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Plymouth Excursion Boats Since 1985
 
Tamar Cruising & Cremyll Ferry
Sound Cruising
Ken Bridge & Other Operators
 
 
This is one of a series of Simplon web pages on Plymouth and Devon excursion vessels. This page shows the vessels of Tamar Cruising & Cremyll Ferry Co, Sound Cruising and various small independent operators
 
Background
The River Dart Steamboat Company ceased services at the end of the the 1974 season, and Dart Pleasure Craft replaced them as the premier River Dart operator. In 1980, Dart Pleasure Craft purchased the Millbrook Steamboat & Trading Company at Plymouth, effectively giving them a monopoly in both areas. However aggressive competition from new company Plymouth Boat Cruises led to Dart Pleasure Craft to abandon the Plymouth area in 1985 and Dart Pleasure Craft concentrate solely on their River Dart operations since then. Dart Pleasure Craft retained Adrian Gilbert, Western Belle, Cardiff Castle, Plymouth Belle, Edgcumbe Belle and Dartmouth Castle (3). Southern Belle and Eastern Belle went to rivals Plymouth Boat Cruises, whilst Northern Belle and Queen Boadicea II and the Cremyll service went to Tamar Cruising & Cremyll Ferry Co, owned by John Knight, a former Cremyll Ferry skipper. My Queen and Eastern Belle moved to Dart operator G.H.Ridalls & Sons, and Totnes Castle (3) moved to former rivals Plymouth Boat Cruises.

Plymouth Pleasure Boat Operators Since 1985 by Graham Thorne:-
The withdrawal of Dart Pleasure Craft from their Plymouth operations in 1985 left two principal operators in the city:- Plymouth Boat Cruises and Tamar Cruising & Cremyll Ferry Co. There were also a number of independent operators with whom we shall deal later.
 
Plymouth Boat Cruises, based in Millbrook, had been operating since 1981 in competition with Dart Pleasure Craft. Tamar Cruising & Cremyll Ferry Co was a new company founded by John Knight, skipper of the Cremyll Ferry.
 
In 1985 Plymouth Boat Cruises were operating the Plymouth Venturer (1982, 94 grt) built for them at Mashford's and the wooden vessel Plymouth Princess (1921, 47 grt). Plymouth Princess had run at Southend from 1921 to 1958 as the Britannia I and on the Thames as Thames Britannia to 1982. Now in addition the company acquired the Southern Belle of 1925 and the Eastern Belle of 1946 from Dart Pleasure Craft. The Totnes Castle (3) of 1949 also came to them from the River Dart service of Dart Pleasure Craft. Other vessels, which had run in Plymouth for Dart Pleasure Craft such as Cardiff Castle, Dartmouth Castle (3), Edgcumbe Belle and Western Belle moved to the Dart. Plymouth Boat Cruises soon sold the Eastern Belle to G H Ridalls & Sons at Dartmouth. She became their Totnes Princess and remained on the Dart until 1999. Since 2001 she has run in the Isle of Man for Captain Stephen Carter's Laxey Towing Company bearing the traditional Manx name Karina.
 
Tamar Cruising & Cremyll Ferry Co began its operations in 1985 with the Northern Belle (1927, 25 grt) - she came with the Cremyll Ferry rights, having been on the service since delivery as Armadillo. From Dart Pleasure Craft for the Drake's Island Ferry came Queen Boadicea II (1936, 45 grt). In 1987 they took delivery of a new vessel the Plymouth Sound (1987, 49grt). In 1990 Tamar Cruising & Cremyll Ferry Co took delivery of another new vessel. She was the Plymouth Sound II (1990, 45 grt). Advertised for sale in late 1996, she now runs at Poole as the Purbeck Pride of R.C.Greenslade. Her hull is identical to Ridalls Dittisham Princess of 1995, which now runs with Dart Pleasure Craft, still as Dittisham Princess. In 1991 they disposed of the Queen Boadicea II to the National Waterways Museum, Gloucester, where she remains.
 
1995 saw the Cawsand Ferry vessel Weston Maid (1960) come under the Plymouth Boat Cruises banner. In 1999 the Tamar Belle (1) (1960) was listed with the Tamar Cruising fleet. She was the former Look Ahead II at St. Mawes and remained in Plymouth until 2004 when she went to Tewkesbury as Avon Belle II. In 2000 the Southern Belle was sold away to Isle of Wight owners. After an unhappy spell there she was sold to Steve Wilson at Great Yarmouth where she entered service with his Yarmouth & Gorleston SP Co in 2006. The tradition of vessel exchanges between Plymouth and Dartmouth was revived at the end of the 2002 season. Plymouth Venturer was sold to Dart Pleasure Craft, becoming their Dart Venturer with former Millbrook vessel, Plymouth Belle (1960), moving in the opposite direction.
 
The former Queen of Helford (1960, 21 grt) arrived with Tamar Cruising in 2004, taking the name Tamar Belle (2) from her predecessor Tamar Belle (1), which went initially to Tewkesbury, but later returned to the south west at Falmouth as Look Ahead II again. The Queen of Helford had run for a variety of owners on both Dart and Fal and now became one of the select band of vessels to run at all three principal Devon and Cornwall locations. In the same year a new player arrived on the scene in the shape of the Spirit of Plymouth (2004, 66 grt), designed by her owner, and built locally. She ran under the banner of Sound Cruising, based at Hoe on the Devon side of Plymouth Sound.
 
