Bluebird rides again
Campbell’s jet boat afloat for the first time in 51 years
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.’