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History Shipwrecks

Britannia HMY

REF NR: 258

This superb racing First  Class Cutter  was initially commissioned in 1891 from George Lennox Watson by Prince Albert Edward  the famous Scottish designer , he designed the Prince a superb vessel that was deemed to be one of the best  ever racing yacht of her time.  Her launch on the 20th April 1893 was very much appreciated by the Prince as it was already a week in advance of the competition entry for the America’s cup that of the Valkyrie II .

In the first year of operation the Britannia had notched up from forty three starts, thirty three wins, in the second season she went one better and won all of the seven races held that year on the French Riviera and went on in 1893 to thrash the America’s Cup defender the Vigilant in her home port. 

In 1897 saw a lull in the big yacht racing and the Britannia was used by Sir Thomas Lipton in challenging the Shamrock I. In the 1920’s the now King George V promoted the revival of the “Big Class” yacht and had the Britannia refitted for racing. She was by now one of the older vessels in her class however with regular updates and refits she remained a very successful performer. Later in 1932 she was converted to a J-Class with a Bermuda rig, this however although still very impressive she was not as fast as her more modern contemporaries. 

J-Class - Rigg


The Britannia had her last race in 1935 of Cowes , this wonderful  Yacht had over 231 race wins to her name and another 129 flags, proving her to be one of the all-time wonders of the racing yacht world.   

After the death of King George V his yacht the now famous vessel Britannia HMY was sent on her final voyage and towed out with stripped spars and fittings as requested by the late King to be scuttled a few miles off St Catherine’s Point. 

This marked the end of big yacht racing as it had now become far too expensive and thus over the next 80 + years the much smaller 12-metre yachts Class racers became the norm.