By 2005 Sound Cruising had taken over Plymouth Boat Cruises, there being insufficient trade for three operators. The Totnes Castle (3) was sold to Ullswater Steamers and, after an epic delivery voyage to Whitehaven, a road trip to Ullswater and a complete refit, she entered service with them as Lady Wakefield in 2007. Weston Maid and the Cawsand Ferry passed to a new operator, N Fox, and Coral Star IV (1962, 13 grt) ex-Paignton, joined the combined Sound Cruising fleet as the Mount Batten Ferry. The Catalina of Tenby (1999, 40 grt) arrived in the summer of 2005 but her stay with Sound Cruising was short lived and she left for Inverness to become the Jacobite Legend the following year.

In November 2011, Tamar Cruises and the Plymouth Sound passed to Plymouth Boat Trips, along with access to the Barbican and Mount Edgcumbe piers. The Cremyll Ferry retained its main ferry Northern Belle and backup vessel Tamar Belle (2).

The cruising part of Sound cruising passed to Plymouth Boat Trips before the 2013 season along with Spirit of Plymouth and Plymouth Princess . The Mount Batten Ferry and vessels Copper and Plymouth Belle were not part of the sale.

Summer 2007 Fleets
Sound Cruising: Coral Star IV - Plymouth Belle - Plymouth Princess - Spirit of Plymouth
Tamar Cruising: Northern Belle - Plymouth Sound - Tamar Belle (2)

Sections on this Page:-
Tamar Cruising & Cremyll Ferry Co
Sound Cruising
K.J.Bridge
Other Plymouth Boats
 
Tamar Cruising Boats on this Page:-
Northern Belle (Built: 1927 Tamar Cruising & Cremyll Ferry: 1985- )
Plymouth Sound (Built: 1987 - Tamar Cruising & Cremyll Ferry: 1987-2011 )
Plymouth Sound II (Built: 1990 - Tamar Cruising & Cremyll Ferry: 1990-1996)
Queen Boadicea II (Built: 1936 - Tamar Cruising & Cremyll Ferry: 1985-1991)
Tamar Belle (1) (Built: 1960 - Tamar Cruising & Cremyll Ferry: 1998-2004)
Tamar Belle (2) (Built: 1960 - Tamar Cruising & Cremyll Ferry: 2004- )
 
Sound Cruising Boats on this Page:-
Catalina (Built: 1999 - Plymouth Boat Cruises: 2005-2006)
Coral Star IV (Built: 1962 - Plymouth Boat Cruises: 2005- )
Plymouth Belle (Built: 1960 - Sound Cruising: 2005- )
Plymouth Princess (Built: 1921 - Sound Cruising: 2005- )
Spirit of Plymouth (Built: 2004 - Sound Cruising: 2004- )
 
Other Boats on this Page:-
Devon Belle (K.J.Bridge: 1997-2000) - ex-Southern Comfort of Plymstock
Devon Belle II (1) (Built: 1990 - K.J.Bridge: 1990-1994)
Devon Belle II (2) (K.J.Bridge: 1997-2001) - ex-Duke of Edinburgh
Devon Belle II (3) (Built: 1967 - K.J.Bridge: 2002-2003)
Devon Belle V (Built: 1947 - K.J.Bridge: 2004-2007)
Duke of Edinburgh (Built: 1949 - K.T.Bridge/K.J.Bridge: pre-1977-2001) - later Devon Belle II (2)
My Queen (Built: 1929 - R.J.Elworthy: 197?-197?)
Queen of Falmouth (Built: 1937 - K.J.Bridge: 2000)
Southern Comfort of Plymstock (Built: 1938 - K.T.Bridge: c.1980-1982) - later Devon Belle
Weston Maid (Built: 1960 - N.Fox: 2005- )
 
Simplon Devon Pages:-
Devon Excursion Ships - Devon Header Page
Brixham Belle Cruises (Carol & Peter Scott)
Dart Pleasure Craft - now Dartmouth Riverboats
Dartmouth Riverboats  - ex-Dart Pleasure Craft/River Link from 2010
Dartmouth Lower Ferry
Dartmouth Higher Ferry
Devon Railway Ferries & Tenders
Devon SS Co
Millbrook SB & Trading Company
Plymouth Boat Cruises
Plymouth Boat Trips
River Dart SB Co
G.H.Ridalls & Sons
Associated Pages:-
Ferry Postcards
Cruise Ship Postcards
Ocean Liner Postcards
Simplon Postcards Home Page
 
Search This Website:-

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References:-
Estuary & River Ferries of South West England - Martin Langley & Edwina Small - Waine Research (1984)
Passenger Steamers of the River Tamar - Alan Kittridge - Twelveheads Press 1984
Passenger Steamers of the River Dart - Richard Clammer & Alan Kittridge - Twelveheads Press 1987
South Devon Ferries - Alan Kittridge - Tempus (2003)
Steamers & Ferries of the River Tamar & Three Towns District - Alan Kittridge - Twelveheads Press 2003
Trip Out Guides - Written and published by G.P.Hamer - various editions from 1977 to 2007 consulted
Thanks to Graham Thorne, John Hendy and Geoff Hamer for assistance with this page







