An exact replica of the famous racing J Class Royal Yacht Britannia is back in Cowes . . . the stripped hull arrived on Saturday, 4 February at Southboats Yard in Venture Quays, East Cowes. The original yacht was scuttled following King George V’s death in January 1936. He’d left instructions that she was to ‘follow him to the grave’. Stripped of all her spars and fittings, her hull was towed out from Cowes and sunk off St Catherine’s Deep, somewhere west of Ventnor and south of the Needles, on July 1 1936.
His Majesty’s Yacht “Britannia” was a gaff-rigged cutter built in 1893 for Commodore Albert Edward, Prince of Wales. She served him and his son, King George V, with a long yachting and racing career. In 1931, she was converted to the J-Class with a Bermuda rig and her last race was at Cowes in 1935. During her racing career she had won 231 races and took another 129 flags.
In 1994, the only exact replica of the Britannia was commissioned (after due approval by the Queen) and built in Russia, and 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 completion of the project came to a standstill until now.The Britannia and the rebuilding 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 wholly used for charity.
As you might expect, after Artic winters and battered by storms on her way here, the hull looks the worse for wear. The plan: for her completion to commence, and for the Trust that now owns her, to invest in fitting-in new deck ware, restoring her interior, her mast, rigging and sails, back to what they were in the Classic Days of Cowes Yachting.
The goal: for her to become a flagship for charity, reaching out to underprivileged children, war veterans and to be used as a fundraising venue for upcoming charities in the UK and across the globe. Head of the Trust, Scott Ward, says “The hull needs a good brush up and tender care, but we hope to introduce her to you all in a few weeks, once she is out of the water and looking her best”.And to get upto date with all the J Class news Dave Pitman, the class secretary of the magnificent J Class, will be at Lee on Solent SC on 23 February to talk about the history of the J boats and the plans for them sailing in the Solent this summer.
This is a rare opportunity to hear how the class has developed since 1996 and see exclusive pictures of these unique craft. Numbers are limited so early booking is recommended. All would be welcome, but please book to avoid disappointment. That is Thursday 23 February starting at 19:00 hrs, bar open at 18:00. Cost: Talk only £3.00 Chilli or Mushroom Stroganoff available by pre booking at £5.00 (available at 18.30). Contact email@example.com to book.
Visit the Britannia K1 website for more details on progress in Cowes.
7 February 2012 17:47