Boris Johnson’s vision for new royal yacht “looks like a 1950s trawler”, says prominent naval architect
Boris Johnson’s vision of a new national flagship to replace the royal yacht looks like a “1950s fishing trawler”, according to a leading naval architect.
The Prime Minister announced last month that the £ 200million ship “will represent and promote the best of Britons” to the world for the next 30 years.
But Stephen Payne, the designer of the gigantic Queen Mary 2 ocean liner, was far from impressed with the artist’s impression of Downing Street.
He told the The telegraph of the day that it would make a “very poor” flagship for the UK and better suit Sark Island, which has 500 inhabitants.
“I just think we could do something more ambitious,” he added. “The front of the superstructure, similar to a 1950s hull trawler, is ideal for a ship in good weather, but not such a good idea for a world traveler crossing the Atlantic, the Pacific or even around the tip of Africa. “
Mr Payne also questioned whether the proposed flagship would win approval from the Royal Navy or from monarchists hoping for a replacement for the Royal Yacht Britannia.
He said: “They say they will use a crew from the Royal Navy. Isn’t there a chronic shortage of manpower within the service? Will the Navy be looking at this new one? ship not with adorable eyes but with desperation as it struggles to keep the frontline ships at sea?
“As far as financing this vessel is concerned, there is £ 200million to be found and I would be surprised if the running costs weren’t at £ 5million per year.”
Mr Payne said he sent Downing Street a preview of his proposals for a new royal yacht “Britannia 2” only to be wasted.
He envisioned a 475-foot ship with a 250-seat auditorium, an onboard pub, restaurant, TV studio, museum and gift shop.
“Britannia’s importance stems from her royal status,” Mr. Payne said. “As a Royal Yacht, Britannia had an unmistakable cachet. In addition to its elegantly designed spaces, it had the Band of the Royal Marines and a handpicked crew of over 270 people. This package was what gave it to Britannia’s reputation, prestige and distinction that attracted business aboard. “
The original Britannia was taken out of service by Tony Blair’s Labor government in 1997.