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Her Majesty's Yacht Britannia (1954-1997) (ex RN)

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Her Majesty's Yacht Britannia (1954-1997) (ex RN)

Postby SKB » 24 May 2015, 17:56

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Introduction
Her Majesty's Yacht Britannia is the former royal yacht of the British monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, in service from 1954 to 1997. She was the 83rd such vessel since the restoration of King Charles II in 1660. She is the second royal yacht to bear the name, the first being the famous racing cutter built for The Prince of Wales in 1893. She is now a five-star visitor attraction and evening events venue permanently berthed at Ocean Terminal, Leith, Edinburgh, Scotland.


Construction
HMY Britannia was built at the shipyard of John Brown & Co. Ltd in Clydebank, West Dunbartonshire, Great Britain, being launched by Queen Elizabeth II on 16 April 1953, and commissioned on 11 January 1954.

The ship was designed with three masts, a 133-foot (41 m) foremast, a 139-foot (42 m) mainmast, and a 118-foot (36 m) mizzenmast. The top aerial on the foremast and the top 20 feet (6.1 m) of the mainmast were hinged, to allow the ship to pass under bridges.

Britannia was designed to be converted into a hospital ship in time of war, although this capability was never used. In the event of nuclear war, it was intended that the Queen would take refuge aboard Britannia along the north-west coast of Scotland.


Crew
The crew of Royal Yachtsmen were volunteers from the general service of the Royal Navy. Officers were appointed for up to two years, while the "yachtsmen" were drafted as volunteers and after 365 days' service could be admitted to "The Permanent Royal Yacht Service" (upon volunteering and subsequently being accepted) as Royal Yachtsmen and served until they chose to leave the Royal Yacht Service or were dismissed for medical or disciplinary reasons. As a result, some served for 20 years or more. The ship also carried a platoon of Royal Marines when members of the Royal Family were on board.


History
Britannia sailed on her maiden voyage from Portsmouth to Grand Harbour, Malta, departing 14 April and arriving 22 April 1954. She carried Princess Anne and Prince Charles to Malta in order for them to meet the Queen and Prince Philip in Tobruk at the end of the royal couple's Commonwealth Tour. The Queen and Prince Philip embarked on Britannia for the first time in Tobruk on 1 May 1954.

On 20 July 1959, Britannia sailed the newly opened Saint Lawrence Seaway en route to Chicago, where she docked, making the Queen the first Canadian monarch to visit the city. US President Dwight D. Eisenhower was aboard Britannia for part of this cruise; Presidents Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton also were later welcomed aboard the Yacht. Charles and Diana, the Prince and Princess of Wales, took their honeymoon cruise aboard Britannia in 1981. The ship also evacuated over 1,000 refugees from the civil war in Aden in 1986.

HMY Britannia, when on royal duties, was escorted by a Royal Navy warship. The yacht was a regular sight at Cowes Week in early August and, usually, for the remainder of the month, was home to the Queen and her family for an annual cruise around the islands off the west coast of Scotland (known as the "Western Isles tour").

According to journalist Andrew Marr in his book The Real Elizabeth (2012), at least as of 1965, the British government planned for the Royal Yacht to serve as the Queen's refuge in the event of nuclear war. Peter Hennessy wrote, "It was her floating nuclear bunker... it would lurk in the sea lochs on the north-west coast of Scotland; the mountains would shield it from the Soviet radar and at night it would go quietly from one sea loch to another."

During her career as Royal Yacht, Britannia conveyed the Queen, other members of the royal family, and various dignitaries on 696 foreign visits and 272 visits in British waters. In this time Britannia steamed 1,087,623 nautical miles (2,014,278 km).


Replacement
In 1997, John Major's Conservative government committed itself to replacing the Royal Yacht if re-elected, while the Labour Party declined to disclose its plans for the vessel. Following Labour's victory on 1 May 1997 it was announced that the vessel would be retired and no replacement would be built. The Conservative government argued that the cost of the vessel was justified by its role in foreign policy and promoting British interests abroad, particularly through conferences held by British Invisibles. When cancelling the replacement of the vessel, the new Labour government argued that the expenditure could not be justified given the other pressures on the defence budget (from which it would be funded and maintained). Proposals for the construction of a new royal yacht, perhaps financed through a loan or by the Sovereign's own funds, have since made little headway.

The Royal Yacht's last foreign mission was to convey the last governor of Hong Kong, Chris Patten (now The Lord Patten of Barnes), and the Prince of Wales away from Hong Kong after its handover to the People's Republic of China on 1 July 1997. Britannia was decommissioned on 11 December 1997.


