We are honoured to announce that the trustees of K1 Britannia have agreed to deliver a presentation during Cowes Classics Week on Sunday 20 July at RLYC, explaining the project to complete the re-construction of a replica of King Edward VII and King George V's famous racing yacht. The presentation, commencing at 19:00, will take around 40 minutes and is followed by an excellent value club supper prepared by our Michelin trained chef.
There are just 90 tickets available so we would urge you to book early to avoid dissappointment.
Photo: Britannia (left) and Shamrock at the start of the King's Cup Race, Cowes, Isle of Wight, 1932
Details of the supper menu and booking your ticket online can be found here ››
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.
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.