South Wales Argus - December 2008

Boats return after canal breach


A £750,000 investment means a boating company can put the misery of 2008 behind it and offer holidaymakers a luxury leisure.

Red Line Boats (RLB), based at Goytre Wharf lost around £250,000 last year because of a breach on the Brecon-Monmouthshire Canal near Gilwern.

British Waterways subsequently closed a stretch of the route meaning that it was unable to rent its long boats out for holidays during 2008.

Repair work is now complete on the breach and most of the canal is back up and running except for a small section near Llangattock, which is due to be opened by March.

RLB is busy gearing up for the start of the season in March with 10 new long boats.

Parent company ABC Leisure paid a combined £750,000 for the vessels that offer up to five star service.

Eight have now been delivered and two more will be arriving in March.

There will be four Swallow Class vessels, which are 57 feet long and hold up to eight people and six from the Finch Class, which are 50 feet long and hold up to six people.

Marina manager Mark Doe said: "The new boats have microwaves, coffee machines, DVD players and flat screen TVs. Basically, everything you get in a flat, but with the scenery.

"When there are just two people on board, they are classed as five star. So, we may have to start loading them up with champagne."

These will operate on the 33 mile stretch that runs from Brecon to Newport with four older boats that are being painted to mark the start of a new era for the company.

Mr Doe said that RLB's four full-time staff are preparing to be busy from March to October, with encouraging numbers of bookings already.