Built by Camper and Nicholson in 1948, Bluebottle was presented to HM the Queen and HRH Prince Philip as a wedding present from the Island Sailing Club of Cowes, Isle of Wight. She is the only British Dragon to have won an Olympic medal, picking up a bronze at the 1956 Melbourne Olympic Games.
Bluebottle is part of the Royal Collection made up of 13 historic royal residencies and over 1 million objects including thousands of images, ceramics, books, jewellery, art and other vessels. She joins the Royal Yacht Britannia, the Flying Fifteen Cowslip and the ocean yacht racing winner Bloodhound.
The beloved keelboat spent 40 years as a sail-training vessel at the Britannia Royal Naval College and more recently was residing on the pontoon at the National Maritime Museum Cornwall, in Falmouth. Now at the age of 72 – Bluebottle is undergoing a full restoration by David Heritage Racing Yachts on the Isle of Wight. The restoration project had an end goal of being ready to be sailed and raced at the Edinburgh Cup 2020 in Edinburgh, which was sadly cancelled due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
While this year’s Nationals were postponed to 2021 the refurbishment project of the most infamous Dragon, Bluebottle continued. Over on the Isle of Wight David Heritage and his team were well underway with the refurbishment project and got back to it as soon as lockdown restrictions were lifted.
July – by early July the majority of the construction work was complete and the painting process was starting. Next up was for all the deck fittings to be removed.
August – the hull was lifted onto the keel and rudder was fitted.
September – saw Bluebottle take a visit to the spray shop where all of the painting and varnishing was done followed by the fit-out.
October – there is still a little more to do to finish.
November – Bluebottle takes her fist test-sail out on the Solent with H, Will and Graham Bailey.
David Heritage’s unique experience in boat restoration is unrivalled in the UK. A time served wooden craftsman, David Heritage specialises in both restoration and race preparation for some of Britain’s most successful owners.
We are all looking forward to hopefully being able to see and sail alongside Bluebottle at its eponymous home on the Firth of Forth at the 2021 Edinburgh Cup in Edinburgh.