IT IS the flagship project saluting one of Britain’s most famous naval officers of all time.

Admiral Horatio Lord Nelson inspired his sailors to crush Napoleon’s fleet at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805.

Now Hampshire is at the centre of a multi-million-pound scheme to build a superyacht in his honour 200 years later.

Leading ship repairer Burgess Marine and naval architects Laurent Giles have drawn up plans for Project Nelson to create a luxury vessel in his name using the best British craftsmanship, skills and expertise.

They want to start work soon after shipbuilding space becomes available in Trafalgar Wharf in Portchester in June – and expect to create 200 jobs for the area.

It will be a modern take on a gentleman’s yacht and they want to tap into local shipbuilding and labour expertise in the area plus excess space at HM Naval Base in Portsmouth.

Now they are appealing for investors to back the project – calling for anyone ranging from wealthy businessmen to international heads of state to help fund it.

Burgess Marine managing director Nicholas Warren said: “There is a huge opportunity to capitalise on the expertise and passion for shipbuilding in and around this great maritime city. As an industry we should be able to make this work.

“Companies like Laurent Giles, Canark Marine, Trimline, and Jack Tighes all have tremendous shipbuilding experience and if we can find an owner or head of state interested in Project Nelson and shipbuilding in Portsmouth then I am sure that we can deliver a superb product.”

Appealing to investors, he said: “You can build your own superyacht, to the very highest of standards, and keep complete control of both the project and all the costs associated with the build.”

Laurent Giles has already undertaken initial design work and managing director David Lewis said: “We’ve designed a superb yacht, to the very highest of modern standards.

“With our high level of expertise and experience and with Burgess’ engineering knowledge and know-how the end result is sure to be mind-blowing.”

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