The Royal Yacht Britannia Trust presents new Edinburgh Cup Trophy and sponsors 75th Edinburgh Cup Gala Prizegiving Dinner

The new Britannia Trophy
  • Largest Edinburgh Cup entry in over a decade with 42 boats from 12 nations and 4 continents competing.
  • The Royal Yacht Britannia Trust confirms sponsorship of Dragon 75th Edinburgh Cup and UK Grand Prix Gala Dinner.
  • New Britannia Trophy to be presented by The Royal Yacht Britannia Trust for the top scoring boat in the series without discard.

3 August 2023 – Cowes, UK – The 75th Edinburgh Cup and International Dragon UK Grand Prix sponsored by Clear Solutions International Ltd will get underway from the Royal Yacht Squadron, Cowes, on Sunday 13 August with the largest number of competitors taking part in over a decade participating. Twelve countries will be represented from across Europe, Scandinavia, Turkey, Australia, Japan and the Cayman Islands – possibly the largest number of nations ever represented at an Edinburgh Cup.

Registration for the event will open on Sunday 13 August, with championship racing taking place from Tuesday 15 to Friday 18 August. Alongside top class racing the regatta will also feature a spectacular social programme which opens with the Opening Ceremony sponsored by Yanmar on Monday 14 August and concludes with a spectacular Gala Prizegiving Dinner sponsored by The Royal Yacht Britannia Trust.

The Royal Yacht Britannia Trust has a close association with the International Dragon Class, as in addition to owning and managing The Royal Yacht Britannia in Edinburgh, which is currently Trip Advisor’s top UK visitor attraction, they also have in their custody the legendary Dragon Bluebottle, which was built by Camper & Nicholson and presented to the then Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip on the occasion of their marriage in 1947.

Bluebottle was raced very successfully by Prince Philip himself, and was also loaned to other sailors, most notably winning a Bronze Medal at the 1956 Melbourne Olympics with Lt-Cdr Graham Mann at the helm. Having retired from racing in 1962 she then spent time as a training vessel at the Royal Naval College, before being put on display outside the National Maritime Museum in Falmouth. Sadly, she fell into disrepair until The Royal Yacht Britannia Trust came to her rescue.

Bob Downie, Chief Executive of The Royal Yacht Britannia Trust, takes up the story; “In 2014, I was in Falmouth, on behalf of our Trust, to purchase the former Northern Lighthouse Board ship MV Fingal which had been moored and fully maintained on the River Fal since it was acquired in 2000 by Mark Bamford of the JCB family. I then went into the National Maritime Museum Cornwall (NMMC) expecting to view Bluebottle which they had in their care, only to be told that she was in a poor state of repair and no longer on public display. We then made repeated offers to take Bluebottle into our care and have her fully restored, but it was not until 2017 that NMMC agreed to our request and contacted the Duke of Edinburgh’s office to formalise the transfer which took place in the summer of 2018. Not only did the Duke of Edinburgh kindly give us permission to restore Bluebottle but He also gave us permission to race His beloved yacht for the first time in 60 years! Throughout the restoration project that David Heritage Racing Yachts undertook on our behalf, we kept The Duke fully updated with reports and photographs. Sadly, by the time the restoration was completed The Duke’s health was such that He was unable to see the fully restored Bluebottle. I would like to think that The Duke would have been delighted and somewhat flabbergasted that Bluebottle could compete so incredibly successfully on the world stage racing against all these modern GRP yachts thanks to David Heritage’s incredible restoration, and Graham Baileys’ outstanding helmsmanship.” Find out more about Bob Downie and the work of The Royal Yacht Britannia Trust here.

In addition to sponsoring the Gala Prizegiving Dinner, the Royal Yacht Britannia Trust has also presented a spectacular new perpetual trophy for the Edinburgh Cup. Today the Edinburgh Cup rules allow for a single race discard in the overall score for the regatta, as is typical in most modern international regattas. However, in the early years of the competition all races counted towards the overall result and the new trophy will be awarded to the top scoring Dragon counting all race results.

“The new Britannia Trophy is a maquette of a Royal Yachtsman’s statue that we had commissioned in 2011 in memory of all who served aboard BRITANNIA. As someone relatively new to sailing, I was fascinated by the discard or no-discard rules, and the deep-rooted late-night debates about which was the truer test of the best performing skipper and boat.” – Bob Downie

Bluebottle will be raced in the 75th Edinburgh Cup by past Edinburgh Cup winners Graham and Julia Bailey. Having recently won the Turkish National Championship and claimed third place at the 2023 Dragon World Championship in Bodrum all eyes will be on her to see if she can claim the Edinburgh Cup or the new Britannia Trophy.

