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Potter Heigham boating firm revives iconic brand

PUBLISHED: 08:00 12 May 2014 | UPDATED: 08:20 12 May 2014

Herbert Woods partners Michael Whitaker and Amanda Walker on the restored Connoisseur boat

Herbert Woods partners Michael Whitaker and Amanda Walker on the restored Connoisseur boat

Archant

One of the most iconic names associated with boating holidays on the Norfolk Broads is making a comeback this summer.

In a £1m deal with the international group Crown Travel, Potter Heigham-based Herbert Woods last autumn acquired 30 cruisers built by Wroxham firm Porter and Haylett.

Branded as Connoisseur Cruisers the fleet had become a favourite on the Broads in the 1990s but the craft were rebranded as LeBoat in a later takeover by Crown Travel.

Now, following a winter refurbishment programme costing nearly £100,000, Herbert Woods has relaunched the ‘Admiral’ and ‘Emperor’ cruisers under the original name of Connoisseur.

Designed specifically for the Broads, the cruisers, which can sleep up to eight, have cabins with ensuite bathrooms and spacious saloons featuring sliding canopies so people can enjoy the fine weather.

Herbert Woods marketing director Amanda Walker said: “Generations of holidaymakers on the Broads will be familiar with the Connoisseur name and I am sure it will bring back many happy memories for lots of people.

“The boats will complement our existing fleet and we are proud to be able to restore another part of the Broads’ boating heritage.”

She said the refurbishment had included new flooring, new upholstery and little touches such as towel rails and new mirrors.

Ms Walker said: “The Connoisseur boats are letting really well and the booking figures for our fleet overall show we are 27pc up on the same period last year.”

A recent episode of ITV’s Weekend Escapes featuring actor Warwick Davis on one of their elite cruisers, Olympic Light, had led to their website crashing through over-demand and bookings since had been “amazing”.

They had given out more than 100 brochures at last weekend’s Horning Boat Show and already taken one holiday booking directly from it.

There will be an opportunity for people to see the new Connoisseur cruisers, and others in the Herbert Woods’ fleet, at an open weekend from May 23 to 26 at its Potter Heigham marina as part of the British Marine Federation National Water Sports Month.

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