Vale - HRH The Duke of Edinburgh Prince Philip 1921 -2021
Prince Philip had a long association with the International Dragon Class.
Gifted the Dragon "Bluebottle" in 1947 by the Island Sailing Club, Cowes, as a wedding present, the Duke sailed her competitively and a young Prince Charles was later pictured on board (picture).
"Bluebottle" was sailed by the Duke together with friend and famed yachtsman Uffa Fox. A number of competitive crews put Bluebottle through her paces and in 1956 she won Bronze at the Melbourne Olympics, remaining ‘The Royal Dragon’ until 1962.
In 2001, after 40 years service as a sail training vessel, the Duke of Edinburgh loaned her to the National Maritime Museum in Cornwall, where she now resides.
However the Duke's influence on the Dragon class extended beyond sailing "Bluebottle".
As a result of the Duke's keen interest in the Dragon class, Australia's keen interest in everything British post-war and its selection as the Olympic Keelboat for the Melbourne Olympics, the class began to grow rapidly in Australia. In the late 40's and early 50's yachtsmen trying to establish the Tumlaren Class in Australia started to dessert them for the Dragon Class.
In 1950/51 champion Tumlaren yachtsman Ken Gourlay started sailing the Dragon Skatt (DKA42) Otto Tuck at St Kilda commenced sailing the Dragon Zest II (DKA43). Similarly David Low, after building Tumlaren Snowgoose, was soon sailing the Dragon Snowgoose II (DKA20).
In 1953 the Prince awarded the ‘Duke of Edinburgh Cup' to the winner of the Canadian Championship and the 'Edinburgh Cup' for the British Champion. The Prince Philip Cup was subsequently arranged as the Trophy for the Australian National Championship. The first Prince Philip Cup was presented in February 1954 after the Royal Yacht Gothic sailed into Sydney Harbour and Prince Philip presented the Trophy to Jock Sturrock sailing Kamulla DKA9.
It was reported that the Dragon class racing in Australia received its greatest filip from the presence of Prince Philip at the 1954 'Royal Regatta' (as the PPC was referred to) which took place during the Queen's 1954 Australian tour.
Prince Phillip opened the 1956 Melbourne Olympics where the Dragon competition was sailed at Royal Brighton Yacht Club and where Bluebottle won bronze with Lt-Cdr Graham Mann at the helm (minus HRH). Australia's Graham Drane in Paula (DKA30) with Jim and Brian Carolan as crew placed 5th.
In 1962 Prince Philip was in Perth for the Commonwealth Games and visited Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club to present the PPC Trophy to Victorian Jack Linacre sailing Lill. Second Place went to Tony Manford (WA) sailing Leander (see below) and 3rd was awarded to Michael Ahern (WA) sailing Maranel.
Prince Philip had a long association with many yachting bodies including the International Dragon Association, the Royal Yachting Association and the Royal Yacht Squadron in Cowes, among many others throughout the Commonwealth.
Prepared by Susan Parker from material published by RYA and in Yachts & Yachting.