Tamar Cruising & Cremyll Ferry Co
(1985- )



Northern Belle
(Built: 1927 - Tamar Cruising & Cremyll Ferry: 1985-2011)
(Cremyll Ferry: 2011- )
 
The Cremyll ferry had been operated by the Earls of mount Edgcumbe. When the line of descent ceased with the death of the fifth Earl in 1944, the ferry passed to the Millbrook Steamboat & Trading Company (who been operating it for year anyway). After the Second War, the Millbrook Steamboat & Trading Company received new investment when new directors Sidney Mashford (of Mashford's Shipyard) and William Crawford joined the directors. The Cremyll ferries at this time were the Armadillo and Shuttlecock, both steam powered. They were dieselised by the Millbrook Steamboat & Trading Company in 1946/7 and 1945 respectively. Mashford's rebuilt the Shuttlecock as the Southern Belle in 1945/46, and the Armadillo became the Northern Belle. In 1985, Northern Belle and Queen Boadicea II and the Cremyll service went to Tamar Cruising & Cremyll Ferry Co, owned by John Knight, a former Cremyll Ferry skipper. She remained in the 2007 fleet.


Northern Belle in service with the Millbrook Company at Cremyll
The larger image also shows Devon Belle to the left. It looks be just post World War 2.
Photo: © Luke Farley
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Postcard of Northern Belle.
Unlike her sister Southern Belle, Northern Belle was not given an upper passenger deck.



Northern Belle approaches Admiral's Hard on Cremyll Ferry duty, as she has done since new in 1927.
Royal William Victualling Yard in background
Photo: © Graham Thorne



Northern Belle at Admiral's Hard, Plymouth, on the Cremyll Ferry
Photo: Ian Boyle, 27th March 2010 - all images link to larger copies

NORTHERN BELLE - Tamar Cruising - Photo: 2010 Ian Boyle - www.simplonpc.co.ukNORTHERN BELLE - Tamar Cruising - Photo: 2010 Ian Boyle - www.simplonpc.co.ukNORTHERN BELLE - Tamar Cruising - Photo: 2010 Ian Boyle - www.simplonpc.co.ukNORTHERN BELLE - Tamar Cruising - Photo: 2010 Ian Boyle - www.simplonpc.co.ukNORTHERN BELLE - Tamar Cruising - Photo: 2010 Ian Boyle - www.simplonpc.co.ukNORTHERN BELLE - Tamar Cruising - Photo: 2010 Ian Boyle - www.simplonpc.co.ukNORTHERN BELLE - Tamar Cruising - Photo: 2010 Ian Boyle - www.simplonpc.co.uk




Northern Belle at Cremyll and leaving for Plymouth
Photo: Ian Boyle, 27th March 2010 - all images link to larger copies

NORTHERN BELLE - Tamar Cruising - Photo: 2010 Ian Boyle - www.simplonpc.co.ukNORTHERN BELLE - Tamar Cruising - Photo: 2010 Ian Boyle - www.simplonpc.co.ukNORTHERN BELLE - Tamar Cruising - Photo: 2010 Ian Boyle - www.simplonpc.co.ukNORTHERN BELLE - Tamar Cruising - Photo: 2010 Ian Boyle - www.simplonpc.co.ukNORTHERN BELLE - Tamar Cruising - Photo: 2010 Ian Boyle - www.simplonpc.co.ukNORTHERN BELLE - Tamar Cruising - Photo: 2010 Ian Boyle - www.simplonpc.co.ukNORTHERN BELLE - Tamar Cruising - Photo: 2010 Ian Boyle - www.simplonpc.co.ukNORTHERN BELLE - Tamar Cruising - Photo: 2010 Ian Boyle - www.simplonpc.co.ukNORTHERN BELLE - Tamar Cruising - Photo: 2010 Ian Boyle - www.simplonpc.co.ukNORTHERN BELLE - Tamar Cruising - Photo: 2010 Ian Boyle - www.simplonpc.co.ukNORTHERN BELLE - Tamar Cruising - Photo: 2010 Ian Boyle - www.simplonpc.co.ukNORTHERN BELLE - Tamar Cruising - Photo: 2010 Ian Boyle - www.simplonpc.co.ukNORTHERN BELLE - Tamar Cruising - Photo: 2010 Ian Boyle - www.simplonpc.co.uk




Northern Belle arriving at Cremyll from Plymouth
Photo: Ian Boyle, 27th March 2010 - all images link to larger copies

NORTHERN BELLE - Tamar Cruising - Photo: 2010 Ian Boyle - www.simplonpc.co.ukNORTHERN BELLE - Tamar Cruising - Photo: 2010 Ian Boyle - www.simplonpc.co.ukNORTHERN BELLE - Tamar Cruising - Photo: 2010 Ian Boyle - www.simplonpc.co.ukNORTHERN BELLE - Tamar Cruising - Photo: 2010 Ian Boyle - www.simplonpc.co.uk NORTHERN BELLE - Tamar Cruising - Photo: 2010 Ian Boyle - www.simplonpc.co.ukNORTHERN BELLE - Tamar Cruising - Photo: 2010 Ian Boyle - www.simplonpc.co.uk




