Waterfront attractions proving popular

Histtoric sailing barge Victor, at Ipswich Waterfront. Skipper David `Wes' Westwood

Histtoric sailing barge Victor, at Ipswich Waterfront. Skipper David `Wes' Westwood - Credit: Archant

Record year for sailing barge Victor from Ipswich

It has been a great year for the historic sailing barge, Victor, which is based at Ipswich Waterfront.

The growing reputation of the Waterfront as a tourist destination, and the interest in exploring the beautiful rivers Orwell and Stour, as well as some good summer weather, have contributed to a record number of visitors

I dropped in on skipper David `Wes’ Westwood on board the Thames sailing barge, at the quayside, the other day.

Barge Victor, for decades a working commercial transport, is now firmly involved in the leisure and tourist trade.

It is also a favourite location for family celebrations, out on the river Orwell.

The barge was built more than 100 years-ago, in Ipswich, and is still going strong.

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Wes said: “It has been our best year so far.

“We started the season in April and we got off to a flying start.

“We have been out three to four times a week, sometimes more.

“Private charter has been strong, all the way throug the summer and it is still going.

“We are doing our birdwatching trips now, picking up at Harwich, and we are sailing up the Stour with a RSPB guide telling us and explaining what we see.

“We have had just about everything this year, wedding blessings and wakes, but we haven’t had a christening yet. We have had a lot of birthday party family cruises. We had a 90th birthday earlier and one weekend we had a 80th and a 75th party.”

A dozend birdwatching cruises are planned, before the Victor goes into dry dock in February, for repairs and renovations ahead of the 2017 season.

“We will have two months out of the water.

“Before then, we are starting out static stuff, at the quayside. We have folk nights on December 2 and January 2. They are always good nights.

“We have a few other private events booked at the quayside,” he added.

Tickets for Barge Victor events are sold via the Tourist Information Centre.

There is also a website: sbvictor.co.uk