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$308M yacht design for King Charles revealed

The yacht has been described as a "celebration of British society and technology in a vessel designed for the people but fit for a king."

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Their 125-meter yacht had been in the running for the $308M project, which would have seen it set sail by 2025. (Photo by Vitruvius Yachts via SWNS)

By Dean Murray via SWNS

A design for King Charles' superyacht has been unveiled.

London-based firm Vitruvius Yachts has revealed their previously confidential proposal for the Royal Yacht Britannia.

When the British government invited concepts for a new National Flagship vessel, the company was shortlisted as a finalist in the design competition.

Their 125-meter yacht had been in the running for the £250m ($308 million USD) project, which would have seen it set sail by 2025.

The new Britannia concept is described as a "celebration of British society and technology in a vessel designed for the people but fit for a king."

However, it was reported in October 2022 that Chancellor Jeremy Hunt was planning to scrap plans for a new yacht as part of a package of spending cuts.

The plan had been championed by Boris Johnson when he was prime minister but faced criticism from MPs at a time when there are other priorities for spending.

The previous Royal Yacht Britannia had been used by the Royal Family since its commissioning in 1954.

U.S. Presidents who had boarded included Dwight D. Eisenhower, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton.

Famously, Prince Charles and Diana, Princess of Wales, took their honeymoon cruise on Britannia in 1981.

The design was created by London-based firm Vitruvius Yachts for King Charles.
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The new design comes from Team Festival, a collaboration between Vitruvius Yachts, world-renowned architecture practice Zaha Hadid Architects, and aluminum ship and yacht specialists Ocean.

Vitruvius says key features include a focus on sustainable power and propulsion. The highly efficient hull design minimizes fuel consumption and maximizes opportunities for emerging green technologies to create a zero-carbon vessel.

The interior is based on recycled and recyclable materials, and a flexible deck and interior design can switch between an exhibition showcase or floating embassy with ease, "suitable for everyone from VVIPs to schoolchildren and the disabled."

Spearheaded by Vitrivius Yachts’ Philippe Briand – one of the world’s leading yacht designers and a naval architect for both sail and motor yachts – Team FestivAl’s National Flagship explain their project draws on several cultural and societal cues, "from innovation and sustainability to accessibility and inclusion, to represent the very best of British in design, manufacturing, craftsmanship and diversity."

The firm says: "Indeed, in developing the design, the essence of Britishness takes center stage through a Union flag ribbon motif in the side and plan view elevations, while reflecting the multicultural society that defines the UK today. "

Philippe Briand comments: "To design a vessel – a flagship – that will become a benchmark in sustainability as well as demonstrating British excellence and heritage for current and future generations, while also being a symbol of inclusion and diversity, was an enormous challenge that kept me awake at night.

"The nature and intensity of the project kept me focused but also filled me with pride, not just in the design process itself but for what the flagship stands for."

The sleek exterior profile includes a distinctive central slice through the superstructure that takes the form of a hoop of glass, flooding the interior with light and providing a key design element that, combined with a distinct LED-lit style line in the profile, hints at the ribbon pattern in the Union flag. This is reinforced in the design when viewed from above.

The vessel features an energy-agnostic propulsion system based on efficient pod drives, which can also enable geostationary position-keeping without damaging sensitive seabeds with an anchor.

Power for the pod drives would come from a large battery bank that could be charged via shore power or onboard generators, initially using renewable diesel/biofuel but allowing for alternative energy sources now and in the future, including green hydrogen fuel cells and onboard-harvested solar and wind energy.

Philippe Briand adds: "The flagship collaboration was an incredible opportunity to act as an architect realizing the design of a project that was hugely complex, because it aims to represent not the tastes of one person but the essence of an entire nation.

"That is actually way more difficult than designing for even the most demanding individual."

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