Northern Belle at Admiral' Hard, Plymouth
Photo: Ian Boyle, 27th March 2010 - all images link to larger copies

NORTHERN BELLE - Tamar Cruising - Photo: 2010 Ian Boyle - www.simplonpc.co.ukNORTHERN BELLE - Tamar Cruising - Photo: 2010 Ian Boyle - www.simplonpc.co.ukNORTHERN BELLE - Tamar Cruising - Photo: 2010 Ian Boyle - www.simplonpc.co.ukNORTHERN BELLE - Tamar Cruising - Photo: 2010 Ian Boyle - www.simplonpc.co.ukNORTHERN BELLE - Tamar Cruising - Photo: 2010 Ian Boyle - www.simplonpc.co.ukNORTHERN BELLE - Tamar Cruising - Photo: 2010 Ian Boyle - www.simplonpc.co.uk NORTHERN BELLE - Tamar Cruising - Photo: 2010 Ian Boyle - www.simplonpc.co.ukNORTHERN BELLE - Tamar Cruising - Photo: 2010 Ian Boyle - www.simplonpc.co.uk




Northern Belle on the Cremyll Ferry, seen from the Devon Belle
Photo: Ian Boyle, 27th March 2010 - all images link to larger copies

NORTHERN BELLE - Tamar Cruising - Photo: 2010 Ian Boyle - www.simplonpc.co.ukNORTHERN BELLE - Tamar Cruising - Photo: 2010 Ian Boyle - www.simplonpc.co.ukNORTHERN BELLE - Tamar Cruising - Photo: 2010 Ian Boyle - www.simplonpc.co.ukNORTHERN BELLE - Tamar Cruising - Photo: 2010 Ian Boyle - www.simplonpc.co.ukNORTHERN BELLE - Tamar Cruising - Photo: 2010 Ian Boyle - www.simplonpc.co.ukNORTHERN BELLE - Tamar Cruising - Photo: 2010 Ian Boyle - www.simplonpc.co.ukNORTHERN BELLE - Tamar Cruising - Photo: 2010 Ian Boyle - www.simplonpc.co.uk




Northern Belle on the Cremyll Ferry
Photo: Ian Boyle, 27th February 2011 - all images link to larger copies

NORTHERN BELLE - Tamar Cruising - Photo: 2011 Ian Boyle - www.simplonpc.co.ukNORTHERN BELLE - Tamar Cruising - Photo: 2011 Ian Boyle - www.simplonpc.co.ukNORTHERN BELLE - Tamar Cruising - Photo: 2011 Ian Boyle - www.simplonpc.co.ukNORTHERN BELLE - Tamar Cruising - Photo: 2011 Ian Boyle - www.simplonpc.co.ukNORTHERN BELLE - Tamar Cruising - Photo: 2011 Ian Boyle - www.simplonpc.co.ukNORTHERN BELLE - Tamar Cruising - Photo: 2011 Ian Boyle - www.simplonpc.co.ukNORTHERN BELLE - Tamar Cruising - Photo: 2011 Ian Boyle - www.simplonpc.co.uk




Northern Belle on the Cremyll Ferry
Photo: Ian Boyle, 27th February 2011 - all images link to larger copies

NORTHERN BELLE - Tamar Cruising - Photo: 2011 Ian Boyle - www.simplonpc.co.ukNORTHERN BELLE - Tamar Cruising - Photo: 2011 Ian Boyle - www.simplonpc.co.ukNORTHERN BELLE - Tamar Cruising - Photo: 2011 Ian Boyle - www.simplonpc.co.ukNORTHERN BELLE - Tamar Cruising - Photo: 2011 Ian Boyle - www.simplonpc.co.uk







Queen Boadicea II
(Built: 1936 - Tamar Cruising & Cremyll Ferry: 1976-1991)
 
Queen Boadicea II was built in 1936 by Thornycrofts. She worked on the Thames for Mrs C.M.Smith from 1936-1938, and then for George Wheeler Launches from 1938-1976, and attended the Dunkirk evacuation. Queen Boadicea II was bought by Dart Pleasure Craft for use on the Dartmouth-Kingswear ferry, which the company ran from 1st January 1977. She was sold to the Tamar Cruising & Cremyll Ferry Co, when Dart Pleasure Craft pulled out of Plymouth operations in 1985. She passed to the National Waterways Museum in Gloucester in 1991.


Postcard of Queen Boadicea II in service with Tamar Cruising.
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Postcard of Queen Boadicea II in service in Gloucester.






Tamar Belle (1)
(Built: 1960 - Tamar Cruising & Cremyll Ferry: 1998-2004)
 
Tamar Belle (1) is another vessel from the celebrated yard of Blackmore, Bideford. 42 ft long and built of wood, she came new as Look Ahead II to St Mawes in 1960. In 1977 she was running excursions from St Mawes, licensed for 53 passengers and owned by Messrs. Penrose & Davies. By 1989 her operator was the F & B Boat Co., later Balcomb Boat Co.
 
Around 1998 Look Ahead II went to Plymouth where she joined the fleet of Tamar Cruising and took the name of Tamar Belle, remaining there until 2004.That year she left for Tewkesbury where she was the Avon Belle II. Following the disastrous floods of 2007 she was put up for sale and was bought by the Newman family, returned to the River Fal and had her original name restored.
 
