As far back as you can look, Camper & Nicholsons has been the hallmark of quality, luxury and prestige. Our craftsmanship and innovation have secured our place in yachting history, while our ability to get inside the minds of the titled and rich has firmly placed us in the pantheon of Great British brands.
Much has been written about our history and the illustrious company we’ve kept. Among them, Edward VII and his two yachts built at our Gosport yard, the Hildegard and the Aline. George V, who following the First World War, instructed Charles Nicholson to modernise Britannia with a Bermudian rig. Sir Thomas Lipton, founder of Lipton Teas, who challenged for the most prestigious sailing event – the Americas Cup – in Camper & Nicholsons designed yachts. Prince Phillip, who proudly raced Bloodhound, a Camper & Nicholsons creation and probably the most famous ocean racer ever built.
As the 20th century marched on and yachting became inextricably linked with luxury and glamour, Camper & Nicholsons was at the forefront of meeting the needs of its most prestigious clientele. From Monte Carlo to Cannes and Antibes, where beaches and hotels were overflowing with the glitterati of the age, including Elizabeth Taylor, Cary Grant, Grace Kelly and Brigitte Bardot (to name but a few); the scene was punctuated with the Camper & Nicholsons presence.
Today, our name is synonymous with yachting. It’s why everyone from kings, queens, princes and many others, have been associated with the Camper & Nicholsons name. A name that’s now emerging as the next Great British brand, embodying values that can’t be bought through sponsorship or advertising – quality, tradition, heritage, sophistication and craftsmanship. Values we keep close to our hearts even as we expand into areas beyond the realms of luxury yachting.
Did you know?
Sign of good times
Fun on the sea is by no means new. Here’s a telltale sign from the signals that the Royal Yacht Squadron developed around the time of its founding in 1833. As well as the more usual signal communications between vessels the RYS signals included such phrases to other yachts as ‘Can you lend me your band?’ and ‘Have you any ladies aboard?’ and, to shore, ‘Send me 300 oysters’.
A globe-trotting tycoon
American magnate, W. K. Vanderbilt, had the Camper & Nicholson’s built Ara stripped out and completely refitted for world cruising, complete with a gunroom, laboratory, and preservative tanks for tropical fish. “I had cruised 26,891 miles aboard Ara without mishap which lived up to my expectations in every way,” wrote Vanderbilt.
Before Bloodhound was owned by The Queen and Prince Phillip, it took part in the 1956 Melbourne Olympic Games where it won a Bronze Medal. While under Royal Family ownership, she had a permanent crew of three and a skipper who was a descendant of Sir Francis Drake. All in all, she was one of the most successful ocean racing yachts ever built, winning races on both sides of the Atlantic.
In 1962 Camper & Nicholson were commissioned to create a new Royal Barge for the Royal Yacht Britannia. Lots of thought went into its design, including tailoring the height of the steps and seats to those of the Queen and Prince Philip so they could both see and be seen with ease. When Britannia was decommissioned in 1997, the Royal Barge was still in perfect condition.