If you’ve been interested in boating for awhile, you have probably heard of the Britannia (officially a yacht of the Royal Fleet, unofficially Scotland’s best visitor attraction). And while it is the most famous floater in the fleet, known to house royal dignitaries from time to time, it is not the only boat that has been owned and loved by Britain’s elite aristocracy. A lesser known (and smaller) yacht, the Bloodhound, was once a part of this illustrious cadre of boats, and while it was subsequently sold (again and again), eventually falling into disrepair and the annals of yachting history, the once great ship that won many a race has received a face-lift and a second chance at glory, thanks to one devoted couple.
The life of this yacht began in 1936 when it was built by Camper and Nicholson’s for an American lover-of-all-things-English, Ike Bell, who named the boat Bloodhound in honor of his post as Master of the Wiltshire Hounds. The 63-foot long racing vessel served its owner well, allowing him to enjoy great success racing in both the south of England and Bermuda until 1962, when it was bought by Prince Phillip and added to the Royal Fleet. In addition to winning several races with his 12-man crew (including the famous Cowes Week regatta), the Prince sailed it alongside the Britannia on the family’s yearly cruise to the Western Isles, subsequently using the old girl to teach Prince Charles and Princess Anne to sail. The Bloodhound was not only used in the service of the crown, though. Throughout its tenure in the Royal Fleet, it was also loaned out to yachting clubs with a 3-man crew to teach other youngsters how to sail (thousands, in fact), and spread the culture that the princes and princesses of the country adored.
Then, after seven years of royal servitude, the pedigreed boat was sold back into private ownership, where it eventually fell into disrepair. It wasn’t until 2004 that the classic was once again brought to the public eye when it was found and purchased by surveyors and restorers Tony and Cindy McGrail, who subsequently spent four years and over one million pounds returning the ship to her former glory. Unfortunately, the dedicated couple was unable to keep the boat they lovingly refurbished, but they did make sure it found a good home when they sold it to the Royal Yacht Britannia Trust in 2010.
Today, the beautiful sailing vessels bobs alongside the Britannia in Edinburgh, where it is open to the public as a floating museum. Like the Britannia, the Bloodhound will be available to rent for events at certain times (during the summer months, interested parties can shell out 1,200 to 1,800 pounds a week to charter the wooden beauty and teach their own little skippers to sail). But for the majority of the year, it will serve as a testament to the love of open water, wind in the sails, and the will of man to travel the ocean blue.
To complete the story, below are some interesting photos of the main Royal Yacht still in service, named Britannia:
Daniel Lawrence is a writer for Yard Sale Search. Check out the site to find garage sales in your neck of the woods.
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