Inside the luxury superyacht at the centre of the Melbourne multi-millionaire magnate family’s COVID voyage controversy.
Inside the luxury superyacht at the centre of the Melbourne multi-millionaire magnate family’s COVID voyage controversy.

Inside the luxury yacht caught up in the COVID controversy

It's the luxuriously extravagant yacht at the centre of Melbourne property mogul Mark Simonds and his family's controversial departure from Victoria's draconian coronavirus lockdown.

The 30m Italian-built Lady Pamela, now docked at the Gold Coast Marina at Coomera, is now the subject of a criminal investigation.

Queensland and NSW Police are examining possible border breaches on the two week voyage by the ASX-listed Simonds Group executive director and his glamorous wife Cheryl.

As they slum it in hotel quarantine with their son Vallance and trucking multi-millionaire Peter Fox's daughter, news.com.au has taken a look at just what those 15 days aboard would have been like.

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As the yacht lies idle for at least 13 more days, it will be bleeding in lost potential revenue almost as much as it would have cost to rent it for the for the Simonds' glorious voyage into troubled waters.

An ordinary person would have paid close to $125,000, notwithstanding the extra cost of drinks and sumptuous meals from the lavish menu on offer if you chart it at full freight. .

The superyacht sleeps a maximum of twelve, but that includes four crew.

It only comfortably accommodates eight guests in four deluxe suites, meaning a cost for the 15 day voyage of more than $15,500 per head for board alone.

The Lady Pamela superyacht has luxury finishes and a sumptuous menu of platters for guests aboard.
The Lady Pamela superyacht has luxury finishes and a sumptuous menu of platters for guests aboard.

Full name, Lady Pamela Azimut, the yacht was built in 2001 in "glorious hardwoods with marble and gold finishing" by the prestigious megayacht company, Benetti ship builders.

The 150-year-old company builds uber luxury vessels for billionaires around the world.

Its clients have included the Turkmenistan government and the late Saudi arms dealer, Adnan Khashoggi.

Refitted in a "sophisticated Versace-style" interior in 2018, possibly under the direction of Cheryl Simonds, the Lady Pamela has its own Instagram page, livery and logo woven into its soft furnishings.

The logo, a laurel wreath - the symbol for triumph - enclosing the letters "LP" is woven into a White House Oval Office presidential-style rug in the yacht's main salon.

Lady Pamela main salon with the letters “LP” is woven into a White House Oval Office presidential-style rug.
Lady Pamela main salon with the letters “LP” is woven into a White House Oval Office presidential-style rug.

 

The Lady Pamela slipped out of Melbourne on August 9, a week after Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews' stage four restrictions enveloped metropolitan Melbourne and the Simonds' mansion in exclusive Toorak.

The yacht, which has a superior hull and is driven by powerful engines, sails at a comfortable cruising speed of 12 to 14 knots and made its way southeast to Refuge Cove.

The remote and beautiful spot lies in national park on Victoria's most southerly point, Wilson's Promontory, known for seal, seabird and dolphin sightings.

With just four guests board, along with three crew, the Simonds party had the run of three levels of luxury".

They include a VIP stateroom, lounging bar and barbecue areas, a fly deck and a swimming platform off the bow "for enjoying those wonderful warm lazy days", one of the yacht's promotional websites says.

In the master suite and two twin cabins, all with their own private ensuites, they slept in lush bedding with fresh towels and quality toiletry products in stock.

 

Each bedroom has its own ensuite and offers high-end toiletries and fresh towels.
Each bedroom has its own ensuite and offers high-end toiletries and fresh towels.

The Lady Pamela sailed on August 11 over the Victorian border into NSW on August 11 to stay in the NSW south coast town of Eden, an old whaling port, for two days.

One of the at least three luxury yacht charter companies from which anyone can lease the Lady Pamela describes the vessels' interior as "beautifully finished in light cherry wood with lacquers and exquisite attention to detail".

It says the floors are covered with." soft luscious carpet throughout, giving her guests freedom to enjoy a relaxed experience in ultimate style".

The main salon features an island bar, a dining table for up to eight seated, an ultra high definition curved screen TV, Foxtel and WI-FI access and an elegant powder room.

After stopping at Jervis Bay for a day, Lady Pamela sailed north into the comparatively warmer climate at Corlette, a resort location at Port Stephens where they remained for three days.

