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Royal Yacht Bluebottle to Feature at 2020 British Open Dragon National Championship Edinburgh Cup

26th February 2020
Bluebottle renovations by David Heritage Bluebottle renovations by David Heritage

The British Dragon Association (BDA) is proud to announce that this year’s Edinburgh Cup fleet will include the famous International Dragon Bluebottle. Hosted by the Royal Forth Yacht Club (RFYC) from 30 June to 3 July 2020 Dragon sailors from across the country and further afield will head to Edinburgh to compete for the National Championship title.

Built by Camper and Nicholson in 1948, Bluebottle was presented to HM the Queen and HRH Prince Philip as a wedding present from the Island Sailing Club of Cowes, Isle of Wight. She is the only British Dragon to have won an Olympic medal, picking up a bronze at the 1956 Melbourne Olympic Games.

The beloved keelboat spent 40 years as a sail-training vessel at the Britannia Royal Naval College and more recently was residing on the pontoon at the National Maritime Museum Cornwall, in Falmouth. Now at the age of 72 - Bluebottle is undergoing a full restoration by David Heritage Racing Yachts on the Isle of Wight in preparation to be sailed and raced in Edinburgh this coming summer.

The Edinburgh Cup has been the British Open National Championship since 1949 when it was presented by the Duke of Edinburgh to the British Dragon class. In 2020 the annual event returns to its eponymous home on the Firth of Forth, where it was last held in 1997.

Royal Yacht Bluebottle before renovationsRoyal Yacht Bluebottle before renovations

BDA Chairman Simon Barter commented on the upcoming National event for the class; “It is a privilege for the class to be able to showcase this most famous Dragon at our National Championship regatta, being held this year at its namesake venue.

“The Edinburgh Cup is a coveted trophy and attracts some of the biggest international names in Dragon racing from Olympic medallists, round the world race veterans and amateur sailors who are at the top of their sport.”

Bluebottle is part of the Royal Collection made up of 13 historic royal residences and over 1 million objects including thousands of images, ceramics, books, jewellery, art and other vessels. She joins the Royal Yacht Britannia, the Flying Fifteen Cowslip and the ocean yacht racing winner Bloodhound.

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The Dragon was designed by Johan Anker in 1929 as an entry for a competition run by the Royal Yacht Club of Gothenburg, to find a small keel-boat that could be used for simple weekend cruising among the islands and fjords of the Scandinavian seaboard. The original design had two berths and was ideally suited for cruising in his home waters of Norway. The boat quickly attracted owners and within ten years it had spread all over Europe.

The Dragon's long keel and elegant metre-boat lines remain unchanged, but today Dragons are constructed using the latest technology to make the boat durable and easy to maintain. GRP is the most popular material, but both new and old wooden boats regularly win major competitions while looking as beautiful as any craft afloat. Exotic materials are banned throughout the boat, and strict rules are applied to all areas of construction to avoid sacrificing value for a fractional increase in speed.

The key to the Dragon's enduring appeal lies in the careful development of its rig. Its well-balanced sail plan makes boat handling easy for lightweights, while a controlled process of development has produced one of the most flexible and controllable rigs of any racing boat.

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