In order to secure her Rhos Newman had to buy another vessel from her owners, named Champion. Champion is for sale, as is the Newmans' previous vessel, Queen of the Fal, advertised in late 2007. Queen of the Fal was the Alice-Marie at Poole and originally Gay Queen at Rothesay. She came to the Fal in 2006 and replaced the Cornish Belle, which is now at Torbay.


Look Ahead II in 2008 on her Falmouth to Tolverne run for Newman's Cruises
Photo: © Ian Boyle, 23rd July 2008
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Tamar Belle (2)
(Built: 1960 - Tamar Cruising & Cremyll Ferry: 2004-2011)
(Cremyll Ferry: 2011- )
 
Queen of Helford was built by Blackmore & Sons in 1960, providing excursions from Falmouth to Helford for the Timmins family of Penryn. She joined the Ridalls fleet in the mid-1970s, and remained until 1994, passing to K.J.Bridge of Plymouth. By 1997 she had been replaced in the K.J.Bridge fleet by Devon Belle (ex-Dartmothian of Ridalls) and had joined P.J.McColl of Falmouth. In 2002 she passed to D.Gold, Dartmouth, and then in 2004 to Tamar Cruising & Cremyll Ferry Co at Plymouth, renamed as Tamar Belle, and remained in the 2007 fleet.
 
 
Queen of Helford in Falmouth service.



Tamar Cruising's Queen of Helford with Northern Belle (left)
Photo: © Luke Farley, 26/12/2003
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Tamar Cruising's Tamar Belle (1960, ex-Queen of Helford), approaches the quay at Cremyll
Photo: © Graham Thorne
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Tamar Cruising's Tamar Belle (1960, ex-Queen of Helford), mid-refit in January 2005
Photo: © Luke Farley, January 2005
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Tamar Cruising's Tamar Belle (1960, ex-Queen of Helford), mid-refit in January 2005
Photo: © Luke Farley, January 2005
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Tamar Cruising's Tamar Belle (1960, ex-Queen of Helford), at Mayflower Steps
Photo: © Luke Farley, July 2005
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Tamar Cruising's Tamar Belle (1960, ex-Queen of Helford), at Cremyll
Photo: © Luke Farley, November 2005
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Tamar Cruising's Tamar Belle (1960, ex-Queen of Helford), at Cremyll
Photo: © Luke Farley, November 2005
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Tamar Cruising's Tamar Belle (1960, ex-Queen of Helford), at Cremyll
Photo: © Luke Farley, November 2005
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Tamar Cruising's Tamar Belle (1960, ex-Queen of Helford), at Cremyll
Photo: © Luke Farley, November 2005
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Tamar Cruising's Tamar Belle (1960, ex-Queen of Helford), at Cremyll
Photo: © Luke Farley, October 2006
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Plymouth Sound
(Built: 1987 - Tamar Cruising & Cremyll Ferry: 1987-2011)
 
In 1987 Tamar Cruising & Cremyll Ferry Co took delivery of a new vessel the Plymouth Sound (1987, 49grt). In November 2011, Tamar Cruises and the Plymouth Sound passed to Plymouth Boat Trips, along with access to the Barbican and Mount Edgcumbe piers. The Cremyll Ferry retained its main ferry Northern Belle and backup vessel Tamar Belle (2).


Postcard of Plymouth Sound
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Postcard of Plymouth Sound
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Plymouth Sound
Photo: © Graham Thorne, Mayflower Steps, 2006



Plymouth Sound leaving at the Barbican
Photo: Ian Boyle, 21st May 2011 - all images link to larger copies

PLYMOUTH SOUND - Tamar Cruising - Photo: 2011 Ian Boyle - www.simplonpc.co.ukPLYMOUTH SOUND - Tamar Cruising - Photo: 2011 Ian Boyle - www.simplonpc.co.ukPLYMOUTH SOUND - Tamar Cruising - Photo: 2011 Ian Boyle - www.simplonpc.co.uk



Plymouth Sound passing the Royal William Victualling yards
Photo: Ian Boyle, 3rd September 2011 - all images link to larger copies

PLYMOUTH SOUND - Tamar Cruising - Photo: 2011 Ian Boyle - www.simplonpc.co.ukPLYMOUTH SOUND - Tamar Cruising - Photo: 2011 Ian Boyle - www.simplonpc.co.ukPLYMOUTH SOUND - Tamar Cruising - Photo: 2011 Ian Boyle - www.simplonpc.co.ukPLYMOUTH SOUND - Tamar Cruising - Photo: 2011 Ian Boyle - www.simplonpc.co.ukPLYMOUTH SOUND - Tamar Cruising - Photo: 2011 Ian Boyle - www.simplonpc.co.ukPLYMOUTH SOUND - Tamar Cruising - Photo: 2011 Ian Boyle - www.simplonpc.co.ukPLYMOUTH SOUND - Tamar Cruising - Photo: 2011 Ian Boyle - www.simplonpc.co.uk






Plymouth Sound II
(Built: 1990 - Tamar Cruising & Cremyll Ferry: 1990-1996)
 
In 1990 Tamar Cruising & Cremyll Ferry Co took delivery of another new vessel. She was the Plymouth Sound II (1990, 45 grt). Advertised for sale in late 1996, she now runs at Poole as the Purbeck Pride of R.C.Greenslade.


