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Open Boat Weekend

Open Boat Weekend

Come on down to Ipswich Waterfront the weekend of the 1st and 2nd April and be part of the Open Boat weekend.

The crews of the Sailing Barge Victor, Allen Gardiner and Orwell Lady invite you to step aboard these famous sailing vessels, and discover what life on board is like.

Maybe you have taken a sailing trip before, or maybe you've through about it but never got round to it. The Open Weekend is the perfect time for you to do it.

Each of these boats have their own character and each offers you a unique sailing experience, and one that you will treasure.


The Open Boat Weekend taking place at Ipswich Waterfront (in front of the Old Custom House) sees a collaboration between three of Ipswich’s best known resident river cruise boats – the Allen Gardiner, the Sailing Barge Victor and the Orwell Lady. Visitors will be warmly welcomed on board to meet the crews, discover the fascinating history of each boat and hear about the different cruises on offer.

And with spring just around the corner, what could be more delightful than a leisurely and peaceful few hours viewing beautiful parts of Suffolk from its rivers? All three boats offer a unique but different experience and the open weekend will give visitors an excellent opportunity to find out more.

The Allen Gardiner, an ex South African Air Force (SAAF) air/sea rescue launch underwent a rebuild in 2011 before being transported to Ipswich from Durban Harbour, South Africa. Operating all year round, daily brunch, lunch and dinner cruises for up to 12 people take place down the River Orwell towards the Port of Felixstowe. Guests can enjoy fine local produce from an a la carte menu whilst passing the marinas at Woolverstone and Levington, the Royal Harwich Yacht Club, picturesque Pin Mill, ultimately turning for home just before arriving at the Port of Felixstowe, the largest container terminal in Britain.

Built in 1979 as a purpose-built Thames River Boat, the Orwell Lady offers sightseeing cruises to Harwich Harbour and the Port of Felixstowe most days between May and October as well as regular English afternoon teas and Sunday buffet lunch cruises, music nights, wine tasting and Halloween Ghosts on the river family cruise. She is licensed for 100 and has two decks (one covered) and a licensed bar selling hot, cold drinks and snacks.

The Sailing Barge Victor is a perfect marriage of a majestic and traditionally rigged 19th century sailing vessel with comfortable, modern facilities for guests. A sailing trip on the Victor offers a truly memorable and affordable opportunity to experience living history, either on one of its public cruises specially designed for individuals, families and friends to enjoy (fully inclusive of food) or on one of its private cruises for larger family occasions and corporate events. Up to 40 guests can be accommodated. Drinks and refreshments may be purchased from the licensed bar on board which includes a range of fine Adnams beers, cider and soft drinks.

Allen Gardiner: email info@rivercruiserestaurants.co.uk or ring 01473 558712.

Orwell Lady: website www.orwellrivercruises.co.uk or ring 01473 258070.

Sailing Barge Victor: email tourist@ipswich.gov.uk or ring 01473 258070.

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