Retirement
There was some controversy over the siting of the ship, with some arguing that she would be better moored on the Clyde, where she was built, than in Edinburgh, with which the yacht had few links. However, her positioning in Leith coincided with a redevelopment of the harbour area, and the advent of Scottish devolution.

The Queen was reported to have wept at the decommissioning ceremony in Portsmouth, which she attended along with most of the senior members of the Royal Family.

Listed as part of the National Historic Fleet, Britannia is now permanently moored as a five-star visitor attraction in the historic Port of Leith, Edinburgh, Scotland, and is cared for by the Royal Yacht Britannia Trust, a registered Scottish charity.

Entrance to the yacht is via the Ocean Terminal development, and over 300,000 people visit the Royal Yacht Britannia every year. She is also one of the UK's top evening events venues. On 18 May 2006, the Swiss-born Hollywood actress and first Bond girl, Ursula Andress, celebrated her 70th birthday on board the Royal Yacht. On 29 July 2011, a drinks reception was held on board Britannia for Queen Elizabeth's granddaughter Zara Phillips and her husband Mike Tindall to celebrate their upcoming wedding. The trustees of The Royal Yacht Britannia, a charitable trust, made the yacht available for the occasion.

A retired Rolls-Royce Phantom V state car, owned by the royal family in the 1960s, is on display in the purpose-built garage aboard Britannia. Other highlights of the tour of the five decks that are open to the public include the Queen's Bedroom, the only bedroom of a living monarchy which can be viewed (behind a glass wall), and the State Dining and Drawing Rooms, which hosted grand receptions for kings and queens, presidents and prime ministers throughout the world.


Name: HMY Britannia
Owner: The Royal Yacht Britannia Trust
Operator: The Royal Yacht Britannia Trust
Ordered: 5 February 1952
Builder: John Brown & Company, Clydebank, Scotland
Yard number: 691
Laid down: 16 June 1952
Launched: 16 April 1953
Commissioned: 11 January 1954
Decommissioned: 11 December 1997
Status: Museum ship open to the public, Leith, Edinburgh, Scotland
Tonnage: 5,769 GT
Length: 412 ft (126 m)
Beam: 55 ft (17 m)
Height: 123 ft (37 m) to top of mainmast
Draught: 15 ft (4.6 m)
Propulsion: Steam turbine, 12,000 hp (8,900 kW)
Speed: 21.5 knots (39.8 km/h; 24.7 mph) maximum speed
Range: 2,400 nautical miles (4,400 km)
Capacity: 250 guests
Troops: 1 platoon of Royal Marines
Crew: 21 officers, 250 Royal Yachtsmen
Secondary Role: Hospital Ship (Never used as such)

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Re: HMY Britannia

Postby SKB » 24 May 2015, 17:59

A 1995 BBC Documentary about HMY Britannia.

1/6


2/6


3/6


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5/6


6/6

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Re: HMY Britannia

Postby marktigger » 24 May 2015, 18:15

her war role was offically as a hospital ship doubt she would have been fit for that role.

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Re: HMY Britannia

Postby Pseudo » 24 May 2015, 19:24

marktigger wrote:her war role was offically as a hospital ship doubt she would have been fit for that role.

I might be wrong, but I suspect that she was designed to be converted into a hospital ship in much the same way as QE was designed to be converted to CATOBAR.

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Re: HMY Britannia (1954-1997) (RN)

Postby GibMariner » 12 Jan 2016, 17:47

The Royal Yacht Britannia has been judged as Scotland's best visitor attraction every year for the past decade.
And this year the yacht received a record score of 96%, the highest mark ever awarded to a visitor attraction in Scotland.

It was rated by national tourism organisation VisitScotland.

With 308,906 visitors in 2015, the Royal Yacht last week announced 2015 as its best since its opening year in 1999.

Almost five million people from around the world have visited The Queen's former yacht since it opened to visitors in Edinburgh in 1998.

http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-scotland-edi ... e-35292801

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Re: HMY Britannia (1954-1997) (RN)

Postby rec » 12 Jan 2016, 17:51

The Royal Yacht was a good emans of soft power, it would be good to build a new one, might be a more useful job creation scheme than a pair of extra OPVs with no helicopter facilities.

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Re: HMY Britannia (1954-1997) (RN)

Postby shark bait » 12 Jan 2016, 19:06

it would be good to build another..... providing the monarchy pays for it. Queeny makes a profit each year so she could afford it.
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Re: HMY Britannia (1954-1997) (RN)

Postby Engaging Strategy » 12 Jan 2016, 19:10

Or, as some have suggested in the past, get a consortium of UK firms to part fund a new ship. Use it as a fantastic means of advertising the "best of British" technology with the Royal seal of quality front and centre. Sits well with the soft power mission of such a ship.

