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Sailing Yacht Britannia

In April 1893, some 20 years into G. L. Watson ’s trail blazing career, the royal sailing yacht  Britannia was launched. The prestige associated with this order from the Price of Wales, Britannia’s revolutionary design, enduring beauty, speed and a 43 year career in the ownerships of King Edward VII and King George V have all contributed to the Britannia legend.

The Royal sailing yacht Britannia racing Career

Britannia was built at D&W Henderson’s shipyard on the Clyde alongside her near sister, the America’s Cup challenger Valkyrie II . Her spoon bow was controversial and Watson was initially condemned for experimenting on such a prestigious commission, but it was not long before her admirable qualities were recognised and the perfection of hull form became known as the ‘ Britannia ideal’.

In the great season of 1893, Britannia acted as a trial horse for America’s Cup challenger Valkyrie II and saw off the challenge of the Herreshoff designed Navahoe to dominate racing in British waters. The following year when America’s Cup victor Vigilant raced in Britain in what was mooted as a re-run of the America’s Cup races, Britannia dominated; upholding British racing prowess after the loss of Valkyrie II .

The introduction of a new rating rule in 1896 gave Watson the opportunity to out-design Britannia , but the arrival of the Kaiser’s Meteor II killed off both the King’s pleasure and his prospects of winning. In 1898 Edward VII sold Britannia , but soon regretted it and by 1902 she was back in his ownership and once again became a regular sight on the British regatta circuit. Inherited by George V in 1910, Britannia was updated and again raced successfully in the British Big Class. The lead provided by George V in fitting out Britannia for the 1920 season re-established the Big Class in the aftermath of World War I and paved the way for the likes of Cambria , Astra and the J Class.

Conversion to J-Class

Following Watson’s early death in 1904, all leading British yacht designers were involved in the regular updating of the royal sailing yacht  Britannia . In 1930 it was Charles E. Nicholson ’s turn and he designed what remains the world’s tallest wooden mast for her. In 1931 Britannia emerged rejuvenated to race competitively with the J Class against which she would add a further 15 firsts to her racing record.

Britannia’s last season was the summer of 1935, when the American J Class Yankee visited British waters, in what was the last great flourishing of Big Class racing. Then with the King’s health failing she was withdrawn from racing and on 10th July 1936 her great career came to an end. As per the dying wishes of George V, she was towed out to St. Catherine’s Deep off the Isle of Wight and scuttled.

Although not a sailor, King Edward VIII fully appreciated the affection that surrounded Britannia and after she was scuttled, he commanded that G. L. Watson & Co. be presented with a memento of what remains the most successful racing yacht of all time. This souvenir of Britannia is held in the G.L. Watson Archive together with the original drawings.

G.L. Watson & Co. Ltd. 20-23 Woodside Place, Glasgow G3 7QL, Scotland

Tel: +44 (141) 501 0480

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The Story Behind the Royal Family's Yacht, Britannia

The ship hosted four royal honeymoons in its 44 years of service.

Hmy Britannia

Often referred to as the last royal yacht, the Britannia was decommissioned in 1997, and despite some efforts , there are no signs of a new one in the near future. Though its seafaring days may be behind it (the ship now serves as a tourist attraction in Edinburgh, Scotland), the Britannia remains an important artifact and a peek behind the curtain of royal life—it even garnered a prominent place in the fifth season of The Crown . Below, a few of its most notable moments throughout history.

It was the first royal yacht designed for ocean travel.

The ship was built by John Brown & Co at the same shipyard in Clydebank, Scotland in the same location the famous ocean liners the Queen Elizabeth and Queen Mary were constructed. With 12,000 horsepower, the ship could travel at a maximum 22.5 knots (approximately 25 miles per hour), ideal for ocean-going diplomacy. Prior to its launch in 1953, the royal family used ships from the Royal Navy or even passenger liners for the overseas portions of the royal tour.

In its 44 years of service, the HMY Britannia traveled around 1.1 million miles.

Royal Yacht State Room

It was commissioned just two days before the death of King George VI.

The King was already in failing health by the time the designs for the HMY Britannia were submitted, and the hope was that traveling might help alleviate some of his symptoms. However, just two days after the John Brown shipyard in Clydebank, Scotland received the order the King passed away on February 6, 1952.

It would take just over a year for the ship to be completed, during which time its name remained a secret—it wasn't announced until the ship's official launch in April of 1953, less than two months before the Queen's coronation . Elizabeth cracked a bottle of English wine (in the post-war era, champagne was considered too extravagant for the launch of a ship) and announced, "I name this ship Britannia … I wish success to her and all who sail in her."

It was created to double as a hospital.

When Britannia was first envisioned, less than a decade after the end of World War II, the designers sought to make it as functional as possible, crafting a space that could be converted from an ocean-going royal residence to a seafaring hospital during any possible future wartime. The main veranda was laid out and re-enforced so that it could support a helicopter landing and the laundry was made much larger than on a standard naval vessel to accommodate the potential patients. Though the ship was never actually put to that purpose, it was pressed into service on a rescue mission to help evacuate European nationals from South Yemen in 1986.

The ship was home to a lot of history.

Long before it became a floating museum, the Britannia had an eye for history. The gold and white binnacle housed on the ship's veranda deck was originally part of the HMY Royal George , a royal yacht that served Queen Victoria . Likewise, some of the bed linens used by Queen Elizabeth aboard the vessel were originally made for Victoria's bed for one of the previous royal yachts.

Britannia's steering wheel was lifted from her namesake, the racing yacht HMY Britannia , built in 1893 for King Edward VII .

Royal Yacht Dining Room

It was redesigned to be less opulent.

Despite the sense of luxury that the term "royal yacht" inspires, the Queen and Prince Philip were actually concerned when they began overseeing the project in 1952 that the original interior design plans by the design firm McInnes Gardner & Partners were too lavish for a country still recovering from the war. The interiors were ultimately redesigned by Sir Hugh Casson and received very minimal updates throughout her 44 years of service.

But it still had homey touches—by royal standards.

Suffice to say that even low-key royal living is a fairly high class. In addition to the 56-seat State Dining Room, which hosted luminaries including Winston Churchill, Noel Coward, Nelson Mandela, and multiple US Presidents, the ship also sported a formal staircase where the Queen would greet guests, separate bedrooms and sitting rooms for both Her Majesty and the Duke of Edinburgh, and a phone system designed to match the unique configurations of Buckingham Palace's telephones.

BRITANNIA Queen's bedroom

In the early years of the Britannia's life it was also home to the Queen's Rolls-Royce Phantom V which was hoisted and lowered from a special garage compartment at port so that the Queen could drive her own car at each location. The space was ever so slightly too small, forcing the bumpers to be removed in order to get it into the garage without damage and then refitted when the car was removed. Ultimately Elizabeth began using cars provided for her at port instead and the garage was converted into a storage area for beer.

The steering crew couldn't see where they were going.

Life on board the HMY Britannia was far from typical for her crew. To begin with, due to the prestige and pressure of the position, the commanding officer of the royal yacht was always a flag officer, most commonly a Rear Admiral, although the first two to serve were Vice Admirals, and Britannia 's final CO was a Commodore.

While working, the crew reportedly used hand signals to communicate rather than shouting orders, in order to maintain a sense of quiet and calm for the royal residents. It was also the last ship in the royal navy where the crew members slept in hammocks, a practice that they maintained until 1973.

