SEA BREEZES SEPTEMBER 2011 • VOL 85 • NO. 789
The news that Sir Donald Gosling has offered his superyacht, Leander, for the use of the Queen during her Diamond Jubilee celebrations in 2012 is to be welcomed but should be a source of real embarrassment to our politicians.
The former Royal Yacht, HMY Britannia is now an exhibition ship permanently moored at the Ocean Terminal in Leith, Scotland. In that role she is a huge visitor attraction, well cared for and operated by the Royal Yacht Britannia Trust. I, however, like many others felt and still do that the decision by the incoming Labour government in 1997 to decommission the vessel, was not only mean spirited, but short sighted.
Built at the famous John Brown shipyard on the Clyde, the Britannia, when launched in 1953, was named by the Queen. In her many years in service she carried the Queen and other members of the Royal Family on many foreign visits and also cruises in home waters. One of the world's best known ships, she became an iconic symbol of Britain and a powerful visual reminder of Britain's great maritime heritage.
What a morale booster for British shipbuilding if a new Royal Yacht was to be designed, ordered and built, or a suitable existing vessel sourced and customised for such a role. In these tough economic times such an outcome might be fanciful, but a commitment to a replacement for Britannia would not only be a fitting Diamond Jubilee message to the Queen, but would, I suspect, be a real morale booster for the UK as a whole.
In next month’s Sea Breezes we start a series on the incredible story of the salvage of the MSC Napoli written by Robin Middleton CBE, former SOSREP. This is one not to be missed.
Captain Hamish A C Ross (Editor)