At the Royal yacht squadron review last year all the crowned heads of Europe turned up in their gorgeous yachts and (I believe it was) Prince Phillip was hosted aboard a boay repair ship. It was embarrassingly shambolic.
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Re: HMY Britannia (1954-1997) (RN)

Postby Pseudo » 12 Jan 2016, 19:30

You know how Cameron is getting a Voyager converted for government use? Maybe we could convert a T26 for the Royal family to use. :evil:

Seriously though, Britannia definitely should have been replaced back in the late 90's. Though I think the Queen's increasing fragility, the somewhat nebulous nature of it's role in promoting British foreign policy and business, and the fact that it's been gone for the best part of twenty years make it a difficult sell now.

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Re: HMY Britannia (1954-1997) (RN)

Postby JayDee » 12 Jan 2016, 19:32

The royal family get to use the voyager too i wonder who has priority.

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Re: Her Majesty's Yacht Britannia (1954-1997) (RN)

Postby GibMariner » 07 Feb 2016, 09:08

Royal Yacht Britannia the latest creation of Angus man who can’t let go of Lego
An Angus fisherman has launched a giant 11-foot replica of the Royal Yacht Britannia – made from Lego.

The impressive model was created using 40,000 bricks and will go on public display at the attraction’s visitor centre at Leith today.

It took Jim McDonough five weeks to construct the Queen’s former ship on his dining table in his home near Arbroath.

No glue was used in his creation, meaning everything can be taken apart.

The 1:37 scale model is just one of many the 51-year-old has built, but he admitted he was proud that his first professional commission was the famous ship.

His model includes an onboard Phantom Rolls-Royce in its garage and a white baby grand piano in the royal deck tea room.

He said: “It was an honour to be asked to build the Royal Yacht Britannia, and it’s one of the most exciting projects I’ve ever undertaken and, being able to refer to the original plans, kindly supplied by Britannia, allowed me to produce a perfect replica of Her Majesty’s famous ship.”


Read more: http://www.thecourier.co.uk/news/local/ ... o-1.923149
More photos here: http://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/w ... -1-4022051

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Re: Her Majesty's Yacht Britannia (1954-1997) (RN)

Postby ArmChairCivvy » 07 Feb 2016, 09:38

Thanks for those details on the crew, at the beginning. Went to see the Queen's visit to Dartmouth in 1972.

Others did, too, so only saw her hat. But had a good game of darts with the crew in the local pub. Very pleasant fellows.

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Re: Her Majesty's Yacht Britannia (1954-1997) (RN)

Postby Old RN » 07 Feb 2016, 11:37

Good grief, that brings back memories. The Queen came to Dartmouth in 1972 to attend the Lord High Admiral's parade, as that was her RN title at the time (I think she has passed it to the Duke of Edinburgh since then?). I was one of the Officer Cadets passing out from our time at Dartmouth and (besides being one of the people firing the gun salute when she arrived) I remember the Divisions being formed up for inspection at about 0800 for a pre parade inspection by the Divisional officers, followed by a pre parade inspection by the First Lieutenant of Dartmouth, followed by a pre parade inspection by ............, until we went on the Parade Ground for the Queen's inspection at 1200. :D

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Re: Her Majesty's Yacht Britannia (1954-1997) (RN)

Postby bobp » 19 Sep 2016, 20:46

http://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/712166 ... rade-deals

Perhaps a new use could be found for our Foreign Aid budget.

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Re: Her Majesty's Yacht Britannia (1954-1997) (RN)

Postby arfah » 19 Sep 2016, 21:17

..............
-<>-<>-<>-

Why this forum is pish!

1: Ineffective moderators
2: Too many fantasists ruining dedicated equipment threads with notions of what gun/mortar/artillery/missiles the equipment should have because it makes their panties moist.

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Re: Her Majesty's Yacht Britannia (1954-1997) (RN)

Postby R686 » 20 Sep 2016, 03:35

You could always convert a T23 :lol:

https://laststandonzombieisland.com/201 ... uperyacht/


http://megayachtnews.com/2016/09/supery ... urg-video/

Imagine what could be done with T45 in a few years time

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Re: Her Majesty's Yacht Britannia (1954-1997) (ex RN)

Postby SKB » 01 Apr 2018, 02:18

Britannia to be reactivated
Image
(SKB News)
Officials are working on secret plans to reactivate the former Royal Yacht Britannia to secure new post-Brexit trade agreements, sources can reveal.

