The appeal target is for £350 000 so that Balmoral can operate in 2014. Balmoral is currently berthed in Bristol city docks and is being maintained by a dedicated band of volunteers. Recent work has involved making the life-jacket locker above the pursers office water tight. Other basic maintenance is being carried out with her engines being turned over regularly.
If Balmoral is to sail again in 2014 she will need to undergo a major survey and refit to ensure that she is issued a full passenger certificate. If the ship is not successful in renewing her passenger certificate next year than it is highly likely that she will never be able to carry passengers again.
Plans for the 2014 season are being developed by a dedicated team and the outline for her 2014 season is more substantial than her more recent seasons. It is planned that the ship will start in early May on the Bristol Channel before taking part in various events such as "Three Queens in Southampton", the Isle of Wight yacht race and the Tall Ships at Falmouth. It is also planned that Balmoral would visit the Thames, Medway, East Coast, Liverpool, North Wales and Solent with a substantial part of her season on the Bristol Channel. Indeed her provisional programme for 2014 is very exciting and would herald a return to what made her "Britain's most widely travelled excursion ship".
The appeal is being managed through a new company, MV Balmoral Ltd, since currently the PSPS can not raise funds directly for a motor vessel. This new company has Nick James (Chairman WSN), Noel Kemp (Chairman Bristol Channel Branch PSPS) and Ian Clark (previous Waverley & Balmoral Master) as the first 3 directors.
It is strongly believed that Balmoral does have a future if she can be operated in a viable way and in so doing she can help ensure that landing facilities, which Waverley also uses, are maintained. I personally believe that without Balmoral in service and able to carry passengers Waverley is more vulnerable. I would therefore encourage all supporters of both Balmoral AND Waverley to donate what they can to ultimately secure an operational future for both vessels.
|Balmoral approaches the North Pier Oban in September 2012|