Hmy Britannia

Perhaps the most unusual element of the ship's functioning, though, was the steering. While on most ships, the steering wheel sits on the bridge, overlooking the front of the vessel, Britannia 's was on the deck below, in the wheelhouse, which meant that the yachtsmen who were actually doing the steering couldn't see where they were going. The crew got around this rather surprising pitfall by using voice pipes from the bridge to confer navigational orders.

It was a royal honeymoon essential.

No fewer than four royal couples celebrated their honeymoons in the HMY Britannia 's honeymoon suite (the only room onboard with a double bed.)

Princess Margaret started the tradition in 1960 for her Caribbean honeymoon with Anthony Armstrong-Jones , a quiet, formal affair where dinners were taken in full evening dress every night. Things didn't go quite as smoothly for Princess Anne on her honeymoon with Captain Mark Phillips in 1973—storms and 20-foot waves left the couple stricken with seasickness for the first week of their Caribbean cruise. Prince Charles and Princess Diana famously spent their 1981 honeymoon on a Mediterranean cruise aboard the yacht. The crew managed to duck the press so efficiently they garnered the nickname "the ghost ship." The final royal honeymoon aboard the Britannia was taken by Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson , Duchess of York in 1986 when the couple traveled around the Azores.

In memory of Diana, Princess of Wales, who was killed in an automobile accident in Paris, France on August 31, 1997.

And a family vacation spot.

In addition to her diplomatic duties on royal tours and her service as a post-wedding retreat, the Britannia was also a vessel for family vacations. During the summer months, the royal family would often take off on what became known as the Western Isles tour, cruising around the western isles of Scotland. During the trip, the family would play games and have barbecues on the islands. The stairway off of the veranda was sometimes even converted into a waterslide for the younger royals. The tour often included a stop off at the Castle of Mey to visit the Queen Mother, then making berth in Aberdeen so that the Queen could travel to her favorite summer home, Balmoral .

Queen Crying At Britannia

The Queen openly wept when HMY Britannia was decommissioned in 1997.

With so many memories around the yacht, it's not hard to understand why the decommissioning of the Britannia was upsetting for the royal family. Though plans were initially drawn up for a replacement yacht, the government ultimately determined not to fund the effort. After the Queen officially took her leave of it in 1997, the ship was placed in the port of Leith in Scotland where it serves as a floating museum and events venue . All of the clocks on board remain stopped at 3:01, the exact time that Her Majesty disembarked for the last time.

Zara Phillips And Mike Tindall Host Pre Wedding Party On Britannia

It was used for a reception for Zara Phillips before her wedding.

Though it's no longer used as their private vessel, the Britannia 's connection to the royal family didn't end in 1997. In 2011 on the night before her wedding, the Queen's oldest granddaughter Zara Phillips contracted the ship for a reception. Though her grandmother wasn't in attendance Zara celebrated her upcoming marriage to Mike Tindall onboard along with her mother and her cousins Prince Harry, Prince William and Kate, Princess Eugenie, and Princess Beatrice.

preview for The Crown: Season 5 - Official Trailer (Netflix)

Lauren Hubbard is a freelance writer and Town & Country contributor who covers beauty, shopping, entertainment, travel, home decor, wine, and cocktails.

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What Happened to the Royal Yacht Britannia?

By Elise Taylor

Image may contain Transportation Vehicle Yacht Boat Person Officer Captain Flag Clothing Hat and People

The Crown season five begins and ends with the same plot point: The Royal Yacht Britannia. The vessel serves as a—fairly obvious—metaphor in the first episode, where Imelda Staunton’s Queen Elizabeth describes it as “a floating, seagoing version of me.” The problem with her metaphorical marine self? It’s in desperate need of multi-million dollar repairs. 

She asks British prime minister John Major, played by Jonny Lee Miller, whether the government might be able to help foot the bill. He, in turn, asks if the royal family might front the cost, given the public pushback they both might receive if such a seemingly extravagant project was approved. In the final episode of the season (a note to the reader: spoilers will follow), Tony Blair and Queen Elizabeth agree to decommission the yacht after Prince Charles’s trip to Hong Kong.

The Crown is known for taking much of its plot material from real-life events. In the case of the Royal Yacht Britannia, though—what really happened to the boat, and how much political controversy did it really cause?

To go back to the beginning, King George VI first commissioned the royal yacht that would become the Britannia in 1952. It was an exciting project, as the previous official boat had belonged to Queen Victoria, and was rarely used. (Queen Victoria, for one, did not like the water and never sailed.) Then, during the early 20th century, England was mostly at war, and making a massive, slow-sailing luxury ship would be a massive security risk in international waters. 

The Royal Yacht Britannia, George decided, should both be an extravagant vessel and a functional one, able to double as a hospital if times of war were to arise again. In 1953, the newly-crowned Queen Elizabeth christened the ship with a bottle of wine, as champagne was still seen as too extravagant post-war. In 1954, she set sail for the first time.

The Royal Yacht fulfilled many functions, most of them leisurely. Over the years, the boat hosted four royal honeymoons, including that of Princess Diana and Prince Charles, as well as many family vacations. In 1969, after his investiture as the Prince of Wales, Charles hosted an intimate party on board to celebrate. (Newspapers at the time wrote that he danced with his dear friend Lucia Santa Cruz —the very person who eventually introduced him to Camilla Parker Bowles.)

Image may contain Person Diana Princess of Wales Charles Prince of Wales Formal Wear Tie Accessories Adult and Suit

It also served as a grandiose mode of transport for many royal visits. In 1959, for example, Britannia sailed to Chicago to celebrate the recently-opened St. Lawrence seaway in Canada, and President Eisenhower joined her on board. Twenty years later, she sailed to Abu Dhabi for her first official visit to the United Arab Emirates, where she held a grand dinner for Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan.

And although Queen Elizabeth's reign was not during wartime, the royal yacht did execute a humanitarian mission, as King George VI had always planned for: In 1986, it sailed to Aden to evacuate over 1,000 refugees from the civil war in Yemen.

The New York Times once described the 412-foot Britannia as “an ordinary yacht what Buckingham Palace is to the house next door.” It wasn’t an exaggeration—Britannia was essentially a floating palace. It had a drawing room, a dining room, two sitting rooms, as well as galleys and cabins for all the officers. The stateroom interiors were just as ornate as any other royal estate, while the bedrooms—which all had their own bathrooms and dressing rooms—were designed to feel surprisingly personal. 

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“Within the royal apartments, however, the regal elegance gives way to the homey, patched elbow chic of an English country house, with flowered chintz slipcovers, family photographs, and rattan settees, interspersed with the occasional relic of Empire—shark's teeth from the Solomon Islands here, a golden urn commemorating Nelson's victory at Trafalgar there,” the New York Times found when it boarded the ship in 1976.

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The cost of running Britannia was always an issue. Politicians raised questions about its financial value as far back as 1954, when two MPs lobbied for an investigation on why the yacht’s refurbishment would cost 5.8 million pounds, accusing the royal family of waste and extravagance. A government committee later dismissed the accusations. In 1994, the Conservative government ruled the yacht too costly to refurbish, when repairs came in at a whopping 17 million, but then briefly walked back on their decision a few years later. 

However, when Tony Blair’s Labour government won the election, and the new government once again declined to pay for Britannia. Britannia’s final journey was to far-flung Hong Kong in 1997, as Prince Charles turned over the British colony back to the Chinese at the end of Britain's 99-year lease. When they finally decommissioned the boat that summer, the queen cried—one of the few times she’s shown emotion in public. The boat had logged over one million nautical miles.

