Venerable Victor a ‘beacon of hope’ as it sets sail again
PUBLISHED: 14:46 13 July 2020 | UPDATED: 14:46 13 July 2020
© Stephen Waller
Ipswich’s sailing barge Victor set sail on its first outing along the River Orwell since the coronavirus lockdown – to the delight of people based at the town port.
You may also want to watch:
Thames sail barge ‘Victor’ was given a shakedown sail last week with its crew.
Port of Ipswich owners ABP expressed delight at seeing the 125-year-old Waterfront fixture – which is usually docked just outside its office in Old Custom House – returning to the river.
MORE – Accountant’s tax scam warning as elderly client conned out of £2k TO
The vessel was built in 1895. In a normal year, TSB Victor would make more than 100 trips from the Waterfront, carrying almost 3,000 passengers.
Together with other Thames Barges, Victor helped carry more than 13,600 passengers from Ipswich, providing pleasure trips and dining experiences for locals and visitors.
But the barge has not set sail since the coronavirus lockdown began in March.
With lockdown now easing, skipper “Wes” Dave Westwood was delighted to be back under sail and is looking forward to getting back to normal.
The boat is set to resume cream teas and evening cruises in the coming months, with necessary social distancing measure in place.
“These have been very difficult months for the Victor but we are looking forward to getting back to business and showing our customers how beautiful the River Orwell is especially under sail on a Thames Barge with our full programme, commencing from July 12,” said Mr Westwood.
Andrew Harston, ABP Wales and short sea ports regional director, welcomed the return of the venerable vessel to the Orwell.
“Victor is a very visible sign of the post Covid-19 recovery and a beacon of hope for the future to see the magnificent Victor back under sail,” he said.
“We are delighted to work very closely with Wes and the Ipswich Maritime Trust in promoting traditional shipping and history of the Port of Ipswich.”
Tickets for sail barge trips can be booked via Ipswich Tourist Information Centre.
If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Ipswich Star. Click the link in the orange box above for details.