The Balmoral Strategy Group (BSG), set up to ensure that the famous old motor vessel Balmoral returns to coastal cruising around the UK, is now able to announce considerable progress. Preparations are now well under way for Balmoral to leave her berth in Bristol City Docks and sail under her own power beneath Brunel’s famous Clifton Suspension Bridge, down the Avon and into the Severn, bound for the Sharpness Dry Dock, where she is due to spend at least five days in early April to undergo a survey and thorough examination.

It is hoped that she is still in reasonable condition, but the five-yearly survey will include ultrasonic tests on her entire hull to determine her soundness. The cost is considerable, and just getting her to Sharpness for dry-docking will cost in the region of £50,000. It is already known that some re-plating will be needed. A second dry-docking will be needed before the August MCA deadline for re-certification, and at least another £30,000 is required to pay for expected additional work.


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