THE third and final yacht of Prince Phillip’s sailing yachts has joined a historic fleet at the Royal Yacht Britannia in Edinburgh and will be on display for the first time in history to the public.
The Dragon class Bluebottle will join the sailboat Coweslip and the 63ft racing yacht Bloodhound, which were all formerly owned by the late The Duke of Edinburgh.
Arriving in Edinburgh today Bluebottle is the final part of a longstanding ambition by the Royal Yacht Britannia Trust to get the iconic yachts together.
After eighteen months of restoration, David Heritage, 59, managed to get the yacht in perfect condition ready for the Edinburgh cup on the River Forth later in the year.
David Heritage of David Heritage racing yachts said: “It has been a great honour to do this project and we are finally in the last stage of it.
“It has been a once in a lifetime project to do and I am extremely glad everyone is pleased with the result, just as my team in the isle of white are also very pleased with it.
“COVID-19 obviously got in the way so a year went by before the royal yacht contacted us again and asked us to go back and look at the yacht as it was safe to do so.
“I am really look to see it race in September it will be great to see.”
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 White.
The colour of the Bluebottle was modelled off the same colour as the Royal Yacht Britannia.
The Royal Yacht Britannia’s Chief Executive Bob Downie said: “To finally have all these three royal sailing yachts on public display alongside Britannia completes a historic maritime jigsaw we started twelve years ago.
“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 pf other Dragon Class yachts, both here in the River Forthand at Regattas elsewhere in the UK.”
Racing the Bluebottle in the Edinburgh cup in September will be world renowned Husband and wife team Juila and Graham Bailey.
Together the Baileys have won 4 Edinburgh cups and have represented Great Britain in the Admirals cup.
Graham Bailey said: “We are very honoured to race Bluebottle later in the year after the months of hard work it took to renovate the yacht.
“At seventy-four 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.
“After months of lockdown it is exciting to get back out on the water and have some form of normality with the public being able to view the boats as well as us racing them.
“This opportunity definitely stands out in me and my wife’s career in racing as Prince Phillip had such a great connection with these three boats.
“I really think this is something that he would of loved to witness.”
In 1956 the Bluebottle was loaned to the British sailing team competing at the Melbourne Olympics.
The yacht achieved a bronze medal making it the only British Dragon to have done so.