Purbeck Pride at Poole Quay in R.C.Greenslade service
Photo: © Ian Boyle, 22nd April 2006
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Sound Cruising
(2004- )
 
In 2004, a new player arrived on the Plymouth scene in the shape of the Spirit of Plymouth (2004, 66 grt), designed by her owner, and built locally. She ran under the banner of Sound Cruising, based at Hoe on the Devon side of Plymouth Sound.
 
By 2005 Sound Cruising had taken over Plymouth Boat Cruises, there being insufficient trade for three operators. The Totnes Castle (3) was sold to Ullswater Steamers and, after an epic delivery voyage to Whitehaven, a road trip to Ullswater and a complete refit, she entered service with them as Lady Wakefield in 2007. Weston Maid and the Cawsand Ferry passed to a new operator, N Fox, and Coral Star IV (1962, 13 grt) ex-Paignton, joined the combined Sound Cruising fleet as the Mount Batten Ferry. The Catalina of Tenby (1999, 40 grt) arrived in the summer of 2005 but her stay with Sound Cruising was short lived and she left for Inverness to become the Jacobite Legend the following year.

The cruising part of Sound Cruising passed to Plymouth Boat Trips before the 2013 season along with Spirit of Plymouth and Plymouth Princess . The Mount Batten Ferry and vessels Copper and Plymouth Belle were not part of the sale.



Spirit of Plymouth
(Built: 2004 - Sound Cruising: 2004-2012 )
 
Spirit of Plymouth off Phoenix Wharf
Photo: © Graham Thorne, January 2007
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Spirit of Plymouth on a Plymouth harbour tour
Photo: Ian Boyle, 3rd September 2011 - all images link to larger copies

SPIRIT OF PLYMOUTH - Tamar Cruising - Photo: 2011 Ian Boyle - www.simplonpc.co.ukSPIRIT OF PLYMOUTH - Tamar Cruising - Photo: 2011 Ian Boyle - www.simplonpc.co.ukSPIRIT OF PLYMOUTH - Tamar Cruising - Photo: 2011 Ian Boyle - www.simplonpc.co.ukSPIRIT OF PLYMOUTH - Tamar Cruising - Photo: 2011 Ian Boyle - www.simplonpc.co.ukSPIRIT OF PLYMOUTH - Tamar Cruising - Photo: 2011 Ian Boyle - www.simplonpc.co.uk




Spirit of Plymouth on a Plymouth harbour tour
Photo: Ian Boyle, 25th March 2012 - all images link to larger copies

SPIRIT OF PLYMOUTH - Tamar Cruising - Photo: 2011 Ian Boyle - www.simplonpc.co.ukSPIRIT OF PLYMOUTH - Tamar Cruising - Photo: 2011 Ian Boyle - www.simplonpc.co.ukSPIRIT OF PLYMOUTH - Tamar Cruising - Photo: 2011 Ian Boyle - www.simplonpc.co.uk







Plymouth Princess
(Built: 1921 - Sound Cruising: 2005-2012)
 
Plymouth Princess had run at Southend from 1921 to 1958 as the Britannia I and on the Thames as Thames Britannia to 1982. She was the first boat of Plymouth Boat Cruises in 1982 She passed to Sound Cruising in 2005 and remained in the fleet until 2012 when it passed to Plymouth Boat Trips.


Britannia I running at Southend
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Plymouth Princess at Phoenix Wharf in Sound Cruising ownership
Photo: © Graham Thorne , January 2007



Plymouth Princess at Phoenix Wharf in Sound Cruising ownership
Photo: © Graham Thorne, 2006






Plymouth Belle
(Built: 1960 - Sound Cruising: 2005-2012)
 
Mashford's built the new motor vessel Plymouth Belle for the Millbrook Steamboat & Trading Company in 1961. She passed to Dart Pleasure Craft in 1980, and was later transferred to the River Dart. The tradition of vessel exchanges between Plymouth and Dartmouth was revived at the end of the 2002 season. Plymouth Venturer was sold to Dart Pleasure Craft, becoming their Dart Venturer with former Millbrook vessel, Plymouth Belle (1960), moving in the opposite direction. Plymouth Belle passed to Sound Cruising in 2005, and remained with the Mount batten ferry when Sound Cruising passed to Plymouth Boat Trips.


Plymouth Belle at Plymouth.
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Plymouth Belle on the River Dart.
Photo: © Graham Thorne, September 1990
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Plymouth Belle on the River Dart, in Dart Pleasure Craft ownership.
Photo: © Ian Boyle, 1997.



Plymouth Belle leaving Phoenix Wharf, Plymouth, in Sound Cruising ownership.
Photo: © Graham Thorne.






Coral Star IV
(Built: 1962 - Sound Cruising: 2005-20010)
 
In 2005, Weston Maid and the Cawsand Ferry passed to a new operator, N Fox, and Coral Star IV (1962, 13 grt) ex-Paignton, joined the combined Sound Cruising fleet as the Mount Batten Ferry. It had left the fleet by 2011.  
 
