Her history is extremely well documented until 1969 when her new owner, Mr Bernard Cook, sailed his new aquisition proudly into Poole harbour where over the next two decades she remained part of the Poole and Solent yachting scene, only to lapse into neglect when her owner died. The yacht however remained in the family and was later recommissioned by his son Robert who during the nineties actively campaigned her in both UK and more recently mediterranean waters before settling in Guernsey following her appearance in the 2000 Americas Cup series held in the Solent. Bloodhound then has in many ways been fortunate to have three long term owners throughout her life, but we should now examine her ownerships in more detail.
Built in June 1936 (yard number 438) for Mr Ike Bell who sold Bloodhound’s predecessor and sister ship Foxhound after one seasons sailing to a Frenchman who “made an offer he could not refuse”. The American Mr Bell, as well as being a yacht owner / racer, he was also master of the hounds, hence the origin of his yacht’s names.
3rd Overall in her first Fastnet Entry
- 1st in Fastnet
- 1st in Channel race.
- 2nd in Benodet Race.
1945 – 1946
Before the outbreak of the war in 1939 she was sold to Hans Hamilton and Pat Eden and remained laid up in Gosport for the duration of conflict until 1945. Bloodhound managed to survive without bombing damage through this period. Her new owners wasted no time by competing in the 1946 Cowes week, (the first series since 1939) during which she was 1st in the London YC regatta, 1st in the RYS race, plus a second and third throughout the week.
She was then sold to Mr Miles Wyatt who knew about ocean racing, being the Admiral of the RORC and the actual founder of the Admiral’s Cup. He also knew that Bloodhound was nothing other than a winner. On his fist outing he gained two firsts, one second and one third in the first post war Cowes week of 1947. He also gained a first in the Southsea to Brixham race during this year. At some point, Wyatt fitted Bloodhound’s first auxillary engine. 2nd Fastnet race
1948 produced mixed results and less race entries with a retirement in the Malo – Dinard race (through broken forestay). Bloodhound then won the round the Island race, gained a second in the Morgan cup and a second in the RYS race during Cowes week.
1949 proved Wyatt’s most spectacular RORC season with the following results.
- Portsmouth – Poole. 1st.
- North Sea race 1st. (Only one of three of twenty three finishers where storm conditions prevailed).
- Finished first in Morgan cup but handicapped to second place.
- A first and a second at Cowes week.
- 1st Fastnet. (For the second time).
Wyatt continued his unprecedented success in the RORC races. 2nd Fastnet race in which storms prevailed throughout the fist two days during which Wyatt was thrown against the tiller shortly after the start off the Needles, breaking the tiller and three of his ribs. Remarkably he continued to finish the race in second place.
- 1st North Sea race
- 1st in Channel race.
- 1st St Malo -Dinard race.
- 1st Harwich – Hook race.
- 3rd Round the Island race.
“Bloodhound” set out to the USA in April 1952 to compete in the 1952 Bermuda race in which she was placed second overall before returning in time that year to join Cowes Week.
1st to complete the Fastnet course but handicapped to 12th place following modified WL rules enabling smaller boats to benefit.
When competing in the 1956 Channel race, a hurricane caused a near disaster while Bloodhound led the remaining fleet on the return leg back to the Nab tower. When the suddenly rising winds blew sail after sail out, Wyatt was forced to abandon the race so close to victory and expected his engine to get the yacht home. This subsequently failed and she was found drifting rapidly towards Selsy Bill which became a lee shore in mountainous seas dragging two anchores and all cable. A lifeboat which was attending a mayday in the area spotted her predicament and rescued the crew (which included Wyatt’s daughter) but only after accidentally ramming and holeing her starboard forward side where upon Bloodhound was left to the mercy of the seas and was feared lost. The next day however, the lifeboat found her damaged but still afloat with the passing of the hurricane and towed her to port. She was repaired and continued racing over the subsequent seasons, albeit much less frequently.
Bloodhound entered her seventh Fastnet and finished 5th overall. Out of the 41 starters only five finished in storm conditions which prevailed throughout the 115 hours causing many casualties and retirements.
It is worth re-capping that her previous six entries had produced a remarkable two wins, two seconds, a sixth and another fist which was handicapped (or corrected) to 12th place under the new rules.
Prior to this, she also gained a first in the Cowes – Dinard race!
1st Channel race.