Today, Britannia sits permanently docked in Edinburgh. Visitors can take tours of its grand galleys, or even rent it out for events. Yet, despite its retirement, the concept of the royal yacht lives on: In 2021, Boris Johnson floated the idea of a new boat. However, a mere eight days ago, Rishi Sunak has scrapped the project—showing that, even now, the concept remains a controversial one.

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King George V's Britannia and The Royal Yacht Victoria and Albert

Britannia, the Prince of Wales’s First Class Cutter

Britannia was ordered in 1892 by the Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII) and designed by George Lennox Watson.

Britannia was launched on 20 April 1893 and joined a fleet of first class cutters that was growing fast as others followed the royal lead. In a highly competitive fleet, Britannia soon set about achieving the race results which would eventually establish her as the most successful racing yacht of all time.

By the end of her first year’s racing, Britannia had scored thirty-three wins from forty-three starts. In her second season, she won all seven races for the first class yachts on the French Riviera, and then beat the 1893 America’s Cup defender Vigilant in home waters

Despite a lull in big yacht racing after 1897, Britannia served as a trial horse for Sir Thomas Lipton‘s first America’s Cup challenger Shamrock.

After the death of King Edward VII in 1910 it was inherited by King George V.

In 1920, King George V triggered the revival of the “Big class” by announcing that he would refit Britannia for racing. Although Britannia was the oldest yacht in the circuit, regular updates to her rig kept her a most successful racer throughout the 1920s. In 1931 she was converted to the J class with a Bermuda rig. Her last race was at Cowes in 1935. During her racing career she had won 231 races.

King George V died in 1936 and his dying wish was for his beloved yacht to follow him to the grave. On 10 July 1936, after Britannia had been stripped of her spars and fittings, her hull was towed out to St Catherine’s Deep off the Isle of Wight where she was sunk by HMS Winchester .

Britannia’s 51-foot (16 m) long gaff, the king’s chair, tiller, some mast hoops, blocks and rigging, anchor chain and clock are preserved in the Sir Max Aitken Museum in Cowes High Street and the remains of her spinnaker boom are at Carisbrooke Castle, also on the Isle of Wight.

The Royal Yacht Victoria & Albert II

HMY Victoria and Albert (II) a 360-foot steamer  launched 16 January 1855, was a  royal yacht  of the  sovereign  of the  United Kingdom  until 1900, owned and operated by the  Royal Navy . Of 2,470  tons , the yacht could make 15 knots (28 km/h; 17 mph) on her paddles. There were 240 crew. From 1893 to 1896 Rear Admiral  John Denison commanded the royal yacht. Victoria and Albert was scrapped in about 1904.

king george v's yacht britannia

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KING GEORGE Vs ROYAL BRITANNIA

king george v's yacht britannia

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The Kings Yacht – HMY Britannia

The Kings Yacht – Britannia’s Story

The Kings Yacht – HMY Britannia — 2 Comments

Video by K1 Britannia, the structures which will leverage the Britannia replica for charity around the world: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OtQRGBWaqy4&feature=youtu.be&nohtml5=False#t=20.334535

If you wish to see her original gaff spar it is hanging, impressively, from the ceiling in the Duke of York pub in West Cowes. It was made by Fifes of Fairlie who made most of the large UK spars for these leviathans. It is, I guess, forty feet long and two feet in diameter. The spar was made from first turning a log into a constant diameter and then halving it along its length. The two halves were then hollowed out until the wall thickness was about two and a half inches. One half was turned end for end and the two halves were then glued together to make a stable, strong and light spar. This would have been used with rings to support the vertical weight of the sail but as strikes began to appear, wire mousings would have been added with wooden spacers and battens to allow the rings to negotiate them. These are fitted to the Duke of York’s spar but the original wire mousings have been replaced by rope. The spar was discovered hanging in a warehouse when a ceiling was removed and the now owner bought it for £2000 but if he sells it any profit will be split with the original owner 50/50. The spar was to be put in place by Claire Lallow Boatbuilders and their gang appeared one evening as dinner was being served. They passed it through an opening from a removed window and as it entered the building, it was realised that a hole would need to be punched through an existing wall and this was quickly achieved. Nobody’s dinner was interrupted, it was just another night out in Cowes.

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Historic sailing yacht replica Britannia arrives in Cowes to finish build

Scott Ward of the Britannia Trust tells me with great excitement that the sailing yacht Britannia arrived at her home port of Cowes at the weekend, having been towed all the way from from Son in Norway by the tug Svendborg Bugser A/S .

'They have done a great job and are the best tug company that we could have chosen to bring the Britannia to Cowes...it is so exciting to see everything come together this week! We still need financial support to finish the interiors, but we are going one step at a time.'

A replica of the original yacht that was build in 1893 for the then Prince of Wales HRH Albert Edward, Britannia is due to be lifted into a cradle at the Southboats Yard in Venture Quays, Cowes, where the final stages of her build will take place.

The rebirth of Britannia has been long awaited, and we at Boat International have watched her yo-yo between yards, first in Russia and then Norway, but now she has arrived home safely under the guardianship of the Britannia Trust which aims to recapture the glory of her predecessor as authentically as possible.

The history of the original Britannia

Albert Edward, Prince of Wales commissioned Scottish designer George Lennox Watson to design the 37m gaff-rigged cutter Britannia in 1892 after seeing his handiwork in the form of Kaiser Wilhelm II's racing cutter Thistle . Designed to the 'Length and Sail Area Rule' Britannia was built alongside the Prince of Wales' America's Cup challenger Valkyrie II at the D&W Henderson Yard on the River Clyde, and was launched on 20 April 1893, a week ahead of Valkyrie II . During her long yachting and racing career Britannia served both the Prince of Wales - later Edward VII - and his son, King George V, distinguishing herself with line honours in many races - winning a total of 231 and taking another 129 flags.

King George V refitted Britannia for racing in 1920, effectively reviving 'Big Class' racing which had been in a lull for some time. Despite being the oldest yacht in the circuit, Britannia remained a successful racer with regular updates to her rig. In 1931, she was converted to the J Class with a Bermuda rig and her last race was at Cowes in 1935.

On King George V's instruction that she was to follow him to the grave, Britannia was stripped of her spars and fittings and her hull was towed out to St Catherine’s Deep near the Isle of Wight, where she was scuppered on 10 July 1936. This marked the end of big yacht racing in Europe, after which the smaller and more affordable International Rule 12-Metre Class began to gain popularity.

The role of the Britannia Trust

In 1994, the only exact replica of 'The King’s Yacht' Britannia was commissioned (after due royal approval by HM the Queen) and built in Russia, but after many problems and hard negotiations with her Russian shipbuilders, was finally released to her then owner, Mr Sigurd Coates, who duly shipped her to Norway in 2009. The project then came to a standstill, until now.

Britannia and the reconstruction project have been acquired by Minicast Holdings Ltd, Gibraltar, which, upon its completion, will be donating the use of the yacht for a minimum of 10 years to the Britannia Trust to be a flagship for charity. The extraordinary story behind Britannia is expected to be a great draw, making her an ideal focus for charitable causes.

Reconstruction of the Britannia replica yacht

The hull and deck of the replica yacht Britannia are sound, but the interior needs to be completely refitted, and the engines and generators replaced. The estimated cost for the refitting of these items is projected to be about £1.5 million, and an amount of £2.3 million has been budgeted for the completion of the full reconstruction process. The reconstruction team has already approached a number of companies to assist in sponsoring the capital amount required, and is confident that the reconstruction work can be completed within budget and on time.

