The story begins in 1929, when the chairman of the Packard Car company, Mr Russell Alger, commissioned the German shipyard Friedrich Krupp, and the Designer team Cox & Stevens to build him a 274' motor yacht.
The yacht, named "Reveler", was completed in 1930, but soon after the launch Mr Alger died, and the yacht was moved to Camper and Nicholson's yard at Southampton. There she lay for nearly a year until she was bought by Charles E.F. McCann, son-in-law of F.W. Woolworth, reportedly for around $375,000.
McCann renamed the yacht "Chalena" and bestowed upon her the only two things missing on this extraordinary yacht - an owner and some furniture. The interior fitting-out was supervised by Mrs McCann (formerly Helena Maud Woolworth) prior to finally leaving England.
McCann was a member of the New York Yacht Club and the yacht was based at the Glen Cove Station of the NYYC.
At the end of the decade the yacht was sold to Mr Leon Mandel, of the Chigaco department store Mandel Brothers, who re-named the yacht "Carola" after his wife Carola Panekai-Bertini. Chigaco was home for a while, though the yacht made a few trips, including expeditions to Guatemela and the Galapagos islands, before it was requisitioned in January 1942 by the US Navy and pressed into service for World War 2 as the gunboat "USS Beaumont - PG60", having been refitted by Gibbs Gas Engine Co at Jacksonville, Florida.
USS Beaumont was assigned to the Pacific fleet and operated as an ocean weather ship between Pearl Harbour and Midway throughout the war. Her interior had been completely gutted during the conversion, and now carried a crew of 110. Luckily she survived the war and was de-commissioned at Mare Island Navy Yard on February 19th 1946 and laid up.
On February 20th, 1947 she was transferred to Bath Iron Works, Maine, for re-conversion to a yacht, where she emerged in 1949 as "Elpetal", having been purchased by the the president of the Elpetal Corporation of New York, Norman W. Woolworth. The yacht had undergone a complete refit inside and out, and left BIW bound for Florida with a crew of 34.
Mr Woolworth kept Elpetal until 1957, when she was sold to Greek shipping magnate Maris Embiricos.
Embiricos kept the name Elpetal, and used her both for private use and charter. But when Embiricos' wife died in the mid 70's the yacht was laid up on the Greek island of Petali, where she rapidly began to decay and it looked like it would be the end for her working life.
In August 1983 film producer Robert Stigwood, described by The New York Times as, “a combination of P.T. Barnum, Mike Todd and Jay Gatsby”, rescued her and she was towed to Malta, where she was given an eight-month major refit. Restored to her original lines, with her graceful clipper bow restored, and a host of modern upgrades, she was finally relaunched as "Jezebel" in 1984, making waves in the East River, New York.
''It evokes another age of shipbuilding when the clippers reigned,'' said her captain, Christopher Williams. ''It's like the Parthenon, showing off lovely, immutable laws of aesthetics.''
Jezebel cruised extensively until she started to develop too many mechanical issues and was finally laid up once more in Lisbon.
She was eventually sold in 1993 to John Paul Getty II. He undertook yet further restoration, renamed her TALITHA G and the yacht headed back to the yard, this time to Devonport in Plymouth UK to be totally restored.
The rest, as they say, is history.