I am all in favour of a new royal yacht. I am not in favour of any public money going into its construction.
The public mood is ambiguous about this project. Some who usually oppose austerity rush to condemn what they see as frivolous spending like this. Some neo Keynsians see it as another make work project, assuming it would be built in a British yard. Some see it with Mr Gove as a way to celebrate monarchy and the Jubilee. Some dislike it because they dislike the institution of monarchy or the UK state.
The old Britannia was largely a working vessel. Used properly, a royal yacht is a great aid to extending the UK’s influence, winning friends, gaining contracts and promoting the UK’s aims and values. The rich, powerful and famous of the world are regularly wined and dined in five star hotels, and Michelin starred restaurants to seek their cooperation for the nation. Dining on the Britannia was a more memorable experience that mere money could not buy.
Were a new royal yacht to be paid for by voluntary gift and subscription there would need to be a clear and strong trust document establishing who could use the vessel and why. The way it was used and presented would need controlling to avoid damage to the royal associations. The UK government in one form or another would be a major buyer of its services, and would presumably pay for operational use as part of the diplomatic , ceremonial and promotional budget. Leading users are likely to include UK Trade and Investment organisations, the Foreign Office, and the royal family as part of State visits. Leading charities and great UK institutions also might wish to use her when docked in a suitable adjacent UK harbour. The vessel would be more for entertaining than cruising.
I would be pleased to hear your thoughts.