Thames Sail Barge Victor returns to the Orwell

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Thames Sail Barge Victor docked at the Port of Ipswich


ABP was delighted to see the Waterfront based Thames Sailing Barge (TSB) Victor, which is based outside ABP's Ipswich office at the Old Custom House, locking out of the wet dock last week for a shakedown sail on the River Orwell with crew only.

TSB Victor is Ipswich's own sailing barge, having been built there in 1895 and is 125 years old this year. In a normal year, TSB Victor would make over 100 trips from the Waterfront, carrying almost 3,000 passengers. Together with other Thames Barges, Victor helped carry more than 13,600 passengers from Ipswich, providing pleasurable trips and dining experiences for locals and visitors alike.

Due to Covid-19, the barge has not sailed since March, but with lockdown now easing, Skipper "Wes" Dave Westwood is delighted to be back under sail and is looking forward to getting back to normal, with cream teas and evening cruises in the coming months, with necessary social distancing measure in place.

He commented: "These have been very difficult months for the Victor but we are looking forward to getting back to business and showing our customers how beautiful the River Orwell is especially under sail on a Thames Barge with our full programme, commencing from the 12th July.

"Victor is a very visible sign of the post Covid-19 recovery and a beacon of hope for the future to see the magnificent Victor back under sail." Andrew Harston ABP Wales and Short Sea Ports Regional Director

"We are delighted to work very closely with Wes and the Ipswich Maritime Trust in promoting traditional shipping and history of the Port of Ipswich."

The sail barges form an important part of the leisure offiering available from Ipswich Waterfront and actively demonstrate the variety of activities at the Port of Ipswich. Tickets for these sail barges can be booked via the Ipswich Tourist Information Centre.