I recently came across this image of the wonderful looking ferry Dragon built with her sister Leopard at Nantes and delivered to the first of several P&O group companies, General Steam Navigation in ’67.
I presume she is seen here beside New Fresh Wharf in the Pool of London as a ‘showing the flag’ prestige visit when new. She went on to serve under Normandy ferries, being maybe ahead of her time on some routes.
She worked for P&O from the English Channel to the North Channel – latterly as Ionic Ferry. Sold to Greece in ’92 and rebuilt several times she was only scrapped in 2003. A beautifully shaped bow – she was as near to a clipper bow as you can get these days – and I am a sucker for a clipper bow, even and maybe especially on steam and motor vessels.
A vessel that has long caught my eye at Stockholm has just such style and indeed was built in 1924 by Krupp for a Texan billionaire, and was claimed to be the largest private yacht of its day. With a 240-foot (73 m) steel-and-nickel hull she was originally named Vanadis. Then she was apparently gifted to Woolworth heiress Barbara Hutton. After several more owners during the war she served in the RN as HMS Troubadour before being sold to Norway in 1948. The reason she appears here is that in the ‘50s and ‘60s she was used on ferry routes in various parts of Scandinavia with a spell as a seaman’s school-ship in Norway.
Saved from scrapping in the early ‘80s she has become an iconic part of the Stockholm scene earning her keep as a hotel and restaurant ship. Her stern bears the name Lady Hutton recalling her exclusive origins while her bow has the name Mälardrottningen (Queen of Lake Mälaren - which is also an affectionate nick-name for the city of Stockholm).