The Allen Gardiner was built in Miami Florida in 1942 as a South African Air Force air/sea rescue launch, and has the character of a fine wooden ship. She is 63 feet long and weighs over 46 tons gross register. When built, she was capable of 42 knots (about 50 mph). During 2011 she underwent a six month rebuild, with all planking above the waterline being replaced.
The Alan Gardiner cruises the river from Ipswich. It is a river of contrasts, leaving from the Wet Dock, cruising past the Port of Ipswich, the largest grain and timber facility in England, right down to the Port of Felixstowe, the largest container terminal in Britain. Between the two, however, is one of the most picturesque river shorelines in East Anglia and the renowned Orwell Bridge.
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