Mr Giuseppe Longo has agreed to project manage Britannia ’s reconstruction process. He has been at the helm of the internationally acclaimed restoration of the yacht Lulworth , and has won a number of awards for his outstanding work in this field. He will oversee and supervise the entire process from start to finish.

Stefano Faggioni of Studio Faggioni Yacht Design has been charged with the task of recreating the original interior of Britannia in the replica yacht. It will have the same 'old world' look and feel, but will be equipped with full modern amenities. The existing interior will have to be completely stripped down before the painstaking process of refitting the yacht to the exact specifications of her predecessor can begin.

The entire reconstruction process - from docking in the dry-docks to the final unveiling of the restored product - will be documented for posterity via film and digital media, and a webcam will stream live video from the dockyard so that her build progress can be followed from anywhere in the world. This will ultimately be edited into a time-lapse video of her remake from start to finish, which will serve as a visual record of history in the making, and a picture timeline will be hung up in the completed Britannia .

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George Lennox Watson BRITANNIA

king george v's yacht britannia

Sail Number: K1

Type: Big-Class (gaff-rigged cutter)

LOA: 172’0″ / 52.42m (end of bowsprit to end of boom) – LOD: 121’6″ / 37.03m – LWL: – Beam: 23’7″ / 7.18m – Draft: 15’0” / 4.57m – Yard Number: 366 – Designer: George Lennox Watson – Design Number: – Original Owner: Prince Albert Edward, Prince of Wales – Year Launched: April 20th 1893 – Built By: D&W Henderson Shipyard Ltd – Hull Material: Wood – Gross Displacement: 221 tons – Ballast: – Sail Area: 10,328 ft² / 959.5 m2 (1893) – Status: Scuttled (July 10th, 1936)

G.L. Watson & Co. Ltd. comments: https://www.glwatson.com

In April 1893, some 20 years into G. L. Watson’s trail blazing career, the royal sailing yacht Britannia was launched. The prestige associated with this order from the Price of Wales, Britannia’s revolutionary design, enduring beauty, speed and a 43 year career in the ownerships of King Edward VII and King George V have all contributed to the Britannia legend.

The Royal sailing yacht Britannia racing Career – Britannia was built at D&W Henderson’s shipyard on the Clyde alongside her near sister, the America’s Cup challenger Valkyrie II. Her spoon bow was controversial and Watson was initially condemned for experimenting on such a prestigious commission, but it was not long before her admirable qualities were recognised and the perfection of hull form became known as the ‘Britannia ideal’.

In the great season of 1893, Britannia acted as a trial horse for America’s Cup challenger Valkyrie II and saw off the challenge of the Herreshoff designed Navahoe to dominate racing in British waters. The following year when America’s Cup victor Vigilant raced in Britain in what was mooted as a re-run of the America’s Cup races, Britannia dominated; upholding British racing prowess after the loss of Valkyrie II.

king george v's yacht britannia

The introduction of a new rating rule in 1896 gave Watson the opportunity to out-design Britannia, but the arrival of the Kaiser’s Meteor II killed off both the King’s pleasure and his prospects of winning. In 1898 Edward VII sold Britannia, but soon regretted it and by 1902 she was back in his ownership and once again became a regular sight on the British regatta circuit. Inherited by George V in 1910, Britannia was updated and again raced successfully in the British Big Class. The lead provided by George V in fitting out Britannia for the 1920 season re-established the Big Class in the aftermath of World War I and paved the way for the likes of Cambria, Astra and the J Class.

Conversion to J-Class – Following Watson’s early death in 1904, all leading British yacht designers were involved in the regular updating of the royal sailing yacht Britannia. In 1930 it was Charles E. Nicholson’s turn and he designed what remains the world’s tallest wooden mast for her. In 1931 Britannia emerged rejuvenated to race competitively with the J Class against which she would add a further 15 firsts to her racing record.

Britannia’s last season was the summer of 1935, when the American J Class Yankee visited British waters, in what was the last great flourishing of Big Class racing. Then with the King’s health failing she was withdrawn from racing and on 10th July 1936 her great career came to an end. As per the dying wishes of George V, she was towed out to St. Catherine’s Deep off the Isle of Wight and scuttled.

Legacy – Although not a sailor, King Edward VIII fully appreciated the affection that surrounded Britannia and after she was scuttled, he commanded that G. L. Watson & Co. be presented with a memento of what remains the most successful racing yacht of all time. This souvenir of Britannia is held in the G.L. Watson Archive together with the original drawings.

Provenance (The Wall of Remembrance – The Owners, Crew & Notable Guest):

Owner/Guardian: (1893-1910) Prince Albert Edward, Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII) Owner/Guardian: (1910-1936) King George V., scuttled upon the wish by the King after his death. On 10 July 1936, after Britannia had been stripped of her spars and fittings, her hull was towed out to St Catherine’s Deep off the Isle of Wight where she was sunk by HMS Winchester. Britannia’s 51-foot (16 m) long gaff, the king’s chair, tiller, some mast hoops, blocks and rigging, anchor chain and clock are preserved in the Sir Max Aitken Museum in Cowes High Street and the remains of her spinnaker boom are at Carisbrooke Castle, also on the Isle of Wight.

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HMY Britannia (Royal Cutter Yacht)

His Majesty's Yacht Britannia was a gaff-rigged cutter built in 1893 for RYS Commodore Albert Edward, Prince of Wales . She served both himself and his son King George V with a long racing career.

Racing career

Predecessors and opponents, racing record, bibliography, external links.

Britannia was ordered in 1892 by the Prince of Wales and designed by George Lennox Watson . She was a near sister ship to the Watson-designed Valkyrie II which challenged for the 1893 America's Cup . Details of the commission were arranged on the Prince's behalf by William Jamieson who represented him and liaised closely with Watson. The build cost was £8,300 and like Valkyrie II , Britannia was built at the D&W Henderson shipyard in Partick on the River Clyde . With two such highly important commissions underway in the same yard, Watson delegated his protégé James Rennie Barnett to oversee both yachts.

Britannia was launched on 20 April 1893, a week ahead of Valkyrie II and joined a fleet of first class cutters that was growing fast as others followed the royal lead. In a highly competitive fleet, Britannia soon set about achieving the race results which would eventually establish her as the most successful racing yacht of all time.

By the end of her first year's racing, Britannia had scored thirty-three wins from forty-three starts. In her second season, she won all seven races for the first class yachts on the French Riviera , and then beat the 1893 America's Cup defender Vigilant in home waters. In the Mount's Bay Regatta of 28 July 1894 the Vigilant owned by Jay Gould, director of the American Cable Company, was piloted by Benjamin Nicholls of Penzance, and the Prince of Wales's yacht Britannia was piloted by Ben's brother Philip Nicholls. Britannia won by just over seven minutes. People came by train from all over the south west to watch this race. Both brothers were Trinity House pilots of Penzance.

Despite a lull in big yacht racing after 1897, Britannia served as a trial horse for Sir Thomas Lipton 's first America's Cup challenger Shamrock , and later passed on to several owners in a cruising trim with raised bulwarks. In 1920, [1] King George V triggered the revival of the "Big class" by announcing that he would refit Britannia for racing. Although Britannia was the oldest yacht in the circuit, regular updates to her rig kept her a most successful racer throughout the 1920s. In 1931, she was converted to the J class with a bermuda rig , but despite the modifications, her performance to windward declined dramatically. Her last race was at Cowes in 1935. During her racing career she had won 231 races and took another 129 flags.