The ship will ferry key negotiators as the UK tries to rebuild its ties with non-EU countries, particularly the Commonwealth, after Britain leaves the European Union.

The Royal Yacht Britannia was controversially decommissioned by Tony Blair’s government in 1997.

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Re: Her Majesty's Yacht Britannia (1954-1997) (ex RN)

Postby Scimitar54 » 01 Apr 2018, 09:57

Very poor taste (as an April Fool)

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Re: Her Majesty's Yacht Britannia (1954-1997) (ex RN)

Postby R686 » 01 Apr 2018, 11:49

Scimitar54 wrote:Very poor taste (as an April Fool)


Why I had a chuckle :thumbup: :thumbup:

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Re: Her Majesty's Yacht Britannia (1954-1997) (ex RN)

Postby Tempest414 » 01 Apr 2018, 12:11

Jokes aside a new royal yacht paid for by UK business could work well for a post bexit UK

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Re: Her Majesty's Yacht Britannia (1954-1997) (ex RN)

Postby Jake1992 » 01 Apr 2018, 12:24

Why can't the funding come from serval departments, say the foreign office, the DFID and the Department for international trade ?

Purchase and run cost spilt between the 3 would be very cheap for each department and it could play s roll for all 3

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Re: Her Majesty's Yacht Britannia (1954-1997) (ex RN)

Postby shark bait » 03 Apr 2018, 09:37

DFID? That has nothing to do with a Royal Yacht.

If the Private sector want to pay for one, and pay for ex-RN to crew it great, but no way can the MOD or any government departments justify the spending.
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Re: Her Majesty's Yacht Britannia (1954-1997) (ex RN)

Postby Jake1992 » 03 Apr 2018, 11:11

shark bait wrote:DFID? That has nothing to do with a Royal Yacht.

If the Private sector want to pay for one, and pay for ex-RN to crew it great, but no way can the MOD or any government departments justify the spending.


It could be used as a hospital ship just like the last one was.

As for no government department paying for it why not ? It would be used to drum up trade deals and diplotmatic relations so why shouldn't they ?

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Re: Her Majesty's Yacht Britannia (1954-1997) (ex RN)

Postby Pseudo » 03 Apr 2018, 17:13

Jake1992 wrote:
shark bait wrote:DFID? That has nothing to do with a Royal Yacht.

If the Private sector want to pay for one, and pay for ex-RN to crew it great, but no way can the MOD or any government departments justify the spending.


It could be used as a hospital ship just like the last one was.

As for no government department paying for it why not ? It would be used to drum up trade deals and diplotmatic relations so why shouldn't they ?

Your case for a Royal Yacht seems to be that it'd act as a floating embassy. I'd have to wonder what could be done in a floating embassy that would justify the expenditure that can't be done in the 129 British Embassies and Consulates worldwide?

As for your hospital ship idea, I'd be all for the idea of DFID commissioning one or two hospital ships that would be operated by the RFA and could be leased by the RN if necessary. They'd be a very visible symbol of the work DFID does and hugely effective in projecting soft power. Far more so than a Royal Yacht would be and a far better and more practical way to spend money.

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Re: Her Majesty's Yacht Britannia (1954-1997) (ex RN)

Postby Jake1992 » 03 Apr 2018, 17:37

Pseudo wrote:
Jake1992 wrote:
shark bait wrote:DFID? That has nothing to do with a Royal Yacht.

If the Private sector want to pay for one, and pay for ex-RN to crew it great, but no way can the MOD or any government departments justify the spending.


It could be used as a hospital ship just like the last one was.

As for no government department paying for it why not ? It would be used to drum up trade deals and diplotmatic relations so why shouldn't they ?

Your case for a Royal Yacht seems to be that it'd act as a floating embassy. I'd have to wonder what could be done in a floating embassy that would justify the expenditure that can't be done in the 129 British Embassies and Consulates worldwide?

As for your hospital ship idea, I'd be all for the idea of DFID commissioning one or two hospital ships that would be operated by the RFA and could be leased by the RN if necessary. They'd be a very visible symbol of the work DFID does and hugely effective in projecting soft power. Far more so than a Royal Yacht would be and a far better and more practical way to spend money.


Well to be fair the old royal yacht was pritty much a floating embassy, but the main thing the new one would be is a float PR simble for the UK as a whole, helping to push UK trade interests and forgian policy.

As today RN vessels are used to host a woah respective party's around the world a new Royal Yatch would do it much better, with the added benefit of a secondary hospital capabilty all for what £150m split between several different departments.

Do agree with DFID surplying a couple of dedicated hospital ships


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