Bluebird rides again

Camp­bell’s jet boat afloat for the first time in 51 years

Practical Classics (UK) - - CLASSIC WORLD -

Fur­ther tri­als of Don­ald Camp­bell’s re­built Bluebird K7 are un­der­way fol­low­ing a suc­cess­ful first run, more than half a cen­tury af­ter her pi­lot was killed try­ing to break the world wa­ter speed record.

Af­ter sal­vaging the wreck­age from Con­is­ton Wa­ter in 2001, en­gi­neer Bill Smith spent seven­teen years restor­ing Bluebird along­side a group of vol­un­teers at his work­shop on Ty­ne­side. Smith was sup­ported by Camp­bell’s daugh­ter Gina, who was present for the boat’s launch at Loch Fad: ‘Words can­not de­scribe the feel­ing’ she told

PC. ‘Grown men were cry­ing with joy. Everyone was so moved. She looked mag­nif­i­cent on the wa­ter. It was as if my dad was still here.’

Talks are now un­der­way to re­turn Bluebird back to Con­is­ton for the first time since Camp­bell’s fa­tal ac­ci­dent in Jan­uary 1967. Con­cerns over safety and of the boat’s fu­ture have de­layed pro­ceed­ings but Gina is con­fi­dent a so­lu­tion will be found. ‘Events over­take ideas, so I’m keen to think about where we are now, not what where we thought we’d be seven­teen years ago. Bluebird has proven it­self in Scot­land and she will prove her­self at Con­is­ton.’

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