The Broads Sees First New Design of Picnic Boat Launched in Sixty Years

Leading boat operator, Herbert Woods, based in Potter Heigham, Norfolk, has launched a brand new Picnic Boat, ‘Starlight 24,’ which is the first new design of the original Picnic Boat designed by Herbert Woods in 60 years.

In celebration of Herbert Woods’ pioneering 90 year history, the company is introducing ten new day hire Starlight 24 Picnic Boats, with the first being launched in January and another nine being built at its boat yard in Potter Heigham to be made available for hire on The Broads in time for the Easter holidays.

Michael Whittaker, Partner of Herbert Woods says: “This is a proud day for Herbert Woods and the team that has worked hard to achieve the new design and build of Starlight 24. Herbert Woods pioneered the ‘Starlight’ picnic boat in the 1930’s and I think he would have been delighted to see his first design transcended into what we have here today.”

Set to revolutionise the day hire market with its on board facilities, it has enough space for up to ten people. The 24 ft picnic boat comprises the home-from-home luxuries you would expect from a modern holiday cruiser, including a gas hob, sink, fridge, hot and cold water, heating and a toilet.

Made from fibre glass, Starlight 24, is easy to steer, with full views front and back and it has a quiet engine. It has a twin-slide canopy and a forward sun-deck for day trippers to take advantage of the sunny weather, together with comfortable seating areas.

The technical design was produced by the acclaimed boat architect, Andrew Wolstenholme, who has a diverse career designing every kind of classic and modern boat on the water both in the UK and overseas of which around 50 Broads yachts have been built to Andrew’s designs.

Starlight 24 day boat hire from Potter Heigham includes fuel, damage waiver, crockery, cutlery, kettle, teapot, tin opener, corkscrew, chopping board and kitchen knife. The costs are from £160 to £200 from 9am to 4pm or 5pm depending on the season.

Prior to departing on their day trip, everyone on board will be provided with a tutorial and safety briefing by one of the Herbert Woods team, life jackets for all passengers, a full tank of fuel and a map of the Norfolk Broads.

For more information call 0800 144 4472 or click the link Picnic Boat Hire


Editor’s Notes / Background

Background to technical designer Andrew Wolstenholme;

Herbert Woods joined the family firm of Walter Woods & Sons in 1922, due to his father’s ailing health, and built his first hire cruiser, ‘Speed of Light’, in his own workshop in 1926.   In 1930 he undertook the huge project of digging out two acres of marshland by hand to form a marina, ‘Broads Haven’, the very first of its type in the UK.

During the Second World War, Herbert Woods undertook work for The Admiralty and Air Ministry, employing over 300 staff and building more than 200 vessels including Air Sea Rescue Launches, Pinnaces, Motor Torpedo Boats, 72ft Motor Launches, 52ft Harbour Launches and the renowned Airborne Lifeboats.  Throughout the war the hire cruiser fleet was moored across Hickling and Wroxham Broads to deter enemy flying boats from landing.

In addition to building up a fleet of 18 ‘Lady’ hire yachts by 1939, the company also contributed significantly to the creation of:

The Norfolk Punt Club in 1926 – Punts were originally used by wildfowlers, but they were then developed for racing under sail.  Herbert and his father before him were famous for designing and building ever faster racing craft, many of which are still sailing in the Club.

The ‘Lady’ Yacht Club in 1945 – formed primarily to encourage the younger members of staff to get out on the water and learn to sail, using the ‘Lady’ hire yachts.  The Club exists to this day.

14ft Norfolk Dinghy – designed and first built in 1930 by Herbert Woods, these racing dinghies are now much treasured by their owners and have become an iconic class for the Norfolk sailing fraternity –  a total of 86 were built.

90th Celebration Party!

*Regatta – Sunday 10th July 2016 at Potter Heigham, Norfolk 

Water frolics, canoe races, ‘Spark of Light’ trips, village fete, games, face-painting, build you own boat and race it and owners of Herbert Woods boats taking part.

The only surviving original ‘Starlight’ cruiser will be attending the Regatta!