Britannia leaves water for first time in 14 years

The Royal yacht is back on public display after returning to the water following a winter refit.

The Royal Yacht Britannia had to be hauled into dry dock on January 6, when she started taking on water owing to a leaky door seal.

Britannia was taken out of Royal service in 1997 after carrying the Royal family on 968 official voyages, although last July it played host to the pre-wedding party of the Queen’s granddaughter Zara Phillips and former England rugby captain Mike Tindall.

It was made open to the public in Edinburgh and this winter’s maintenance was the first time it has out of the water in 14 years.

The hull has been inspected, treated and repainted below the waterline.

Bob Downie, chief executive of the Royal Yacht Britannia, said: ‘It is great to have Britannia back at her permanent berth and ready to open to the public again after undertaking an enormous amount of work whilst we were closed.

‘The good news is that our insurance surveyors have given Britannia‘s hull a very clean bill of health and it should be another 20 years before having to go back into dry dock.

‘We have also taken the opportunity to repaint the masts and funnel, as well as many other jobs in the visitor route that could only be done whilst closed to the public.’

A record 278,000 people visited the attraction in 2011 and with events planned for the Queen’s diamond jubilee in 2012 that number could rise again.

Former Royal Yacht Bloodhound Saved for the Nation.

Weymouth and Portland await royal visit.