King George V's dying wish was for his beloved yacht to follow him to the grave. On 10 July 1936, after Britannia had been stripped of her spars and fittings, her hull was towed out to St Catherine's Deep near the Isle of Wight , and she was sunk by HMS   Winchester , commanded by Captain W.N.T. Beckett RN.

Five known examples of Britannia ' s racing flags are preserved, one presented by Philip Hunloke to the Royal Cornwall Yacht Club , in whose regattas Britannia was often a competitor between 1894 and 1935, the second at the Royal Northern and Clyde Yacht Club at Rhu and the third at the Royal St. George Yacht Club , which held two regattas in Kingstown for the first season of the RYA linear rating rule in 1896. Britannia ' s skipper William G. Jameson had lost both races to the new Meteor II and Ailsa . The fourth known flag is held in the vexillology collection in the National Maritime Museum at Greenwich. [2] The fifth example is now on display at the K1 Britannia base in Cowes on The Isle of Wight , on loan from the family of a former member of the crew who served as Yeoman Signaller on Britannia during the 1931 - 1933 racing seasons inclusive.

Britannia's spinnaker boom, held outside at Carisbrooke Castle HMY Britannia spinnaker boom.jpg

Britannia ' s 51-foot (16   m) long gaff, the king's chair, tiller, some mast hoops, blocks and rigging, anchor chain and clock are preserved in the Sir Max Aitken Museum in Cowes High Street and the remains of her spinnaker boom are at Carisbrooke Castle , also on the Isle of Wight. The spinnaker boom was given for use as a flag pole on the keep (where it twice suffered lightning damage), and the present flagpole is a fibreglass replica. In an episode of Antiques Roadshow from Pembroke Castle, broadcast in April 2017, a relative of a crew member brought photographs, and a damask tablecloth and some cutlery from the yacht, to be appraised.

Solombala shed in Arkhangelsk, 1990s BritanniaRussiaHull1.jpg

K1 Britannia is a project to create a replica of the original vessel where K1 designates the Britannia ' s sail number when she was converted to the J class in 1931. In 1993, a syndicate headed by Norwegian Sigurd Coates purchased a stake in the Solombala shipyard in Arkhangelsk in order to create a replica of the Britannia in pinewood and laminated oak. [3] Between 2002 and 2006, the shipyard changed hands several times whilst joinery was nearing completion. In 2006, she was rechristened Царь Пётр ( Tsar Pyotr ; " Peter the Great ") and held back for NOK25,000,000 until 2009, when a Russian court ordered the hull to be launched and delivered by the shipyard to her original owner Sigurd Coates. [4] The story behind this 16-year saga was captured on film by director and producer Ann Coates and released in a documentary called The Dream of Britannia.

Having finally taken possession of the Britannia replica, Sigurd Coates berthed the hull in Son for outfitting. As this period coincided with the economic recession, work was stalled and Coates decided to sell the boat to the K1 Britannia Trust in the UK. This charity was established with the goal of completing Britannia and using her as a flagship for charitable causes around the world.

The replica Britannia was towed to the South Boats yard in East Cowes in 2012. [5] [6] The Trust invested in the scaffolding, cradle, tools and workmen required and work began on the final stages of the Britannia build. This came to a halt in 2014 when the Southboats yard was declared bankrupt.

In September 2018 the K1 Britannia Trust announced that it is to build an entirely new replica. This decision followed surveys of the existing replica and a full scope of the work still to be undertaken. The conclusion was reached that in the interests of sustainability, the new replica would have an all-aluminium hull and keel, a keel-stepped carbon mast, box boom and bowsprit, carbon continuous rigging, and a hybrid propulsion package.

Previously Prince Albert Edward had acquired the 205-ton schooner Hildegarde in 1876, which he had replaced with the 103-ton cutter Formosa (Michael E. Ratsey, 1878) in 1879, and the 216-ton schooner Aline (Benjamin Nicholson, 1860) in 1881. [7]

Britannia faced many opponents in her 43-year career. The most notable were:

  • Meteor , Valkyrie II and Valkyrie III ( America's Cup challengers by George Lennox Watson , 1887, 1893 and 1895)
  • Navahoe and Vigilant (Seawanhaka 85' yankee sloops by Nathanael Greene Herreshoff , 1893)
  • Satanita ("Length And Sail Area Rule" First Class cutter by Joseph Manston Soper, 1893)
  • Calluna and Ailsa ("Length And Sail Area Rule" First Class cutters by William Fife III , 1893 and 1894)
  • Meteor II ("Linear Rule" First Class cutter by George Lennox Watson, 1896)
  • Shamrock I (America's Cup Seawanhaka 90' challenger by William Fife III, 1899)
  • Merrymaid ("Big Class" handicap cruising cutter, Charles Ernest Nicholson , 1904, still sailing)
  • Zinita ("Big Class" Second Linear Rule 65' cutter by William Fife III, 1904)
  • Nyria ("Big Class" bermuda cutter by Charles Ernest Nicholson , 1905)
  • Brynhild II (" International Rule " 23mR cutter by Charles Ernest Nicholson , 1907)
  • White Heather II and Shamrock ("International Rule" 23mR cutters by William Fife III, 1907 and 1908)
  • Westward (A-Class schooner by Nathanael Greene Herreshoff, 1910)
  • Lulworth ("Big Class" cutter by Herbert William White, 1920, still sailing)
  • Moonbeam IV ("Big Class" handicap cruising cutter by William Fife III, 1920, still sailing)
  • Astra and Candida ("Second International Rule" 23mR bermuda cutters by Charles Ernest Nicholson , 1928 and 1929, both still sailing)
  • Cambria ("Second International Rule" 23mR bermuda cutter by William Fife III, 1928, still sailing)
  • Shamrock V , Velsheda and Endeavour I (" Universal Rule " J-Class cutters by Charles Ernest Nicholson , 1930, 1933 and 1934, all still sailing)
  • Yankee ("Universal Rule" J-Class sloop by Frank Cabot Paine, 1930)
  • ↑ "Owner's distinguishing flag, HMY Britannia" .
  • ↑ "British shipbuilders miss the boat" , BBC , 14 November 1997
  • ↑ Bård Wormdal (24 July 2009), Britannia satt fri , Norsk rikskringkasting
  • ↑ Britannia arrives back into Cowes , Cowes Harbour Commission, 6 February 2012
  • ↑ Britannia finally lifted today , Cowes Harbour Commission, 13 March 2012
  • ↑ Captain Seymour Fortescue, K.C.V.O. (1911). "King Edward VII as a yachtsman". King Edward VII as a sportsman .
  • " Britannia " . British Pathé . - 24 videos
  • Brooke Heckstall-Smith (1929). The Britannia and her Contemporaries . Methuen & Co.
  • John Irving (1937). The Kings' Britannia - The Story of a Great Ship . Seeley, Service & Co.
  • George Lennox Watson (1894), "The Evolution of Yacht Design" , Yachting Volume I , Badminton Library of Sports and Pastimes, Longmans, Green & Co, London, pp.   50–101
  • Uffa Fox (1949). Sailing, Seamanship and Yacht Construction . Charles Scribner's Sons Publishers. ISBN   978-0-486-42329-6 .
  • " Britannia model" . National Maritime Museum.
  • "Royal Harwich Yacht Club" .
  • "Yachting"   . Encyclopædia Britannica . Vol.   28 (11th   ed.). 1911.
  • "Sailing Yacht Britannia " .

