The Rendezvous Hotel in Skipton in North Yorkshire is to launch a new £300,000 electric-powered restaurant boat that will give groups the opportunity to experience the tranquillity and scenery of the Leeds and Liverpool Canal.
The ‘Eco Swan’, which is due to enter service later in the summer, is 60 feet (18 metres) in length and can seat up to 60. It has been specially designed to be both a restaurant and a function space. The interior is flexible to accommodate different requirements, from executive dining for 36, to lunchtime and evening meals, and parties and other functions.
The steel-hulled boat has wheelchair access, is fully air-conditioned and has a bar and toilets. Large double-glazed windows and a headroom of nearly seven feet (two metres) offers a spacious interior. Floodlights are fitted to the roof to illuminate the canal banks on evening cruises. The boat is also fully heated for all-year-round use. Food is freshly cooked in the hotel’s own kitchens and brought aboard to be prepared in a purpose-built galley area at the rear of the boat. A 20kw motor is powered by a bank of sealed, rechargeable batteries weighing 4200 kg, giving a quieter, ecologically friendly, vibration-free cruise.
The launch of the new boat will be the culmination of a long-held wish by the owner of the Rendezvous Hotel, Malcolm Weaving. Commenting on the boat, he says: “In 2018 we introduced a new dinner cruise option for our groups and other guests using a boat from a local trip boat owner. This proved extremely popular, giving groups and our other guests the opportunity to enjoy a relaxing cruise and good food along the tranquil Leeds and Liverpool Canal. However, I was keen to have a boat of my own that we could use both as a restaurant and for functions. However, because we’ve been developing the hotel’s eco-friendly credentials, including the introduction of a biomass heating system and electric car-charging points, I wanted the new boat to be fully electric, hence the name ‘Eco Swan’. It is the first 60-feet-long, 14-feet-wide electric dining barge on any canal in Great Britain. Not only will it offer a peaceful way to see more of the wonderful scenery in this part of Yorkshire but it will also provide an additional function space for the many groups who choose to stay with us during the year.”
‘Eco Swan’ has been built to strict Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) regulations and has been approved to operate on the Leeds and Liverpool Canal by the Canal & River Trust. The two-person crew will be accredited by the MCA. The cabin crew and bar staff will be members of the Rendezvous Hotel staff.
To aid movement the boat is fitted with bow thrusters. Steering is by a power-assisted electronic hydraulic joystick. The wheelhouse is located at the rear of the boat and extends above the roof of the passenger cabin to give excellent forward visibility. The wheelhouse can be lowered to enable the boat to pass under low bridges.
For more information about dinner cruises, go to www.rendezvous-skipton.co.uk