Balmoral leaves Bristol for Sharpness seaworthiness checks

The Balmoral leaving Bristol harbour
Image caption The Balmoral has left Bristol harbour for Sharpness where seaworthiness checks will take place

Campaigners working to save a vintage pleasure cruiser have raised enough money to allow it to undergo seaworthiness checks.

The Balmoral - built in 1949 - has been moored in Bristol harbour for almost two years while work to raise £350,000 for its full restoration took place.

The fund was set up by boat owners, Waverley Steam Navigation Company.

Earlier it sailed from the harbour for Sharpness Docks, Gloucestershire, where a full dry dock survey will take place.

The work, estimated to cost about £90,000, will use most of the fund currently raised.

'Ultrasonic tests'

"Optimism is high that she is still in good shape, but this is a five yearly survey and expensive work will be required," said Paul Doubler of the company.

"One of the major items here being extensive 'ultrasonic tests' carried out on her entire hull."

If dry docking is successful the company said it plans to published a full sailing programme for 2015.

The ship carried almost 20,000 passengers in its 2012 season.

The Balmoral, which is a member of Britain's National Historic Fleet, offers day trips and evening cruises around the Somerset coast and also sails to Lundy Island in the Bristol Channel.

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