commented on the case: "It’s unacceptable to equate sex with something like alcohol and drugs and supposedly treat it with a 12-step programme. It’s ridiculous to put sex in that sort of category". She pointed to the currency of “sex addiction” as an excuse for those who had “behaviour management” issues. “They’re all powerful men - politicians, rock stars, businessmen, film stars. It’s the giddiness of entitlement; hence the permissive behaviour.”

Helicopter Accident
On August 3, 2009, Laidlaw was at the controls of a helicopter that made a crash landing at Little Deer Isle, Maine. It had just taken off from Laidlaw's yacht 'Lady Christine'. The four passengers inside got out safely after the crash and waded ashore to the island. One eye-witness said that after seeing the helicopter spin down fast into the water she was amazed that anyone got out alive.

Read more about superyachts and superyacht owners at
Including the Superyacht Owners Register, the most comprehensive overview of superyacht owners.

Technical details of superyacht Lady Christine (

Yacht type: Motor Yacht
Sub type: Displacement
Imo: 1006609
MMSI: 538070436
Call sign: V7NR5
Flag: Marshall Islands

Length Overall (m): 55.63 Length Overall (ft): 182.51
Length Waterline (m): 49.80 Length Waterline (ft): 163.39
Beam (m): 10.50 Beam (ft): 34.45
Draught Max (m): 3.51 Draught Max (ft): 11.52

Shipyard: Oceanco
Year: 2001
Hull: Y561

Naval Architect: Oceanco
Exterior Designer: Oceanco
Interior Designer: The A Group

Hull Material: Steel
Superstructure: Aluminium
Gross Tonnage: 1036
Displacement: 770
Class: Lloyds Register

Guest Cabins: 1 Master, 2 Double, 2 Twin
Guests: 10
Crew: 11

Engine Manufacturer: Caterpillar Inc
Model: 3516B DITA
Number of Engines: 2
Type: Diesel
Total HP: 4,460 Total KW: 3,326

Max Speed: 16
Cruise Speed: 14
Range: 5,000 at 12
Propulsion: Twin screw

Fuel Capacity (Liters): 140,000 Fuel Capacity (Gallons): 36,988
Water Capacity (Liters): 16,000 Water Capacity (Gallons): 4,227

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