The 75th Edinburgh Cup and UK Grand Prix sponsored by Clear Solutions International Ltd will take place from 13 to 19 August 2023 with championship racing being run from Tuesday 15 to Friday 18 August. Entries can be made online via the event website. Entries made prior to 30 July will be at the standard entry fee. Late entries will be accepted from 31 July to 7 August and will pay the late entry fee.

Further information about the Edinburgh Cup can be found at or by contacting:

Gavia Wilkinson-Cox
75th Edinburgh Cup 2023 Regatta Chair
T – +44 7973 165888
E –


The British Dragon Association Welcomes A Historic Entry to this Year’s Edinburgh Cup

The beloved keelboat of His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh Bluebottle has undergone a momentous restoration and a road trip to now complete the Royal fleet in Edinburgh. On completion of the full restoration of this iconic racing yacht in Cowes, Bluebottle has become the very first entry to this year’s British Dragon Association (BDA) Edinburgh Cup, national championships.

Built by Camper and Nicholson in 1947, Bluebottle was presented to Her Majesty The Queen and His Royal Highness The Prince Philip as a wedding present by the Island Sailing Club, Isle of Wight. In 1956 Bluebottle was loaned to the British sailing team competing at the Melbourne Olympics, with Lt Cdr Graham Mann at the helm, winning a Bronze Medal, the only British Dragon to have done so.

Simon Barter, BDA Chairman commented: “We are delighted that Bluebottle has been expertly restored to full racing trim and will be competing in the prestigious Edinburgh Cup. The Edinburgh Cup was presented to the Dragon class by HRH the Duke of Edinburgh, for whom Bluebottle was built and in which he raced on many occasions.”

Bluebottle – Restored racing yacht arrives at Royal Yacht Britannia, Leith May 2021. (L to R) Chief Executive Bob Downie, Julia Bailey, Graham Bailey, Chairman Neil Rankin, David Heritage, Charles Morton, Cathy Ogden.
©Helen Pugh Photography

“Bluebottle will be sailed in this year’s Edinburgh Cup by the very expert husband and wife team of Graham and Julia Bailey who have each won the Edinburgh Cup, the National Championship of the British Dragon Class.”

Julia and Graham, race regularly both home and internationally and have won four Edinburgh Cups between them in recent years. “We are all thrilled and honoured to be racing this most iconic of all Dragons in the Edinburgh Cup. At 74 years old, Bluebottle may be older than The Royal Yacht Britannia, but following the expert restoration with some modern upgrades from David Heritage, we are keen to see how she goes in competition and will give it our all in memory of the late The Duke of Edinburgh.”

His Royal Highness The Prince Philip’s three Royal sailing yachts together for the first time in 58 years.

David Heritage of David Heritage Racing Yachts, “It was a great honour to undertake the challenge of re-building such an iconic and famous racing yacht, and with the use of modern boat building techniques, bring her back to full racing condition. It was also an honour to know that The Duke of Edinburgh was able to see photographs as the re-build progressed, but equally sad that he was unable to see the finished boat”.

The Royal Yacht Britannia’s charitable trust is proudly welcoming the third and final Royal sailing yacht, Bluebottle, to join its historic fleet in Edinburgh, following an eighteen-month restoration undertaken by David Heritage Racing Yachts, Isle of Wight.

Bluebottle – Graham and Julia Bailey, May 2021.
©Helen Pugh Photography

The Royal Yacht Britannia’s Chief Executive Bob Downie: “To finally have all three beautiful royal sailing yachts on public display alongside Britannia completes a historic maritime jigsaw we started 12 years ago, and I am sure our visitors will be as delighted as we are to see all The Duke of Edinburgh’s much loved sailing yachts united once more. We also look forward to Bluebottle once again sailing in the company of other Dragon Class yachts, both here in the River Forth and at regattas elsewhere in the UK.”

International Dragon Bluebottle (DK 192) will join the Flying Fifteen sailboat Coweslip (designed and built by the legendary Uffa Fox), and the classic 63ft ocean racing yacht Bloodhound, all three of which were formerly owned and much-loved by the late The Duke of Edinburgh, and on which both The Prince of Wales, and The Princess Royal learned to sail.

Bluebottle arriving in Edinburgh is the final part of a longstanding ambition by The Royal Yacht Britannia Trust to reunite the three historic vessels, and visitors to The Royal Yacht Britannia can see the full Royal sailing fleet on display at the one location for the first time in history.

Bluebottle – Restored racing yacht arrives at Royal Yacht Britannia, Leith May 2021.
©Helen Pugh Photography

Bluebottle will be on the starting line for this years Edinburgh Cup in Edinburgh hosted by the Royal Forth Yacht Club. Find out more about the British Dragon Nationals and the Edinburgh event here >