1st Lyme Bay race. Her seventh Fastnet entry (Bell and then Wyatt had entered her in every single one since 1937) was to prove her last. Unfortunately, Wyatt decided to retire because of light winds!
Calshot-Cherbourg entry (Crewed by Thames Yacht Club). Not placed in a quiet RORC year.
She remained under Wyatt’s ownership until 1962 when she was sold to HM Queen Elizabeth and Prince Phillip in January 1962.
The Duke had retired his Camper and Nicholson Dragon “Bluebottle” after successfuly competing her since the war end and required a larger yacht that could accommodate his family and follow Brittania to his favorite cruising grounds of Scotland, and be available for day sailing. The yacht needed be competitive as the Prince now wanted to race in the larger classes. Bluebottle’s sailing master, Lt Cdr Micheal Jones found and shortlisted two suitable yachts, and the royal fate almost fell upon Bloodhound’s arch rival “Latifa” (built by William Fife), but despite the substantial alterations needed to fit the royal owners’ requirements, Bloodhound was chosen, allegedly because she was both cheaper and possessed tiller steering, the latter of which was a primary specification. Her winning record also probably helped tip the balance in her favour over “Latifa”.
The top naval architect of the day, John Illingworth, was drafted in to re-invent Bloodhound as not suprisingly the twenty five year old yacht had lost her competive edge against the likes of Myth of Malham (a revolutionary light displacement design by Ilingworth). Significantly however, Illingworth was confident that merely a rig modification would keep Bloodhound competitive. In fact, yacht design had progressed little since turn of the century with the long keel still king. If Illingsworth’s various “Myth” classes had evolved away from the long keel, few other designers had yet to follow suite. Illingworth’s rig modifactions were vindicated.
New aluminium masts replaced the original spruce spars with a shortened main. The weight saving and height gave less top hamper and improved performance at all points of sail. Prince Phillip was delighted with his first competion with one first and two seconds during the 1962 Cowes week. His crew included such luminaries as Uffa Fox as crew members.
The 1962 refit was undertaken by the original builders, Camper and Nicholson under Illingsworth’s supervision. The original cockpit plan was altered slightly but the instantly recognisable doghouse (added earlier in favour of the companionway hatch) was retained. It should be stressed that no hull modifications whatsoever had or have to date been made. Major internal surgury was also completed during this refit with the royal’s requiring four sleeping cabins over the original single double and crew / sails forepeak. They also specified a larger galley and saloon and an extra toilet. In his book, Illingworth indicates that at this point the original 30’s interior was gutted and subsequently lost.
It is worth noting that the yacht was not used soley for royal occupation. Indeed Phillip decreed that when not aboard, the yacht should be lent to yacht clubs around the country to enable youngsters to go to sea for a small charge, and it is this fact that has endeared many peoples hearts towards Bloodhound. It is not difficult to find someone today who day sailed or made a passage on her during this period of royal ownership whilst on loan to the sailing clubs. A retained and permanent crew of three (captained by no other than Francis Drake!) ran the yacht and covered an incredible forty five thousand miles at sea during the eight year royal ownership period, whilst carrying voluntary crew through all weathers. She was in effect a part time training ship, not just a royal yacht, and it is significant that her structural strength and sound design has enabled this role as well as remaining competitive during race events.
Whilst comtempory details remain sketchy during this period, April & May copies of Yachting Monthly show Bloodhounds full R.O.R.C racing program with a win in the Lyme Bay Race in May, crewed by Parkstone Yacht Club. We know that this active program represents a typical season under her royal ownership.
1969 – 2004
In 1969, she was sold on, never to be replaced by the royals, although Prince Phillip continued to actively race on friends yachts, notably with Aisher Owen. When Robert Cook bought Bloodhound, her life became more subdued, whilst lying on her swinging mooring in Poole Harbour.
Sold to Robert Cook and retired from racing until Robert Cook junior rekindled her spirit at the classic yacht regattas between the mid eighties and 2001, often skippered by the late and great Sir Peter Blake, an Admirals cup winner. Some of Blake’s successes included five successive Champagne Mumm-Hermes cup wins at the Royal yacht Squadron and an entry in the 2001 150th Americas Cup Jubilee (Retired). Robert also made numerous Mediteranean trips during which passages Bloodhound always cosseted her crew, even during a Channel Isles to Poole delivery trip in 2004 during a full gale!