First-class rater Britannia.jpg

  • G.L. Watson & Co. Ltd.

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Even the passage of time and the attentions of the flocks of seagulls who roost on her decks cannot hide the beauty of (the replica) Britannia - photo © David Henshall

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The royal faux pas at Cowes Week that foreshadowed the First World War

By Rebecca Cope

King George V at the wheel of his yacht Britannia during Cowes Regatta Week 1924

This week marks the return of Cowes Week on the Isle of Wight, an all-singing, all-dancing sailing competition attended by the great and the good of high society. The annual festivities have had a royal connection as early as its second year, 1826, when King George IV showed his approval of the event by presenting the King's Cup.

Queen Victoria, who ascended to the throne 11 years after it was established, was another notable royal patron. There is even a famous old British joke about her fondness for the island: 'Why did Queen Victoria never ride a horse?' 'Because she preferred Cowes'.

From left to right the future Edward VIII Mary of Teck Queen Alexandra Princess Mary Princess Victoria Czar Nicholas II...

By Evie Delaney

Has the future Queen of the Belgians found herself a royally good match inside Oxford university’s hallowed halls?

Yet it was two of Victoria's descendants who have perhaps the most significant history at Cowes, her son Prince Edward (future King Edward VII) and her grandson, Kaiser Wilhelm II, who regularly clashed there in the 1890s.

On his annual trip to see his British relatives, Wilhelm was reportedly loud and aggressive, with his sense of humour leaving much to be desired. Meanwhile from the other side, it has been speculated that his British relatives mocked his attire, which was not right for the summer-casual aesthetic at Cowes, with its boat shoes and striped blazers.

The kaiser and the future king tried constantly to one-up each other with bigger, faster, flashier boats, with the German nephew desperate to impress his English uncle, who of course was known for his great fleet of naval ships.

In 1896, the kaiser had the biggest yacht yet built, the 121-ft long Meteor II , which he pitted against Edward's Britannia . After it won, the future king retired from racing at Cowes.

WILLIAM II OF GERMANY on board his yacht Meteor at the Cowes Regatta 1892

In 2008, reports emerged via the descendant of a bystander that the future king had punched his nephew, after he laughed at him for losing in a race. As Henry Brasted, son of local yachting specialist William Brasted, told the Daily Gazette : 'Kaiser Bill jeered King Teddy about the result, where straight away King Teddy hit him in the mouth, knocked him down, then stormed into the club.

'My father watched all this from the beaten rowing cutter. That episode was never printed in the papers at that time - imagine the consequences if they had.'

Historian Maldwin Drummond confirmed that there was a frostiness between the two royals, telling the paper at the time: 'There was certainly a considerable amount of bad blood. They were never pals because the kaiser was always trying to be one up. This irritated the Prince of Wales at first but later on it became more annoying, and there was no love lost between them.'

Of course, by the 1910s, relations between the uncle and his nephew were truly in a bad way, with the outbreak of the First World War looming in 1914.

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  • HMY Britannia (Royal Cutter Yacht)

HMY Britannia (Royal Cutter Yacht) explained

Britannia was ordered in 1892 by the Prince of Wales and designed by George Lennox Watson . She was a near sister ship to the Watson-designed which challenged for the 1893 America's Cup . Details of the commission were arranged on the Prince's behalf by William Jamieson who represented him and liaised closely with Watson. The build cost was £8,300 and like Valkyrie II , Britannia was built at the D&W Henderson shipyard in Partick on the River Clyde . With two such highly important commissions underway in the same yard, Watson delegated his protégé James Rennie Barnett to oversee both yachts.

Predecessors and opponents

Previously Prince Albert Edward had acquired the 205-ton schooner Hildegarde in 1876, which he had replaced with the 103-ton cutter Formosa (Michael E. Ratsey, 1878) in 1879, and the 216-ton schooner Aline (Benjamin Nicholson, 1860) in 1881. [3]

Britannia faced many opponents in her 43-year career. The most notable were:

  • Meteor , Valkyrie II and Valkyrie III ( America's Cup challengers by George Lennox Watson , 1887, 1893 and 1895)
  • Navahoe and Vigilant (Seawanhaka 85' yankee sloops by Nathanael Greene Herreshoff , 1893)
  • Satanita ("Length And Sail Area Rule" First Class cutter by Joseph Manston Soper, 1893)
  • Calluna and Ailsa ("Length And Sail Area Rule" First Class cutters by William Fife III, 1893 and 1894)
  • Meteor II ("Linear Rule" First Class cutter by George Lennox Watson, 1896)
  • Shamrock I (America's Cup Seawanhaka 90' challenger by William Fife III, 1899)
  • Merrymaid ("Big Class" handicap cruising cutter, Charles Ernest Nicholson , 1904, still sailing)
  • Zinita ("Big Class" Second Linear Rule 65' cutter by William Fife III, 1904)
  • Nyria ("Big Class" bermuda cutter by Charles Ernest Nicholson , 1905)
  • Brynhild II (" International Rule " 23mR cutter by Charles Ernest Nicholson , 1907)
  • White Heather II and Shamrock ("International Rule" 23mR cutters by William Fife III, 1907 and 1908)
  • Westward (A-Class schooner by Nathanael Greene Herreshoff, 1910)
  • Lulworth ("Big Class" cutter by Herbert William White, 1920, still sailing)
  • Moonbeam IV ("Big Class" handicap cruising cutter by William Fife III, 1920, still sailing)
  • Astra and Candida ("Second International Rule" 23mR bermuda cutters by Charles Ernest Nicholson , 1928 and 1929, both still sailing)
  • Cambria ("Second International Rule" 23mR bermuda cutter by William Fife III, 1928, still sailing)
  • Shamrock V , Velsheda and Endeavour I (" Universal Rule " J-Class cutters by Charles Ernest Nicholson , 1930, 1933 and 1934, all still sailing)
  • Yankee ("Universal Rule" J-Class sloop by Frank Cabot Paine, 1930)

Racing record

  • Web site: Britannia . British Pathé. - 24 videos
  • Book: The Britannia and her Contemporaries. Brooke Heckstall-Smith. Methuen & Co. 1929.
  • Book: Sailing, Seamanship and Yacht Construction . Uffa Fox. Charles Scribner's Sons Publishers. 1949. 978-0-486-42329-6.
  • Web site: Britannia model . National Maritime Museum.
  • Web site: Royal Harwich Yacht Club .
  • Yachting. 28. 1.
  • Web site: Sailing Yacht Britannia .

External links

  • G.L. Watson & Co. Ltd.

Notes and References

  • Web site: King George to race his Britannia again . New York Times. 1920-03-10 .
  • Web site: Owner's distinguishing flag, HMY Britannia .
  • Book: King Edward VII as a sportsman . King Edward VII as a yachtsman. Captain Seymour Fortescue, K.C.V.O. . 1911.

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License . It uses material from the Wikipedia article " HMY Britannia (Royal Cutter Yacht) ".

Except where otherwise indicated, Everything.Explained.Today is © Copyright 2009-2024, A B Cryer, All Rights Reserved. Cookie policy .

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Tag: King George V

1936 photo of hmy brittannia being towed to the spot where she was scuttled.

Britannia's Last Voyage

This striking photo shows the Royal Yacht Britannia on her way to her final resting place to be sunk off the Isle of Wight on the 10th July 1936, in line with King George V’s wish following his death.

