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Broads' first green fair princess

PUBLISHED: 13:08 27 August 2010 | UPDATED: 11:58 16 September 2010

A COUPLE from south Humberside will today have the honour of leading a green revolution when they climb aboard the gleaming, new Fair Princess at Norfolk Broads Direct in Wroxham.

A COUPLE from south Humberside will today have the honour of leading a green revolution when they climb aboard the gleaming, new Fair Princess at Norfolk Broads Direct in Wroxham.

The holidaymakers will be taking charge of the first hire boat on the Broads powered by a hybrid diesel/electric engine.

And to mark the significant step, the craft's name plate is written in green lettering instead of the company's traditional blue.

The engine, built by the French firm Nanni and imported by A R Peachment, of Brundall, gives the option of powering the 31ft cruiser by diesel or electric.

Paul Greasley, managing director of Norfolk Broads Direct, said the beauty of the system was that the electric motor recharged itself while the diesel engine was operating.

“During their holiday, a customer could halve their diesel bill by switching to electric on alternate days,” he said.

“And it is perfect for people wildlife-spotting on the Broads as the electric motor does not create a disturbance.”

He also highlighted the advantage over existing electric boats, which relied on charging points being available at moorings.

He said: “It is a major step as it costs £12,000 more to do it this way and we are the first company on the Broads to make the investment.”

But he said they were confident the proportion of clients going for greener options was on the increase.

“Fair Princess only went on our website three weeks ago and she is not in our brochure yet, but we have already had bookings from five customers,” he said.

The £80,000 craft, which has a double cabin and luxury fittings, represents part of a £3m-plus capital investment the company is making over two-and-a-half years.

Mr Greasley said: “We started the year with 43 boats and now have 46, with another 14 in the pipeline.”

Among the new additions will be five new 40ft, six-berth Sovereign cruisers with environmentally-friendly low-wash hulls.

The company, which specialises in upmarket boats and even offers the option of a whirlpool bath, is not quite matching the bookings of last year's record-breaking season.

However, Mr Greasley's wife Barbara said: “Bookings for next season are ahead of where they were this time last year and our top-end Fair President is already fully booked for next August.”

Ian Russell, chairman of the Broads Tourism Forum, said Norfolk Broads Direct deserved praise for being the first to take such a significant step in investing in green technology.

He said he was sure other yards would be watching and believed such technology represented the future on the Broads.

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