Britannia heading for her Watery Grave

During the production of G.L. Watson – The Art and Science of Yacht Design, we remained slaves to our maxim of never using a previously published image if at all possible.

It was very hard work, but we always knew it was worth the trouble; after all, such a book had to be designed and built with at least the same kind of care and attention to detail its subject imposed upon himself, his staff and his builders.

Previously unpublished images will always be coming out the woodwork, either by discovery, sleuthing, or because their owners have been biding their time for a proper platform for them.

Today, the email sailing newsletter Scuttlebutt Europe published some very poignant, previously unseen snapshots of G.L. Watson’s masterpiece, Britannia, launching for the last time from Marvin’s Yard, East Cowes in 1936, and of her gear being sold off to the hammer of a very dapper auctioneer.

[Update 17 November 2014: Sadly the original set of photos is no longer available at the Scuttlebutt gallery archive; the link above is now to the one remaining image at Yachting Monthy’s website which should be clicked to enlarge.]

They were taken by the harbour master of the time who was tasked with escorting the Royal cutter out of the Medina River as she was towed to her watery grave.

Despite the ungainly temporary tiller, she looks great, still holding onto her exquisite sheerline despite the years of hard sailing, latterly with the huge “Marconi” mast required for her rating as a J-Class. She’s even shining in the sunlight.

~ Iain McAllister ~

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About Peggy Bawn Press

496pg biography of Scottish yacht designer, George Lennox Watson (1851-1904). Significant book on the history of yacht design & the development of modern yachting. Beautifully illustrated. Many photographs previously unpublished.
This entry was posted in Big Class, boatyards, Britannia, G.L. Watson, photography and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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