She was scuttled at night, and for this reason boat builder, columnist and general student of these things Adrian Morgan (see comments link below) believes this shot was actually taken the day before.

The Wikipedia has a good page on the original  Britannia here (there is of course a magnificent new Britannia is currently being fitted out ) and there are more posts on this weblog here .

Thanks to Daniel Simons for sending me this photograph. I should tell you that Daniel has published a new hardback book ‘Valkyrie Weather: Rowhedge and the America’s Cup’, which follow Lord Dunraven’s two America’s Cup challengers Valkyrie II (1893) and Valkyrie III (1895) from their construction through trial races, regattas, Atlantic crossings and Cup races in New York, to their final journeys to the nautical knacker’s yard using contemporary newspaper and yachting journal articles.

It’s likely to be of particular interest to those interested in Rowhedge family and local history.

Only 100 copies of ‘Valkyrie Weather’ are available, and the book is available only through eBay .

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The story of the new britannia.

Britannia replica returns to Cowes - Photo by Hamo Thornycroft www.yacht-photos.co.uk

Britannia replica returns to Cowes – photos courtesy of Hamo Thornycroft  

My thanks to Jana of the Britannia Trust for sending over these photos, and information about the building of the new Britannia .

On King George V’s death in January 1936, the old king left instructions that his famous J class racing yacht named Britannia  was to ‘follow him to the grave’.

Stripped of all her spars and fittings, the elegant old racing machine was towed out from Cowes and sunk off St Catherine’s Deep , somewhere west of Ventnor and south of the Needles , on July 1st. The remains of her hull are there to-day, rotting in a deep watery grave. Nobody is supposed to know the exact location (but see Adrian Morgan’s comment below), though fishermen from the island report having  snagged nets on her.

An exact replica of her hull was built, between 1993 and 2009 at a shipyard in the Russian port of Arkhangelsk , inside the Arctic Circle , and financed by a Norwegian magnate. Since then she has overwintered in northern Norway, until in January she was brought west and south to Cowes , and arrived on the 4th February.

The yacht has been purchased by Minicast Holdings of Gibraltar ; on completion of her fitting out, the company will donate the use of her to the Britannia Trust for a minimum of 10 years.

The Britannia Trust’s plan is to complete the building work at Cowes, including fitting new deck hardware, installing a new interior, and fitting a mast, rigging and sails, engines and generators. The aim is to create a flagship for charities aiding underprivileged children and war veterans, and to use her as a fundraising venue for charities.

The trust believes the new Britannia is ideally suited for charitable work, as it has the potential to attract thousands of people every year.

The reconstruction team is now seeking sponsors for the project, which is to be project-managed by  Giuseppe Longo , who was responsible for managing the restoration of the Lulworth.   Stefano Faggioni  is to act as chief interior designer, with the aim of making the interior of the new Britannia  look as much like the original as possible, but with  modern amenities.

The reconstruction process will be documented and filmed, and during the works a live webcam will stream continuous images from the dockyard.

king george v's yacht britannia

  • Defeated George V
  • About the RBYC

With King George V himself at the helm, BRITANNIA lost to VELSHEDA in a close finish. When the King appeared to be less than delighted, Boy OConnor ventured to ask an equerry if there was any he could make amends. The swift reply was returned … You could always emigrate. This was taken in good part.

BRITANNIA was then 41 years old, and like many of his generation the sailor King had a deep affection for this boat. When a group of yachtsmen asked whether they could present him with a new boat on his Silver Jubilee in 1935, the King refused. As long as I live he replied, I will never own any yacht other than BRITANNIA. Within a year he was dead, and afterwards BRITANNIA was towed into deep water south of the Isle of Wight and sunk according to the Kings instructions.

  • Introduction
  • Early Traditions
  • Amateurs Only Rule
  • First Olympic Gold
  • Outbreak of War
  • New One Design Class
  • Art Deco Murals
  • The War Years
  • Landing Training by RN
  • Wartime Administration
  • Early in 1941
  • St. Mathew Cup
  • Quick Revival After War
  • The Royal Connection
  • The ‘Big Boat’ Era
  • Synthetic Sails
  • Cadet Scows
  • Designers & Builders
  • Cadets Continued

king george v's yacht britannia

Yachts racing his Majesty King George V's Britannia versus Sir Thomas Sopwith's Endeavour, 1935

More from maritime.

king george v's yacht britannia

Poulet Mascotte

Sautéed chicken breasts deglazed in a white wine reduction and topped with potato slices, artichoke hearts and truffle slices.

Petits Pois, Haricots Verts

Baby Peas, French beans

Purée de Pommes de Terre

Mashed Potato

Derby Beef, Jambon, Langue, Agneau,

Bœuf, Pigeon Pie

Derby Beef (rolled silverside pickled in juniper berries and cooked with vegetables),Ham, Tongue, Lamb, Beef, Pigeon Pie

Petits pains a la mayonnaise

Small hollowed round bread-rolls filled with a mixture of shredded chicken breast bound in mayonnaise with ox tongue

and gherkin slices.

Salade de tomates et salade verte

Tomato Salad and garden Salad

Cherry Tart

king george v's yacht britannia

His Majesty's Yacht, Britannia RYS.

Menu dated 3rd August 1935

Luncheon aboard His Majesty's Yacht, Britannia RYS, for His Majesty King George V racing in the annual Cowes regatta off the Isle on Wight.

Pigeon pie, hollowed bread-rolls filled with chicken and gherkin; and a simple cherry tart were served to King George V in 1935 as he personally raced his beloved J-Class yacht, Britannia, one last time at the Cowes’ annual regatta.

Aboard the 37 metre-long yacht (121 ft), the King and his racing crew were provided racing provisions in the form of a large royal hamper that came with its own embossed menu-cards bearing the King’s gilded personal monogram (GRV) and the yacht’s name Britannia with the suffix RYS  for the Royal Yacht Squadron.

It is possible this menu is from the King’s last ever meal aboard the yacht as the vessel, which had been built for the King’s father in 1893, was retired forever at the end of this racing week.

A former royal chef to King George V, Gabriel Tschumi, remembered how the simple sounding Petits Pains a la Mayonnaise were bread rolls that were “round instead of oval”  for which “the centre of these rolls is scooped out and filled with minced chicken, tongue and gherkin and mixed in a rich mayonnaise and topped with parsley”.

Another of the King’s personal staff, Frederick Corbitt who served as the Deputy Comptroller of Supply at Buckingham Palace, recounted how the King’s favourite two events each year were Ascot and Cowes:

“These were the two weeks of the year which the King enjoyed, I think, more than any other. The same was not true of Queen Mary. Never a good sailor, she resolutely refused to accompany her husband aboard his racing yacht.

Instead she would go ashore to the Isle of Wight from the Victoria and Albert, and spend her afternoons looking at antique shops or touring the beauty spots of the island".

Corbitt went on to remember how at Cowes, “the King and Queen lived aboard their yacht, the Victoria and Albert, and the King went racing every day in his beloved sailing yacht, the Britannia”.

He remembered how “the best dessert fruit, and flowers, were sent daily to the harbor from the Royal gardens at Windsor and were brought over from Portsmouth in one of the Victoria and Albert's barges. So, too, were the King's specially made cream cheeses, which came from the Royal dairy at Windsor".

Historical video of His Majesty's Yacht, Britannia RYS, by the

K1 Britannia organisation: ( https://k1britannia.org ).

