I have liked the Isle of Wight since I first set foot on it. It’s reputation as the seat of sailing was a powerful allure. The Island is a remarkable assembly of beautiful unspoiled places.


The Dragon Class has long been my favorite keel boat, both as a design and the class association. (The six metre class is a close second).

Prince Philip and Dragons!
In 1948 Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip were presented with ‘Bluebottle’, a Dragon built by Camper and Nicholson and paid for by members of the Island Sailing Club in Cowes. Today she is on loan from Prince Philip to the National Maritime Museum in Falmouth, UK, where she can be seen on the Museum pontoon during the summer months and even has the occasional sail in fine weather.

Although Prince Philip did not sail her extensively, she was sailed by a number of crews, and even won a Bronze Medal in the Melbourne Olympics of 1956. ‘Bluebottle’ then spent nearly 40 years as a sail-training vessel at Britannia Royal Naval College until 2001 when she was lent to the Museum.

To find out more about Bluebottle please visit the National Maritime Museum website.

Bluebottle; young Prince Charles is aboard – Dragon . Click Here to view large photo

‘Bluebottle’ On Display During Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week 2011
Prince Philip has most generously consented to the loan of ‘Bluebottle’ to the Solent Dragon Association for the duration of Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week 2011 and the boat will be on display at the Aberdeen Asset Management hospitality pavillion in Cowes Yacht Haven Regatta Village. Members of the public will be able to view ‘Bluebottle’ and learn about her history.

Dragon Dinner
To celebrate the Duke’s nine decades – the Solent Dragon Fleet will be hosting a Bluebottle Champagne Reception and Dinner on Sunday 7th August, at the Royal Corinthian Yacht Club – under the steady gaze of Princess Anne who’s portrait hangs in the main reception.

The dinner is open to all Dragon sailors and their guests and to those with a special connection with Prince Philip’s Dragon sailing history.

For further information and tickets for the gala dinner please contact Sommerville on


My thoughts work backwards; the most recent first. I did not suffer from Channel Fever during the closing days of this race. I would not allow myself. Upon finishing however I allowed myself the luxury of thinking about a bacon baguette at Tiffin’s in Cowes.

The finish was at the Lizard, Cornwall, 150 miles from the dock in Cowes.

We finished at about 5 o’clock in the morning and arrived in Cowes just past midnight; in time for last call. The following morning after a shower and shave, it was off to Tiffin’s where I savored just such as delight along with a large coffee.

There are more stories connected to this adventure. Some appropriate to be repeated and some that will remain on the boat.


I am back in front of my computer. Leaving behind the routine that my body had come to recognize as normal. I lost some weight, not unexpected. Now I must reset to land.

Every transatlantic race is a unique experience. This one was no different. Perhaps the most remarkable circumstance was how the Azores and Bermuda Highs dominated the Atlantic. I have never sailed the north atlantic like this. The water temperature was much warmer than expected, and the sea state was more calm than I ever would have expected. The race certainly did not meet my pre-race predictions.


Our start on June 29th from Castle Hill in Newport and finishing off the Lizard in southwest England approximately 150 miles from the dock. Our elapsed time was 15 days 11 hours 23 minutes and 23 seconds. The stated distance of the course was 2975 miles. I know we sailed quite a lot further. Picking our route was the true challenge for the race. The winners did a better job than we. “Carina” sailed a brilliant race and was still beaten in the end by Bill Hubbard’s “Dawn Star”. Full results HERE.

“Snow Lion” is always a pleasure to sail. We had moments, I hit 22 knots once; the high of the race. We had only 3 days with runs over 200 miles. We needed more of those days if we were to win the race.