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East Anglia Future 50

Open boats weekend at Ipswich Waterfront to launch new season

PUBLISHED: 11:07 04 April 2019 | UPDATED: 17:25 04 April 2019

The Orwell Lady on the River Orwell.

The Orwell Lady on the River Orwell.

Archant

Tourist boats in Ipswich are launching their 2019 season with an open boat weekend.

The motley crew, representatives of the Orwell Lady, Barge Victor and Allen Gardiner cruise boats at the 2018 Ipswich open boat weekend. L to R, Kris Ambury, Linda Pipe (ABP),  Emma Lightfoot, Craig Ambury, Chris Spraggons, David ‘Wes’ Wesley and Carl Webb.
Picture; EMMA LIGHTFOOTThe motley crew, representatives of the Orwell Lady, Barge Victor and Allen Gardiner cruise boats at the 2018 Ipswich open boat weekend. L to R, Kris Ambury, Linda Pipe (ABP), Emma Lightfoot, Craig Ambury, Chris Spraggons, David ‘Wes’ Wesley and Carl Webb. Picture; EMMA LIGHTFOOT

The River Orwell is a popular attraction for visitors and there are three cruise boats operating from the Waterfront – the Orwell Lady, the sailing Barge Victor and the Allen Gardiner cruise dining boat.

Operators have combined to have an open boat weekend at the quayside and share their plans for the season on April 13 and 14.

Visitors can step on board, chat to staff and crews about the history of the boats and what they offer passengers now.

Carl Webb, operations director of the Orwell Lady, said: “It is lovely out on the river, the second prettiest river in the country according to the Royal Yachting Association.

Restauant boat Allen Gardiner at Ipswich Waterfront    Restauant boat Allen Gardiner at Ipswich Waterfront

“There is so much to see and the highlight for many people is the harbour, seeing Felixstowe Port and Harwich from out on the water. You wouldn’t get the chance otherwise.

“We had a very good year last year, with public cruises and charters.

“We have had a lot of work done, recovering the seats and painting, and the crew are all trained ready for another good season.”

Orwell Lady was built in 1979 as a Thames river cruise boat and came to Ipswich in 2001 to offer sightseeing cruises, disco nights and meal cruises for up to 100 people,

Glorious Ipswich Waterfront, the sailing barge Victor heads out on a river Orwell cruise
Picture: DAVID VINCENTGlorious Ipswich Waterfront, the sailing barge Victor heads out on a river Orwell cruise Picture: DAVID VINCENT

The sailing barge Victor was built in 1895, by Howard Shrubsall in Ipswich for Owen Parry of Colchester, and was restored to its original rig in 2006.

Back in its home port it offers bird watching cruises, wedding receptions and quayside parties.

The Allen Gardiner dining boat was built in 1942 in Florida and was used in World War II as an air/sea rescue launch.

It came to Ipswich in 2013 and is run by the same family who own the Lady Florence in Orford.

Owner of Allen Gardiner, Craig Ambury said: “We were always keen to showcase the wonderful offer Ipswich has and each year we find more and more people come down to look around.

“Once the boats are out on the river it is hard for people to look round whereas this free event makes it nice and easy.”

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