The largest ‘steamer’ ever built for Windermere is to be taken out of the lake to undergo work to preserve her for future generations to enjoy.
The 87-year-old Teal, which weighs 251 tonnes, will be moved onto one of Windermere Lake Cruises’ slipways at the beginning of December to undergo the programme of maintenance.
John Woodburn, Operations Director at Windermere Lake Cruises, says: “It’ll be a delicate operation to get this historic vessel out of the water.
“Windermere has to be flat calm for us to complete the manoeuvre and the exact timing will depend on weather conditions. She needs to be in the exact centre of the slipway, so we need to choose the optimum moment when conditions are calm.”
Maintenance work will include updates to the vessel’s anchor deployment system and life-raft storage. The programme of work will ensure the vessel, a member of the UK’s National Historic Fleet, continues to meet Maritime and Coastguard Agency legislation which has just been updated.
She will also have new freshwater tanks fitted, new communication links between the bridge, bar and shop and she’ll be freshly painted to make sure she is looking her best for passengers when she returns to service early next year.
“The work will take about five or six weeks,” says John Woodburn. “Then she will be returned to the water so she is ready for the start of our main season. She is an iconic vessel and this work means future generations will be able to enjoy cruising England’s longest lake on MV Teal for many years to come.”
Teal has always proved one of the most popular cruise vessels on Windermere and was rumoured to be HM Queen Elizabeth II’s favourite. In July 2013 HM Queen Elizabeth II enjpyed a cruise on Teal.
The late Queen sailed on her twice during her long reign – first in August 1956 when she and The Duke of Edinburgh cruised from Ambleside to Bowness.
Nearly 60 years later, in July 2013, Her Majesty enjoyed a second cruise on the vessel when she was joined by The Princess Royal for a trip from Bowness to Brockhole.
Teal was built by Vickers Armstrong in Barrow-in-Furness and originally launched on Windermere on 4 July 1936. The vessel, which is on the UK’s Register of National Historic Ships, currently carries up to 533 passengers and like her sister ships, Swan and Tern, is named after one of the bird species which makes its home around the shoreline of England’s largest natural lake.