back to article Bill for HMS Vanity Gin Palace swells by £50m in two months

The cost of the UK's new "national flagship" to replace the Royal Yacht Britannia has already ballooned by £50m in just two months, it was revealed yesterday. At the end of May, Prime Minister Boris Johnson outlined details for a new oceangoing gin palace to schmooze VIPs, negotiate trade deals, and fly the flag for UK Plc. …

  1. Sgt_Oddball Silver badge

    So fully expect this ship in a bottle

    To have its costs well north of £500 million, do a couple of tours then get flogged for less than £100 million because of some catastrophic engineering oversight... Or it crashes into a sandbank.

    1. Chris 15

      hold on

      You're expecting this white elephant to even get as far as being launched before the whole thing is scrapped or sold off to someone competent enough to actual finish and use this thing? I do admire your optimism...

      1. Androgynous Cupboard Silver badge

        Re: hold on

        Not sure why the downvotes. If history tells us anything it’s that half the budget will got to Capita before the project is axed.

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: hold on

          "Not sure why the downvotes."

          That's the flag-wavers who think Britannia still rules the waves.

          1. JimboSmith Silver badge

            Re: hold on

            That's the flag-wavers who think Britannia still rules the waves.

            I've posted some of this before but....Britannia was only retired when her pre and post nuclear strike role was deemed unnecessary and costs became very high. Cold war planners in the UK realised very important facts relatively early on*. Namely that:

            One large bunker like the bunker under Box in Wiltshire was not H bomb proof,

            The missiles were getting more accurate,

            One strike could take out a lot of people in one go.

            And the Soviets almost certainly knew where the bunkers were.

            So a new Top Secret plan was hatched to send groups consisting of civil servants, senior trade reprentatives/negotiators (UK Supply Agency), ministers etc. to dispersed locations in the period of tension before a likely conflict. This was codenamed PYTHON and a very select few people knew of the existence of it. Officially the plan was still go underground in Wiltshire. Britannia was to host a Python group which wouldn't have included the royals.

            These groups would have met up after the bombing had stopped and tried to resupply the country from other nations. If you look up a bloke called Mike Kenner @wellbright on Twitter you can read Gov documents uncovered by Mike you can also read more at by Dr Steve Fox

            The Calmac ferries which were constructed for the Secretary of State for Scotland were designed as floating bunkers

            *and faster than the US planners.

            1. jake Silver badge

              Re: hold on

              I wasn't talking about the yacht, I was talking about the concept.

              As a side-note, are they planning on keeping HMY capable of moving under her own power? It'd be a shame to let the ol' gal rot away as an immobile museum piece ...

            2. Pascal Monett Silver badge

              Re: a very select few people knew of the existence of it

              Plus you, Putin and half the Internet.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: hold on

            Flag-wavers is the polite, slightly outdated term. The modern, technical term is flag-shaggers.

            1. jake Silver badge

              Re: hold on

              Mea culpa. I'll do better next time.

        2. CountCadaver

          Re: hold on

          More like BAe (and watch how costs go into orbit and capabilities are fitted for but not with or just forgotten about entirely *cough* carriers and CATOBAR operation *cough*....given they pretty much build the rest of the UK's surface ships, well unless it gets built in South Korea....

  2. chivo243 Silver badge

    Pretty sure I know who will pay...

    Sorry to all you in the UK. You'll be chipping in your fair share, willing or not.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Pretty sure I know who will pay...

      I really don't understand the downvotes. Didn't know the reg had so many Bojo the clown lovers. And let's be honest, Bojo's had many lovers (the thought really does make you taste bile, doesn't it?)

  3. Timbo Bronze badge

    Just another BoJo Vanity project...

    The thing about our esteemed govt, including BoJo and his lackeys, is that they have an unerring habit of coming up with vanity projects in the hope of winning votes.

    And no doubt, this little scheme, projected to be built in the UK, will no doubt be awarded to a shipbuilding area where there are lots of floating voters and they will be grateful to have jobs thanks to this scheme...and no doubt will vote for BoJo at the next election, due around 2024, by coincidence (as by then the build will be well underway).

    One assumes that this project will not be put out for tender to a South Korean or even Chinese company, who could no doubt build it at a higher specification and for half the price - as of course that won't win them any votes.

    1. JimboSmith Silver badge

      Re: Just another BoJo Vanity project...

      Talk to Jeremy Hunt about vanity projects. When I worked in the media Mr Hunt was in charge of the media. Somebody from the DCMS told me he was hoping to leave his mark on every department he worked at. So he was fishing around for something he would be known for after he left the DCMS. The result was Local TV which everybody said there wouldn't be enough advertising money or audience to support. Not daunted he pinched money from the BBC budget to fund the launches. Sadly when that money ran out the predictions came true.

      When talking to a doctor at a party I asked what he thought of Jeremy Hunt. He said he'd rather not answer at the party as there were children present and he'd have to swear profusely.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Just another BoJo Vanity project...

        Jeremy? He's terrific, Hunt!

        (Best said out loud…)

      2. trevorde Silver badge

        Re: Just another BoJo Vanity project...

        Worked on an NHS project when Jeremy Hunt was the Health Minister. Everyone called him 'Mike'.