Police are investigating whether the Simonds party disembarked at Corlette, possibly breaching COVID-19 quarantine rules.

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The group had been granted an exemption to sail to the Gold Coast by Queensland Health on the proviso of being confined to the yacht for the 14 or more day voyage, the equivalent of hotel quarantine.

The vessel sailed from Corlette on August 17, to Coffs Harbour for a night, and then on to Yamba Harbour where it stayed five days.

Known as the new Byron Bay, Yamba offers luxury resorts and opportunities to surf, game fish and whale watch.

The open flybridge of Lady Pamela offers a panoramic view to admire from a large alfresco

dining table, sun lounges and jacuzzi.

Off the transom of Lady Pamela on the yacht's bow, it is possible to dive, snorkel, fish and scuba dive.

A Current Affair filmed Hannah Fox and Vallance Simonds enjoying themselves in a motorised inflatable dinghy off the boat.

Channel 9 filmed the adults sunning themselves and sipping from wine glasses.

All along the way, the Simonds had the choice of an extensive and varied menu of food prepared by the crew.

Catering options includes grazing platters of antipasto, gourmet cheeses, charcuterie (cold meat), fruit or a dessert selection of macarons "delightful tarts" and a lolly jar.

Also on the menu are "sharing platters" platters of mini croissants, gourmet sushi, deluxe sashimi, freshly shucked oysters and an "indulgence seafood" plate of lobster, prawns, bugs, crabs and oysters.

At 9am on Monday, August 24 the Lady Pamela arrived at the Gold Coast Marina on the Coomera River.

On the menu for dinner aboard the Lady Pamela superyacht are grazing platters of antipasto, gourmet cheeses, and charcuterie.
On the menu for dinner aboard the Lady Pamela superyacht are grazing platters of antipasto, gourmet cheeses, and charcuterie.

On Tuesday Queensland Health workers boarded the boat and gave all seven people COVID-19 tests on the deck.

The same afternoon Queensland Health revoked the Simonds' exemption to enter the state and by nightfall, Queensland Police had boarded the Lady Pamela and removed all seven into hotel quarantine.

For that quarantine period, the yacht may remain on the Gold Coast, unavailable for hire.

When it does return to the charter market, it's worth noting that not only the rich can take advantage of its luxury.

Apart from the minimum four hour charter fee - which ranges from $1600 an hour up to $1950 between November and January - there are budget options.

Sydney Harbour Escapes has a BYO charter option for just $15 a person or $550 for four hours with BYO food plus a chef and $300 per wait staff over four hours.

candace.sutton@news.com.au

Originally published as Inside luxury yacht in COVID controversy

Cheryl Simonds (left) aboard Lady Pamela with son Vallance, fellow multi-millionaire Peter Fox’s daughter, Hannah. Picture: Channel 9
Cheryl Simonds (left) aboard Lady Pamela with son Vallance, fellow multi-millionaire Peter Fox’s daughter, Hannah. Picture: Channel 9
Cheryl and Mark Simonds are now in hotel quarantine. Picture: Julie Kiriacoudis.
Cheryl and Mark Simonds are now in hotel quarantine. Picture: Julie Kiriacoudis.
Robes with Lady Pamela logo on the superyacht.
Robes with Lady Pamela logo on the superyacht.
Drinks in the VIP stateroom which seats eight for dinner from a lavish menu.
Drinks in the VIP stateroom which seats eight for dinner from a lavish menu.
Lady Pamela pictured in Sydney Harbour with a super slide and inflatable boat off the side of the luxury superyacht.
Lady Pamela pictured in Sydney Harbour with a super slide and inflatable boat off the side of the luxury superyacht.
A pool on deck of the Lady Pamela superyacht which was made in Italy by Benneti ship builders.
A pool on deck of the Lady Pamela superyacht which was made in Italy by Benneti ship builders.
Cheryl Simonds, Vallance Simonds and Hannah Fox kiss goodbye to Victoria’s COVID-19 lockdown and head for the sun. Picture: Channel 9/ACA
Cheryl Simonds, Vallance Simonds and Hannah Fox kiss goodbye to Victoria’s COVID-19 lockdown and head for the sun. Picture: Channel 9/ACA
Lady Pamela at Gold Coast City Council Marina where she is moored while the Simonds party are in hotel quarantine for COVID-19.
Lady Pamela at Gold Coast City Council Marina where she is moored while the Simonds party are in hotel quarantine for COVID-19.


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