Balmoral: the small ship with the big heart

15 December 2017

Balmoral is now safely back at her berth in Bristol after a truly rollercoaster summer.

The third season started with a beautifully turned out historic ship, wonderful trips planned, excellent advanced bookings, beautiful weather, a polite and attentive ship's company and the support of volunteers and enthusiasts.

Highlights of the season saw Balmoral perform two worthwhile wind farm charters, filming contracts and sailings in good weather to the Western Isles and the Isle of Man on Tynwald Day.

Then the British weather took a hand causing a string of cancelled sailings. Sadly other factors combined to cause havoc and they were completely out of their hands.

A weeping rivet required a return to Sharpness dry-dock,  collapse of the Gravesend landing pontoon scuppered the Thames visit, followed by a summer storm and failure of both engine/gearbox couplings.

Then at the very last moment she was refused permission to carry passengers to the Isle of Man, although Balmoral has been a regular visitor for three decades and would have been allowed to go to Belfast, almost twice the distance on open water.

Back on home waters and with excellent advanced bookings, hopes were high until, on a full to capacity Bristol Channel sailing, a rope was dropped into the water from the quayside, became entangled in a propeller, worked its way under the rope guard and damaged a shaft seal. That required divers, another trip to dry-dock and a further two weeks lost service.

After urgent repairs the ship then performed perfectly, visited North Wales, Liverpool and Scotland, and ran into the worst late Summer weather for years, preventing most of the additional sailings planned to recover some of the lost revenue.

Sadly economic facts can't be avoided.  In 2017 Balmoral managed only 55 of her 116 scheduled sailings.

Despite the huge popularity and increased passenger numbers when she did operate, there is a very large deficit and serious doubts about continuing coastal excursions without financial support.

An amount of £450,000 need to be raised in no more than 8 weeks to secure Balmoral's future for a further season. After that time it could be impossible to book harbours, connections and her annual survey.

Funds are needed to settle outstanding accounts from the 2017 season, pay for routine  maintenance and to dry-dock and prepare the ship for 2018.

We are all her custodians for future generations. Balmoral's volunteers and helpers will do all they can,  but if she is to remain operational she needs your help urgently. Over 2 million passengers have travelled on her since launch in 1949. She is a small ship with a big heart and has been part of so many people's lives for nearly 70 years.

 Please  give what you can to preserve this historic ship and allow future generations to share the enjoyment that we have all had by being part of the Balmoral Family.

CLICK HERE for Donation Form or on-line via the MyDonate button. Gift Aid which boosts donations by 25% at no cost to the donor can be used with either method.

•  Cheques (made out to MV BALMORAL FUND LTD) can be sent to 23 Adder Hill, Great Boughton, CHESTER CH3 5RA.

•  Please note that My Donate can be used for regular monthly donations which are particularly welcome.

•  Although the maximum donation option appears to be £500 – there is a space to write in larger donations!

For more informatipon visit

Thank you


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