Posted - 23rd April 2024

Fun Facts, Figures & History

The Rutland Belle is a Class V Passenger Vessel.  62 feet long from bow to stern and 15.5 feet abeam, it displaces 32 tonnes and draws 3.5 feet of water. The boat can carry a maximum of 110 people with up to 70 in the aft and forward saloons.  It boasts a galley and head (bar and toilet for landlubbers) and is equipped with a 250 kg SWL hydraulic lift for wheelchairs or passengers unable to use the steps down into the boat.  Minimum crewing requirements is the Skipper - a licensed Boatmaster and a crewman.

In 2020 the boat underwent an extensive refit, moving the wheelhouse forward and into a more elevated position and freeing up more upper deck space.

As a British Merchantmen, the Rutland Belle flies the Red Ensign when in passage.

During the early 1980s Trevor and Joan Broadhead, the original owners, were running a hire-boat and trip-boat business (Charnwood Marine Ltd) on the River Soar near Leicester.  Noticing an article in the Leicester Mercury by Anglian Water, inviting interested parties to tender to run a trip-boat on Rutland Water from April 1985, they prepared a proposal to construct a new, purpose-built vessel to commence operation in the summer of 1985.   Despite strong competition, their proposal was accepted and the Rutland Belle was built at Ollerton, near Newark and actually launched at the end of that season, early in November 1985.  Engine enthusiasts will be interested to learn that the Belle is powered by a 1947 Gardner 5LW engine originally from a generator set said to have been originally used to supply auxiliary power to the Royal Train.  

The above taken from ‘All Aboard The Rutland Belle’ with kind permission of the author, Gerald Rennett.  ‘All Aboard’ is a comprehensive guide to the boat and places of interest that it cruises past with additional sections on the Ospreys, Empingham Model Village, Normanton Park, the Hambletons (of which only one remains) and Burley-On-The-Hill. The book is available from Amazon in both paperback and Kindle formats PRESS HERE