Our Community Boat Project aim was to base a boat at Goytre Wharf, from where we could run regular trips for families and school parties, together with special trips for disabled and disadvantaged groups. The trips will enable members of our community to experience travel on a tranquil historic waterway and appreciate it’s beauty and diverse ecology. It is to run as a community “not-for-profit” resource with any surplus income, over-and-above running costs being reinvested into education, canal maintenance and regeneration.
We have spent many years remodelling and updating an old canal boat to use for this purpose. The boat is environmentally sustainable, being electrically driven, and is equipped with a wheelchair lift and disabled friendly toilet. We believe that our boat is unique on UK waterways as she is double ended with a motor and rudder at each end so she can travel in either direction.
The boat was originally built in 1989 by trainees at the Monks Ferry Training Partnership at Birkenhead. We believe they had a training partnership with Cammell Laird the world famous ship builders who are also based there. The boat was built for the Neath Canal and was operated there for many years by the Enfys Trust. Regrettably she ended up in a scrap yard from where we acquired her in 2011.
Whilst retaining the core steel shell, we have undertaken major remodelling and refurbishment works by substantially increasing the window areas and renewing where necessary sections of the hull plate. We have installed new Lynch Electric motors, a large new Enersys battery bank linked to a Victron Energy Inverter/Charger, together with new cabling throughout. The passenger cabin has been totally refitted with new cabin lining and seating. This has taken many years to achieve due to lack of funds and very high safety standards required by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency.
Whilst the modified boat shell was launched on the canal in September 2017, it was not until Autumn 2019 that work on the fit-out was substantially complete. This allowed us to trial the boat with a few events at the end of 2019. Since then our boat has not been able to carry passengers due to the Covid-19 Pandemic restrictions.
We have named our boat Lord Raglan in honour of a former Monmouthshire Brecon & Abergavenny Canals Trust President, FitzRoy John Somerset, 5th Baron Raglan who passed away in 2010.
We have achieved our goal through a combination of our own limited financial resources, the hard work of our volunteers and trainee, and grant aid from the Brecon Beacons National Park Authority, the Brecon Beacons Trust and the Vale of Usk RDP Funding programme. We have also received a considerable amount of support from local and international companies via donations of equipment and services. We are extremely grateful to all those who helped us on our difficult journey…
Also thanks to Bruce Bowen Steel Fabrication for their work and support.