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 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.
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 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 >