A renewed effort to encourage the building of a replacement ‘Royal Yacht’ has intensified with the support of yachtsman and retired advertising entrepreneur, Ian Maiden. Replacing the Britannia, which was decommissioned in 1997 is a controversial subject and has split the Government and public opinion.
Financing a new yacht with public money is currently frowned upon. This is despite the fact that the yacht’s prime purpose would be that of a Commonwealth Flagship, touring the world in support of Commonwealth trade and enterprise, rather than a holiday hideaway for British Royals.
Ian Maiden has sided with the enthusiasts, in pointing out that a Commonwealth Flagship would bring huge benefits to Commonwealth countries, in helping to trade and exhibit their exports, and for training and education. Usage of the yacht by the Royal Family would add prestige, but would take second place to the boat’s main focus.
Mr Maiden has recently launched a website to illustrate the concept and to encourage industrial giants and individuals to pledge their financial support to the project.
The new yacht has been elegantly styled with something of the feel of Britannia, from the drawing board of the late yacht designer, Jon Bannenberg with additional work by consultants BCTQ of Southampton. The yacht is 127m long and would be crewed by 80 Commonwealth members.
MP Julian Lewis has added his support to the project. “The concept of a new Commonwealth Flagship is both visionary and practical,” he said.
The Commonwealth Flagship project is not without its rivals. A second proposal is on the table, a Square Rigged Sail Training Yacht with an educational role. In response, Ian Maiden explained, “This is being championed by the Daily Mail, but 180 students, plus 20 scientists and a crew of 65 might make the vessel feel a little crowded when the Royal party is on board.”
The Commonwealth Flagship would be 84th in a long line of Royal Yachts that stretches back to 1660 and would take its place beside Britannia to hold a proud place in British maritime history.
The Commonwealth Flagship website invites opinions and support. “I am now inviting someone to pick up the baton and run with it and carry the project forward,” concluded Maiden.
For further information visit www.commonwealthflagship.com