MV Balmoral Sails At Last

Supporting the preservation and operation of paddle steamers Waverley and Kingswear Castle

MV Balmoral Sails At Last

The following press release was issued today by MV Balmoral Fund Ltd.


GREAT NEWS – MV Balmoral Is Casting Off – Tuesday 13th May

But needs a further £50,000 now!

Good News for all lovers of this famous “Classic” ship is that real progress has been made over the last few weeks, giving considerably improved hope for her long term future. Charity status has been achieved (1155339) and a major fund raising appeal to raise an initial £350,000 has started well. It currently stands at an encouraging £110,000 – a long way to go but this at least allows the long awaited move to dry dock. She has been berthed outside MShed in the inner harbour since completing sailings in 2012 A combination of circumstance has meant that she has been unable to sail in 2013 & 2014 – For the many lovers of our famous ship this has been a huge disappointment. But now Balmoral Fund Ltd – set up to ensure that the famous vessel returns to coastal cruising around the UK’s coastline is able to announce the wonderful news that we have long waited for and thought may never come. All is now arranged, confirmed and booked. Tides, captain, crew and pilot are all finalised and we are very definitely sailing!

Under command of Captain Steve Colledge MV Balmoral will at long last leave her berth in Bristol City Docks at 05.00 hrs on Tuesday 13th May. She will sail under her own steam (diesel power) under Brunel’s famous Avon Suspension bridge down the majestic River Avon to Avonmouth for an overnight berth, before sailing at 06.00 hrs on Weds 14th May to Sharpness in Gloucestershire where she will go straight into dry dock on arrival.

At Sharpness she will undergo her equivalent of an “MOT Test”. Optimism is high that she is still in good shape but this is a 5 yearly survey and expensive work will be required. One of the major items here being extensive “ultrasonic tests” carried out on her entire hull. Just getting her to Sharpness and dry docking costs will be in the region of £90,000 but thanks to the wonderful donations and pledges received so far, we are able to commit to this initial work. The fund of course has to behave in a financially diligent manner, not committing to costs which it cannot fully meet. It is already known that some re-plating will be needed and other things may come to light at dry docking. If it were possible to pay for these while Balmoral is actually in dry dock – savings would be considerable. The cost of a second dry-docking to carry out repairs before the August MCA deadline for re-certification could put the project in jeopardy. The bank balance of today will go some way towards the repair bill but isn’t enough. Another £50,000 is required to pay for expected additional work.

That is why support is more vital now than at any time before. If this money can be raised now it could prove the financial lifeline! Generous financial donations could ensure that Balmoral sails again from ports and piers around the UK in 2015. If dry docking is successful and all goes as well as we hope it does and the ship is fully ready and certified to sail, there will still be huge financial and other challenges to overcome, hence the main target appeal of £350,000. We have a clear marketing plan and an innovative sailing programme being devised for 2015. The organisation will do everything in its power to explore every fundraising opportunity to ensure that this famous and much loved classic ship sails on into the future. Failure is not an option as that would probably be the end of the line for this wonderful vessel! Help of any sort would be appreciated – to make a donation or make contact please go to

We had hoped to invite the Mayor of Bristol to “officially untie the ropes”, possibly a band and the likes of the Bristol Shantymen, singing her off, but sadly the very early departure time prevents this. Another factor of course is the road and bridge restrictions on Bristol Inner Harbour which meant we have to sail on this tide. However the important thing is that now at last we move to what could well be “make or break” time for our wonderful vessel.

More news will follow as we get it from the dry dock. If you have not done so already please register for our regular newsletter updates. It’s at bottom of our Home (Front) page of website; shown as “Sign up for our Newsletter”.

Please keep the faith. We will at least know after dry docking, if this is possible and if so, the scale of the challenges that lie ahead. With a lot of luck, a lot of help support from a lot of people, plus “hopefully” some further very generous benefactors – we might just pull this off!

[signature name=”Paul Doubler” role=”Balmoral Communications”]