  4. Eclectic Man Silver badge

    Boaty McBoatface

    The Royal Research Ship 'Sir David Attenborough', aka 'Boaty McBoatface' only cost £200 million.

    And it has a helipad, diving hatch and a remote controlled submarine.

    So my question is, with all the arctic gear, and high tech research equipment, and comms gear for navigating in uncharted and dangerous waters, why would a new Royal yacht have to cost more? (OK so inflation is one answer.)

    I doubt that Her Britannic Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, will personally get much use out of it. It is more for Charles, and William. WTF is it going to be used for? Boris has an unfortunate history of supporting 'big ticket'/'vanity' projects that fail - the London Garden Bridge, suggested by Joanna Lumley was strongly supported by Boris - and the cable car across the Thames by Greenwich has days when literally nobody uses it (and that was before any Covid-19 lockdowns). Boris's repainted royal jet has seen little military use after the paint job and has had very little use by him too*.

    Sadly I cannot help feeling that the money for a new Royal Yacht could be far better spend elsewhere (and not just on my pension fund, although all contributions are welcome).


    And he's got another one:

    Even Lewis Hamilton manages with just the one private jet.

    1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

      Re: Boaty McBoatface

      I am sure the RRS 'Sir David Attenborough' does not have wallpaper costing £700 a roll nor furniture designed by Boris and Carrie's favourite designer.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Boaty McBoatface

      I'm going to politely disagree with your suggestion that it's "more for Charles and William". I strongly suspect that the biggest users will be the Foreign Office and assorted ministers. And if the Foreign Minister decides to take his mistress along as an "advisor", then she won't have to go through airport security or be checked into a luxury hotel. She can hide on the boat well away from prying photographers.

  5. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

    Scrap value

    The cruise industry has been scrapping quite a few ships due to lack of demand - why doesn't the government pickup one for scrap value and spend £50 million doing it up - that will still be less than the write off cost of Boris' garden bridge folly


    1. Warm Braw Silver badge

      Re: Scrap value

      Apologies for linking to the Sun, but it seems that half the navy might be out of action. Maybe we could fix a couple of destroyers and give them a gaudy paint job.

      1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

        Re: Scrap value

        Let's hope the Royal Navy don't get down to 1 carrier anytime soon at the hands of the Chinese...

  6. Tron Bronze badge

    All aboard the Skylark.

    I'm sure it will progressively rise over the next few years. Lots of pockets to fill. It's going to be a large one. Seagoing craft are now measured in migrants, and this one is going to be at least 7000 migrants stowage. Technically it will be a carrier, as the drones will need somewhere to take off for the displays, to wow the natives in far flung parts. Not that it will be allowed to dock anywhere (zeta variant).

    I hope the BoJo bridge between Northern Ireland and [Independent-to-be] Scotland will be high enough to allow it to sail under.

    Do you think we should ask Prince Andrew to be in charge of the 'entertainment' for all those celebs? Nice to maintain a royal link from the Britannia to the Carrie, and he seems to be at a loose end.

    Not sure about the Captain. Patrick Stewart (impressive CV, own crew) or Captain Birdseye (the original, properly bearded one)?

    Although I like the idea of a Royal Yacht, I'm not sure about having riff raff from the House of Commons infesting it. Perhaps the Tories could stage a leadership coup before Glorious Leader signs any contracts. One wave of his magic pen and the Bank of England are down another hundred million.

    I assume Dido, our Queen, will be in overall charge of it.

    1. You aint sin me, roit Silver badge

      Make it so, number one!

      Patrick Stewart has to be the captain!

      And give Prince Andrew one of those natty red uniforms...

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: Make it so, number one!

        I seriously doubt Stewart would take the gig if it were offered.

      2. OssianScotland

        Re: Make it so, number one!

        As in "Mr Spock! You, me and .... <quick count of lethal hazards>... four security guards will beam down."

  7. Howard Sway Silver badge

    a new oceangoing gin palace

    I presume this is part of the much trumpeted "levelling up" agenda. So, can't wait until they give me my multimillion pound yacht too.

    What's that? We're not going to be levelled up THAT much?

    What a rotten swizz!

  8. Rich 11 Silver badge

    Peanuts and monkeys

    The swimmy ginny palace is only expected (currently) to cost twice as much to build and outfit as the Covid Summer Food Fund did to run last year (which existed thanks only to the well-aimed boot of Marcus Rashford). Seeing 1.3m kids in poverty get a decent lunch for 12 weeks or seeing Boris and co swanning around selling more arms to dictators -- which would you support?

  9. Chris G Silver badge

    There is a ship load of ready to sail super yachts with helipads out there, why not buy one of those and get a paint job and a clean up done?

    Whatever they end up with, if Bojo is on the maiden voyage I am wondering where I can get an iceberg from at short notice.

    1. Adair Silver badge


  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The timeframe for this floating gin palace ("in the water by 2024") suggests that the real reason for it is as a flag-waving photo opportunity for Bloody Stupid Johnson in the run-up to the next election campaign. It seems rather optimistic to me that it will be ready by then, as it hasn't even been designed yet, so I fully expect it will be cancelled once someone explains to BSJ that it won't be ready in time. Not before plenty of taxpayer cash has been lavished on the project, though.

  11. ThatOne Silver badge

    Gravy transports

    Oh come on, it's just a "gravy boat"...

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