A TINTERN boat enthusiast has converted a diesel-engined whaler into a steam boat and launched it on the Wye.

Jim Simpson, who has always had a boat on the Wye, bought the project from a friend who was suffering from ill health and thought this was “an opportunity too good to miss”.

One of Jim’s previous boats was an Admiralty whaler, and thought “how nice it would be to have a steam engine in a whaler instead of a noisy diesel engine.”

He has renamed it “The Belle Marie” after the last steam boat to work out of the old port of Brockweir and it is the first steam-powered boat on the river for 100 years.

The 27-foot former whaler is equipped with a 10hp steam engine and boiler which Jim has converted to run on both wood and coal.

The Belle Marie is currently moored in the Wye at Tintern and Jim is looking for a crew.