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Historic Dragon Bluebottle (DK192) buzzes to Cowes Week 2021

by Emma York 30 Jul 10:46 BST 31 July - 6 August 2021
Bluebottle - restored racing yacht arrives at Royal Yacht Britannia (l-r) Leith May Chief Executive Bob Downie, Julia Bailey, Graham Bailey, Chairman Neil Rankin, David Heritage, Charles Morton, Cathy Ogden © Helen Pugh Photography

The Royal Yacht Britannia Trust is proud to support the most recent addition to its historic fleet, former Royal sailing yacht Bluebottle, taking part in Cowes Week, 2021.

The dragon class yacht recently benefitted from an eighteen-month restoration undertaken by David Heritage Racing Yachts, Isle of Wight, and wholly funded by the charitable trust. Since May, Bluebottle has been on display to the public alongside award-winning visitor attraction The Royal Yacht Britannia in Edinburgh (Best UK Attraction 2020 - Which? Magazine).

Race-worthy once again, Bluebottle will be skippered by world-class sailor Graham Bailey throughout Cowes Week - the largest sailing regatta of its kind in the world, staging 40 races a day for around 1000 boats.

Laurence Mead, Cowes Week Regatta Director: "The team at Cowes Week are delighted to be welcoming Bluebottle back to the Solent to race in one of HRH Prince Phillip, the Duke of Edinburgh's favourite sporting events. Bluebottle will be racing in the same regatta that the Duke himself raced in many times and in the extremely capable hands of Graham and Julia Bailey and is undoubtedly a favourite to win the Dragon class.

Prince Phillip was instrumental in the formation of Cowes Combined Clubs, the organisation which runs Cowes Week and it gives us huge pleasure to be welcoming his very own dragon class boat back to the event."

Built by Camper and Nicholson in 1948, 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. Before his death earlier this year, HRH Prince Philip kindly agreed that Bluebottle could be restored to race once more and was kept up to date with the progress of the 18-month long project.

The Royal Yacht Britannia Trust recently fulfilled a long-standing ambition to reunite the three sailing yachts formerly owned by The Queen and Prince Philip; Bluebottle, Bloodhound and Coweslip. All three can normally be seen beside Britannia in Edinburgh.

Bluebottle is also expected to compete for the Edinburgh Cup (so named after The Duke of Edinburgh) at the British Dragon Association's UK Championships in August, which are being hosted by the Royal Forth Yacht Club for the first time since 1997.

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