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His Majesty’s Yacht Britannia was a gaff-rigged cutter built in 1893 for Commodore Albert Edward, Prince of Wales. It served him and his son, King George V, a long racing career.
After the Prince of Wales’ nephew Kaiser Wilhelm II acquired the racing cutter Thistle in 1891, her Scottish designer George Lennox Watson received a commission from Edward VII for a sailing yacht in 1892. He designed His Royal Highness’ Yacht Britannia to the “Length And Sail Area Rule” as a First Class cutter and had her built alongside his America’s Cup challenger Valkyrie II at the D & W Henderson Yard on the River Clyde. She was launched on April 20th, 1893, a week ahead of Valkyrie II.
By the end of her first year’s racing, the Britannia had scored thirty-three wins from forty-three starts. In her second season, she won all seven races for the big class yachts on the French Riviera, and then beat the 1893 America’s Cup defender Vigilant in home waters.
King George V’s dying wish was for his beloved yacht to follow him to the grave. On 10 July 1936, after the Britannia had been stripped of her spars and fittings, her hull was towed out to St Catherine Deep near the Isle of Wight, and she was sunk by HMS Winchester.
|Size||76 cm L x 95 cm Hgh|
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We could have been forgiven for thinking for a moment that the impossible was possible, without really believing in it, but no: Intrepid was not chosen to defend the Cup in 1974. But the venerable old wooden Twelve very nearly beat the new aluminium Twelve Meter to defend the Cup for the third time in succession ! But there was no miracle.
Courageous, the new Sparkman & Stephens aluminium Twelve finally beat Intrepid, the old S & S wooden Twelve, considered to be the fastest of her era.
Dave Pedrick was closely involved with the design of the new candidate. Courageous only took shape after numerous tank tests. The line of the boat were less radical than those of Intrepid or Valiant: Courageous seemed more conventional in her design and nearer the lineage of Vim or Columbia. In fact, the new boat was a splendid compromise, with her full, soft lines, and she was still quite light.
In 1974, Courageous easily beat the Australian challenger Southern Cross. This was Olin Stephens’ fifth success in the Cup since 1958.