British NATIONAL FLAGSHIP: a concept vessel from Vitruvius Yachts and Team FestivAL

Britain has a proud maritime history but also an innovative approach to handcrafting yachts suitable for the 21st Century. One such historic vessel was the Royal Yacht Britannia, a much-cherished favourite of the late Queen Elizabeth II which carried out official duties until being decommissioned in 1997.

NATIONAL FLAGSHIP | A British Yacht concept

At that time there was little appetite for a replacement but when the UK left the EU, the British Government decided to launch a search for suitable designs for a new NATIONAL FLAGSHIP to travel the world and boost British trade, while driving investment in the economy. Vitruvius Yachts and their collaborators, collectively named Team FestivAL were shortlisted in the final tender process. Unfortunately, the project was halted, but the team have now released their previously confidential designs and the result is a testament to the depth and diversity of British design.

Team FestivAL focussed on sustainability, accessibility and inclusion while maximising the use of emerging green technologies and recycled/able materials to create a zero-carbon vessel. Meanwhile the interior design created flexible spaces that could equally host an exhibition aimed at children or welcome dignitaries onboard a floating embassy for a state dinner.

Receiving Guests

The design of the 125m (410’) vessel combined technology innovation and Best of British craftsmanship to minimise environmental impact and showcase ‘Britishness’. Built from recycled aluminium, with fuel efficient propulsion, reduced emissions (30% over 30 years) and nods to the Union flag in the profile shape and lighting design, the NATIONAL FLAGSHIP also includes sign language capabilities, audio description and accessible routes throughout.

The internal spaces connect via a spectacular central atrium and modular bays allow for flexible usage from events and dinners to storage of humanitarian supplies, set up of medical facilities, science labs or accommodation and office space.

Loading humanitarian supplies

“The flagship collaboration was an incredible opportunity to act as an architect realising 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. An enormous challenge that kept me awake at night” said Philippe Briand from Vitruvius Yachts who, as one of the world’s leading yacht designers, has seen his fair share of innovation but rarely been so challenged.

The Best of British yacht design

Whether the NATIONAL FLAGSHIP will ever be built is anyone’s guess, but what we do know is that if launched she would be a vibrant symbol of Britain’s multi-cultural society, design credentials and innovation in sustainable technology. What better contemporary representation of the country’s seafaring heritage.


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