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.