The Prime Minister has insisted the new national flagship super vessel – regarded as a replacement for Royal Yacht Britannia – will enter service in four years’ time and would provide UK businesses with a new global platform. Its predecessor was decommissioned by the ruling Labour Party Government in 1997 – led by Tony Blair – but has remained a popular attraction for many tourists in Edinburgh. But Mr Johnson’s plans have come under savage attack from Stephen Payne, who has spent the past two years drawing up alternative plans for the new Royal Yacht, warning it would be too small, cost £5million a year to run and be difficult for the Royal Navy to crew.
The designer of the Queen Mary 2 liner has insisted that unlike the Prime Minister’s proposal, his own design for the Britannia would pay for itself by being a touring exhibition centre for UK businesses.
Commenting on the plans from Number 10, the expert said: “The superstructure front, akin to a 1950s Hull trawler, is great for a fair-weather ship but not such a good idea for a global voyager crossing the Atlantic, Pacific, or even rounding the tip of Africa.”
When asked whether the expensive Royal Yacht would be a suitable flagship supper vessels to represent Britain, he savagely replied: “I think it would be a very poor one.
“It would be all right for the Isle of Sark or something. I just think we could do something more ambitious.”
The designer of the Queen Mary 2 liner, which itself close £460million to build, pointed out how the proposed ship could not be regarded as a Royal Yacht.
He insisted this is because it would require an additional mast to fly the Admiralty pennant, Royal Standard and Union Flag as Britannia did.
Mr Payne said: “Britannia’s importance stemmed from her royal status. She had four suites with adjacent staff cabins and luggage storage, as well as two private lounges.
“The latest generation of royals travel with as much luggage as their forebears – the Duchess of Cambridge reportedly takes 20 cases.
“They say they’ll use a Royal Navy crew. Isn’t there a chronic manpower shortage within the service? Will the Navy look at this new vessel not with adoring eyes but with despair as it struggles to keep frontline ships at sea?
“As for financing this ship, there’s £200million to find and I’d be surprised if the running costs weren’t £5million a year.
“I don’t believe there’s the appetite from even the most ardent royal fans to support such costs.”
Mr Payne’s plans for a Royal Yacht would see it stretch to a massive 475ft in length – 62ft longer than the original HMY Britannia.
It would encompass a two-deck, 250-seat auditorium and a self-contained royal deck, as well as an onboard pub, restaurant, TV studio, museum and souvenir shop.
The design expert’s blueprint for Britannia 2 would aim to promote British trade, tourism, youth and culture throughout the world, and would be a floating “Festival of Britain” that would effectively pay for itself as its conference hall and exhibition spaces would be hired out to businesses during port visits.
Mr Payne would like the hybrid-powered royal yacht built at Harland & Wolff shipyard in Belfast and said he sent an outline of his proposals to Downing Street – but they were lost.
This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: UK Feed