Published: December 14, 2012
Historic Balmoral won't sail by Burnham in 2013 as it takes a year off

The historic 50 year-old ship Balmoral will not be sailing by Burnham-On-Sea on its annual trip to Bridgwater in 2013, the company that runs it has announced this week.

The ship usually passes Burnham on one day each summer on its way to Dunball, near Bridgwater, to collect passengers booked on excursions around the Bristol Channel.

However, the charitable organisation that oversees the ship has decided not to runs its usual sailings next summer.

Waverley Excursions' Sarah Kinloch told "The Balmoral's operation has been hampered increasingly in recent years by extreme weather conditions. This has led to many cancelled or disrupted sailings, which has had a significant impact on the ship’s contribution to our charity."

"Clearly, we are unable to predict the weather for 2013, but after taking a wide range of considerations into account, we have decided reluctantly that it would be too great a risk to operate Balmoral next year and that doing so would increase the threat to the future of both our ships."

"We are not in a position to take such a risk and so will only be operating our second ship, the Waverley, in 2013."

She added: "At the moment Balmoral is being looked after on a care and maintenance basis by volunteers in Bristol."

"We are looking at alternative ways of utilising the ship in 2013 and over the coming months we will seek to identify a robust operating programme to offer the prospect of returning her to service in 2014 and beyond."

The Waverley will operate its usual extensive programme and will be visiting all the areas she has served for so many years.

The charity said it had been "a very difficult decision" but that it considers it offers the best way in the current circumstances to ensure Waverley's continued operation.

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