Bluebird of Chelsea
|Class and type:||motor yacht|
|Length:||52 ft (16 m)|
|Beam:||11 ft (3.4 m)|
|Draught:||4 ft 3 in (1.30 m)|
Bluebird of Chelsea, formerly Bluebird, is a motor yacht originally built for Sir Malcolm Campbell.
Ownership by Sir Malcolm Campbell
Campbell sold her after three years, as his motor-racing experience made him wary of the fire risks of petrol engines aboard. He was also highly superstitious and believed a gypsy warning that, "his death would come from the water". In hindsight, this may have applied more to his son Donald.
Dunkirk and World War II
She had three further owners before being requisitioned by the Admiralty at the outbreak of World War II. Soon she was on her way with the flotilla of "little ships" to Dunkirk. Not without two false starts though, first due to engine trouble and then over-crowding. Her return from Dunkirk was even more fraught: after first refilling the fuel tanks with water, then fouling her screws on debris, she returned under tow.
Her history after this is sketchy, although she was renamed Blue Finch and found herself on the Atlantic coast of the South of France.
In 1984 the Chelsea art dealer Martin Summers discovered her in France and decided to restore her. Some initial work in France made her apparently fit for a single-engined Channel crossing, but once again another engine failure meant that she returned from France under tow.
Two 1/12 scale models of Bluebird of Chelsea were featured in a magazine cover article.
A double-sided 1/24 scale plan feature by David Metcalf was included in a Model Boats magazine series in 1989.
- "National Historic Ships: Bluebird of Chelsea". National Maritime Museum, Greenwich. Archived from the original on 20 March 2008.
- "Dunkirk Little Ship: Blue Bird, now Bluebird of Chelsea". 1999. Archived from the original on 20 February 2008.
- "Thames Traditional Boat Rally". 2002. photograph
- "Bluebird – A Dream of a Boat in Six Acts (after Maeterlinck)"; author Martin Summers, Collectors Books 1990
- "Bluebird of Chelsea". Marine Modelling International. January 2008.