Two-year wait before Donald Campbell's Bluebird returns to Coniston Water (From The Westmorland Gazette)
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Two-year wait before Donald Campbell's Bluebird returns to Coniston Water
WORK is continuing on the Coniston Bluebird but it could be two years before it returns to the water.
Restoration of the jet-powered vessel, in which Donald Campbell was killed, is ‘at least’ 18 months from completion according to the curator of Coniston’s Ruskin Museum, where the boat will eventually reside.
“The boat’s got to be finished, watertight and all systems in place, and you need the perfect weather conditions,” said Vicky Slowe, from the attraction.
“We need the lake to be mirror-calm to run speed trials, so it could be two years before Bluebird makes it on to the water.”
The boat is being restored by volunteers who want to return the boat to the water for a one-off bid to reach up to 100mph on the same stretch where Campbell died.
He was killed instantly when Bluebird flipped over at a speed of more than 300mph as he attempted to set a world speed record in January 1967.
The wreck of the Bluebird was recovered in 2001 by diver Bill Smith, who has led the project.
“The volunteers are working very hard but they also have jobs,” said Ms Slowe.
“We would have liked to have it finished by next year, to coincide with the 50th anniversary of Donald Campbell breaking both the landspeed and waterspeed records in Australia. But hopefully she’ll be back on the water in time for the 50th anniversary of his death, in 2017.”
The boat’s foray into the water was almost impeded by by-laws restricting vessels to a 10mph speed limit, but Lake District planners agreed in 2009 to temporarily suspend the limit for the Bluebird speed bid.
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