 
Coral Star IV at Mayflower Steps - she is used on the Mount Batten Ferry.
Photo: © Luke Farley
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Catalina
(Built: 1999 - Sound Cruising: 2005-2006)
 
The Catalina of Tenby (1999, 40 grt) arrived in the Sound Cruising fleet in the summer of 2005, but her stay with Sound Cruising was short lived and she left for Inverness to become the Jacobite Legend the following year.


Catalina - in the fleet only for 2005-1006
Photo: © Luke Farley - all Catalina images link to larger copies






K.J.Bridge
 
K.J.Bridge Fleet by Graham Thorne/Ian Boyle:-
K.J.Bridge ran a variety of vessels at Plymouth in the period under consideration. In 1977 K.T.Bridge was running the Duke of Edinburgh (1949, 27 grt). She was an ex-Thames vessel, which came to the Dart in 1972 and to Plymouth in 1973, serving with various owners. In 1981 she had been joined by the Southern Comfort of Plymstock (1938). By 1983 ownership had passed to K.J.Bridge (son?) and she had been joined by Southern Comfort (1955). In 1990 K.J.Bridge replaced her with the new Devon Belle II (1). In 1994 Devon Belle II (1) went to G.H.Ridalls on the Dart as Dartmouth Princess in exchange for the Queen of Helford.
 
By 1997 K.J.Bridge was running the Devon Belle, formerly G.H.Ridalls Dartmothian and he re-acquired the Duke of Edinburgh, now renamed as Devon Belle II (2).
 
By 2000 the Devon Belle had gone and the Queen of Falmouth arrived for a single season. In 2001 the Devon Belle II (2) ran alone, and the following year she was sold to Boston and replaced by the Devon Belle II (3), the former Royal Princess from Inverness. She in turn departed in 2003 to Southend and later Oban. In 2004 the Maid of Exmouth arrived and was renamed Devon Belle V. She had previously run as Southend Belle, Westminster Belle, Maid of Wareham and Maid of Exmouth. Devon Belle V is still running though K.J.Bridge sold her to Ben Squire in 2007, remaining as skipper. K.J.Bridge also owned the Alouette from Falmouth in 2005/6 but never ran her.



Duke of Edinburgh (Built: 1949)
Devon Belle II (2) (K.J.Bridge: 1997-2001)
 
K.J.Bridge ran a variety of vessels at Plymouth in the period under consideration. In 1977 K.T.Bridge was running the Duke of Edinburgh (1949, 27 grt). She was an ex-Thames vessel, which came to the Dart in 1972 and to Plymouth in 1973, serving with various owners. By 1983 ownership had passed to K.J.Bridge (son?). In 1989 she went to V.W.Bristow when K.J.Bridge replaced her with the new Devon Belle II (1). In 1994 Devon Belle II (1) went to G.H.Ridalls on the Dart as Dartmouth Princess in exchange for the Queen of Helford. By 1997 K.J.Bridge was running the Devon Belle, formerly G.H.Ridalls Dartmothian and the former Duke of Edinburgh, renamed as Devon Belle II (2).


Salmon postcard of Duke of Edinburgh
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Devon Belle II (1)
(Built: 1990 - K.J.Bridge: 1990-1994)
 
In 1990 K.J.Bridge replaced Duke of Edinburgh with the new Devon Belle II (1). In 1994 she went to G.H.Ridalls on the Dart as Dartmouth Princess in exchange for the Queen of Helford. She passed to Dart Pleasure Craft in 2000, retaining her name Dartmouth Princess.


Dartmouth Princess in Ridalls Boats colours.
Photo: © Ian Boyle, 1997.



Dartmouth Princess in Dart Pleasure Craft service
Photo: © John Hendy 2007
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Southern Comfort of Plymstock (Built: 1938 - K.T.Bridge: c.1980-1982)
Devon Belle (K.J.Bridge: 1997-2000)
 
The Devon Belle was built by Ferris & Bank, Dartmouth in 1938, as Seymour Castle for the River Dart SB Co. She was sold to Tony & Hilary Soper in 1972 for use on bird watching cruises as the Scomber. After a spell at Plymouth as the Southern Comfort of Plymstock for K.T.Bridge (father of K.J.Bridge?), she returned to the Dart in 1982 for Ridalls as the Dartmothian. Between 1997 and 2000 she ran as the Devon Belle for K.J.Bridge at Plymouth.


Dennis postcard T.0601 of Seymour Castle (3) in River Dart SB Co ownership
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Postcard of Dartmouth with Ridalls Dartmothian on the far right.



Dartmothian in Ridalls ownership
Photo: © Graham Thorne, September 1990
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Queen of Falmouth (2000)
 
Built: 1937 - 34 gross tons - 56 ft long - 100 passengers
 
Queen of Falmouth was built as the Maid of Bute in 1937 and served at Rothesay. She is the sister of the Queen of the Fal, and it quite remarkable that they should both meet again on the Fal after so many years and with such similar names. After service as Maid of Bute she became the Maid of the Forth running on the Forth and at Southend before coming to the Fal for the Pill family in 1998 and receiving her current name. She spent one year in Plymouth 2000 with K.J.Bridge and passed to Cornwall Ferries in 2003. Completely rebuilt 2004 and now on St Mawes Ferry.