Royal Menus - British Crown.png

IMAGES

  1. King George V at the helm of his yacht Britannia posters & prints by

    king george v's yacht britannia

  2. The story behind the Royal Yacht Britannia

    king george v's yacht britannia

  3. Royal Yacht Britannia in Edinburgh celebrates most successful year ever

    king george v's yacht britannia

  4. Royal Yacht Britannia

    king george v's yacht britannia

  5. Classical Britain

    king george v's yacht britannia

  6. Le roi George V à la barre de Britannia lors de la semaine de Cowes

    king george v's yacht britannia

COMMENTS

  1. HMY Britannia (Royal Cutter Yacht)

    Design Britannia was ordered in 1892 by the Prince of Wales and designed by George Lennox Watson. She was a near sister ship to the Watson-designed Valkyrie II which challenged for the 1893 America's Cup. Details of the commission were arranged on the Prince's behalf by William Jamieson who represented him and liaised closely with Watson.

  2. Sailing Yacht Britannia

    The lead provided by George V in fitting out Britannia for the 1920 season re-established the Big Class in the aftermath of World War I and paved the way for the likes of Cambria, Astra and the J Class. Conversion to J-Class

  3. The Story Behind the Royal Family's Yacht, Britannia

    The royal family has a long history of seafaring—the first official royal yacht was the HMY Mary (HMY stands for His or Her Majesty's Yacht), gifted to Charles II by the Dutch in 1660. In fact ...

  4. HMY Britannia

    Her Majesty's Yacht Britannia is the former royal yacht of the British monarchy. She was in their service from 1954 until 1997. She was the 83rd such vessel since King Charles II acceded to the throne in 1660, and is the second royal yacht to bear the name, the first being the racing cutter built for the Prince of Wales in 1893.

  5. What Happened to the Royal Yacht Britannia?

    The Royal Yacht Britannia, George decided, should both be an extravagant vessel and a functional one, able to double as a hospital if times of war were to arise again. In 1953, the newly-crowned ...

  6. The Kings Yacht

    Share 10K views 11 years ago His Majesty King George V was a sailing and racing enthusiast. His beloved racing yacht "Britannia" was built in 1893 for Queen Victorias son Prince Albert...

  7. King George V's Britannia and The Royal Yacht Victoria and Albert

    King George V's Britannia Britannia, the Prince of Wales's First Class Cutter Britannia was launched on 20 April 1893 and joined a fleet of first class cutters that was growing fast as others followed the royal lead.

  8. K1 Britannia Yacht

    King George V's dying wish was for his beloved yacht to follow him to the grave, so upon his death in 1936, in honor of the late Kings wishes Britanna was towed out to St. Catherine's Deep near the Isle of Wight and sent to rest beneath the waves, with a simple garland of flowers placed on her stem-head.

  9. KING GEORGE Vs ROYAL BRITANNIA

    13/06/22 - Eating Out In Poole Dorset BLUE PAGES KING GEORGE Vs ROYAL BRITANNIA. View information KING GEORGE Vs ROYAL BRITANNIA.

  10. The Kings Yacht

    HMY Britannia was the personal sailing yacht of two British kings. Built in 1893 for Albert Edward, Prince of Wales, who later became King Edward VII, the Britannia would also be sailed by his son, King George V. Designed by the Scottish designer, George Lennox Watson, the yacht won 231 races and took another 129 flags over her long racing career.The Britannia followed King George V to his grave.

  11. Historic sailing yacht replica Britannia arrives in Cowes to finish build

    King George V refitted Britannia for racing in 1920, effectively reviving 'Big Class' racing which had been in a lull for some time. Despite being the oldest yacht in the circuit, Britannia remained a successful racer with regular updates to her rig. In 1931, she was converted to the J Class with a Bermuda rig and her last race was at Cowes in ...

  12. George Lennox Watson BRITANNIA

    Der König von England am Steuer seiner Yacht "Brittania" bei der Cowes - Regatta. The introduction of a new rating rule in 1896 gave Watson the opportunity to out-design Britannia, but the arrival of the Kaiser's Meteor II killed off both the King's pleasure and his prospects of winning.

  13. HMY Britannia (Royal Cutter Yacht)

    23.66 ft (7.21 m) Height. 164 ft (50 m) Draught. 15 ft (4.6 m) Sail plan. 10,328 sq ft (959.5 m 2) (1893) His Majesty's Yacht Britannia was a gaff-rigged cutter built in 1893 for RYS Commodore Albert Edward, Prince of Wales. She served both himself and his son King George V with a long racing career.

  14. The Best of Britannia

    With the world back at peace, King George V refitted Britannia and with an improved rig, she was once again a successful competitor on the coastal courses. The 1930s would see the arrival of the J Class yachts, with Britannia undergoing her final major change that saw her stepping a Bermudian rig, but her age was beginning to tell against her ...

  15. K1 Britannia

    His Majesty King George V was a sailing and racing enthusiast, His beloved racing yacht "Britannia" was built in 1893 for Queen Victorias son Prince Albert E...

  16. How King George V's visit brought some sailing success to Southend

    King George V came to Southend to race his 177ft sailing yacht, HMY Britannia, in the chief event of the first ever Southend Yachting week - a race he, perhaps not unsurprisingly, ended...

  17. "Talking Sailing" From My Archives. Of Kings and Princes

    King George V at the wheel of his yacht Britannia in 1924. ... King George V's dying wish was for his beloved yacht to follow him to the grave. On 10 July 1936, after 'Britannia' had been stripped of her spars and fittings, her hull was towed out to St Catherine's Deep near the Isle of Wight, and she was sunk by 'HMS Winchester'. ...

  18. The royal faux pas at Cowes Week that foreshadowed the First ...

    4 August 2022. King George V at the wheel of his yacht, Britannia, during Cowes Regatta Week, 1924 Universal History Archive / Universal Images Group via Getty Images. This week marks the return of Cowes Week on the Isle of Wight, an all-singing, all-dancing sailing competition attended by the great and the good of high society.

  19. HMY Britannia (Royal Cutter Yacht) explained

    His Majesty's Yacht Britannia was a gaff-rigged cutter built in 1893 for RYS Commodore Albert Edward, Prince of Wales.She served both himself and his son King George V with a long racing career. Design. Britannia was ordered in 1892 by the Prince of Wales and designed by George Lennox Watson.She was a near sister ship to the Watson-designed which challenged for the 1893 America's Cup.

  20. King George V

    On King George V's death in January 1936, the old king left instructions that his famous J class racing yacht named Britannia was to 'follow him to the grave'.

  21. Defeated George V

    BRITANNIA was then 41 years old, and like many of his generation the sailor King had a deep affection for this boat. When a group of yachtsmen asked whether they could present him with a new boat on his Silver Jubilee in 1935, the King refused. As long as I live he replied, I will never own any yacht other than BRITANNIA.

  22. Yachts racing his Majesty King George V's Britannia versus Sir Thomas

    Montague Dawson (British, 1895-1973) Yachts racing his Majesty King George V's Britannia versus Sir Thomas Sopwith's Endeavour, 1935 signed 'Montague Dawson.' (lower left) oil on canvas 24 x 36 in. (61 x 91 cm.)

  23. Royal Menus

    Aboard the 37 metre-long yacht (121 ft), the King and his racing crew were provided racing provisions in the form of a large royal hamper that came with its own embossed menu-cards bearing the King's gilded personal monogram (GRV) and the yacht's name Britannia with the suffix RYS for the Royal Yacht Squadron.