Maid of the Forth (behind) and New Skylark at at the Southend jetty, adjacent to the pier.
E.T.W.Dennis postcard S004078L - Photo: S.R.Searle
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Queen of Falmouth leaving St Mawes for the Prince of Wales Pier
Photo: © Ian Boyle, 23rd July 2008
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Devon Belle II (3)
(Built: 1967 - K.J.Bridge: 2002-2003)
 
In 2002 the Devon Belle II (3) replaced the Devon Belle II (2), She was the former Royal Princess (1967) from Cruise Loch Ness at Fort Augustus. Devon Belle II (3) in turn departed in 2003 to Southend and later Oban.


Devon Belle II at Halcon Yard, Canvey Island
Photo: Roger Bolton, May 2003
DEVON BELLE II - Photo:  Roger Bolton






Devon Belle V
(Built: 1947 - K.J.Bridge: 2004-2006)
 
In 2004 the Maid of Exmouth arrived and was renamed Devon Belle V. She had previously run as Southend Belle, Westminster Belle, Maid of Wareham and Maid of Exmouth. Devon Belle V was still running in 2007, although K.J.Bridge had sold her to Ben Squire, whilst remaining as skipper. In the 1970s she had run at Falmouth as Westminster Belle with the Pill family.
 
She is the last surviving independent boat working in Plymouth and sails from their traditional site at West Hoe Steps where Plymouth's pier once stood. From 2010 she has run for Plymouth Boat Trips as Devon Belle.


Devon Belle V at her mooring in Sutton Harbour
Photo: © Graham Thorne, April 2007
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Devon Belle V at Plymouth
Photo: © Jonathan Brown
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Other Plymouth Boats
 
Plymouth Independent Operators since 1985 - by Graham Thorne:-
As well as the activities of the Millbrook Company and its successors Plymouth had a tradition of independent boatmen who offered trips mainly to see the Dockyard and Warships. The independents operated mainly from West Hoe Steps, which are on the site of Plymouth's Promenade Pier, destroyed in the Plymouth Blitz. Sadly the twenty odd years since 1985 has seen the decline of the independents almost to extinction. Here are those known to have operated since 1985.
R J Bindon - ran the Westminster Belle 1989-1991 and the Plymouth Explorer 1991-2000. She was built for the Fleetwood-Knott End Ferry as Viking 66. Later went to Thames and broken up 2006.
W R Bindon - ran Marina II 1991-1993
V W Bristow - ran the Southern Comfort in the late 1980s and the
Duke of Edinburgh 1989-1997
D O Crawford - ran Argus c.1989-1993
B Curtin - ran Zodiac 1991-1994
R J Elworthy - ran the Content 1987-1989 and the Skylark II 1987-1993
J Fildew - ran the Mayflower c.1985-1991
Fish 'n' Trips - charters and angling trips since 2006
F T Goves - ran the Content 1985-1987. She was one of the Mitchell launches built for Cload c.1940. Later ran at Fleetwood and on Thames. Sold for private use on Trent 1998.
A & D Smith - new vessel
Silver Crest since 1999, mainly for charters




Unidentified
 
An attractive Hinde postcard of an unidentified fleet of launches at the Barbican, Plymouth
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My Queen
(R.J.Elworthy: 197?-197? - built 1929)
 
My Queen was built in 1929 and was a Dunkirk veteran. Between 1962-1970 she served with George Wheeler Launches on the Thames. In 1975 she passed to W.Jackson, also on the Thames. My Queen was bought by Dart Pleasure Craft in the late 1970s after a spell in Plymouth with R.J.Elworthy, and was given a covered cabin in 1982. She was used to take President Mitterand of France on a tour of Dartmouth Harbour in 1984, the 40th Anniversary of D-Day. In 1987 she was in service with G.H.Ridalls & Sons, remaining with them until 2000 when the company was bought by Dart Pleasure Craft, although the acquisition did not include My Queen. After a period of disuse, she re-entered service with B.R.J.Rackley, who operates the Exmouth-Starcross ferry and local excursions. She remained with successors J.& M.Rackley (Exe to Sea Cruises) in 2007, by which time My Queen was 76 years old.


My Queen in Ridalls colours on the River Dart, seen from Dartmouth Castle.
Photo: © Ian Boyle, 1997.



My Queen in Ridalls colours on the River Dart.
Photo: © Ian Boyle, 1997.



My Queen in Ridalls colours on the River Dart.
Photo: © Ian Boyle, 1997.



My Queen at Totnes on the River Dart.
Photo: © Ian Boyle, 1997.






Silver Crest
(Built: 1997 - A & D Smith: 1997- )
 
Silver Crest has been run by A & D Smith as Silverline Cruises since 1997, mainly for charters.


Silver Crest
Photo: © Graham Thorne, September 1990
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Weston Maid
(Built: 1960 - N.Fox: 2005-2009)
 
1995 saw the Cawsand Ferry vessel Weston Maid (1960) come under the Plymouth Boat Cruises banner. Weston Maid and the Cawsand Ferry passed to a new operator, N Fox, in 2005. In 2010 she is owned by Ben Squire of Plymouth Boat Trips.


N Fox's Weston Maid (1960) leaving Mayflower Steps, Plymouth for Cawsand - her regular service
Photo: © Graham Thorne, June 2006
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