The Excelsior Steam Yachts
Are you Brave or Very Brave? Don’t be fooled by its Edwardian elegance – this steam-powered white-knuckle ride makes grown men shriek!
About the Excelsior Steam Yachts
This impressive set of 1920s steam-driven yachts is one of only two or three surviving examples of a very popular ride in Britain at the turn of the 20th century. Two ‘yachts’ swing under steam power to an almost vertical angle which, although appearing sedate from the ground, gives it a kick which makes it one of our most popular rides with thrill-seekers. Less intrepid riders can still enjoy the yachts by sitting in the central yellow seats which, due to centrifugal force, are much gentler than those marked ‘brave’ and ‘very brave’.
Here at Carters we aim to present vintage rides and attractions as authentically as possible, while maintaining high modern safety standards. The Steam Yachts (like all our rides) undergoes rigorous modern safety checks and passes an ADIPS test by an independent body every year which deems it safe to operate. To feel the thrills as the Edwardians did before us, you must hold on by putting your arms behind the bar at the back of the seat.
Who can ride, and what does it cost?
You must be over 1.05m tall to ride on the middle (yellow) seats, and over 1.2m tall to ride on any seat. The ride costs 6 tokens per person.
A brief history of the Excelsior steam yachts
Built for showman Joe Ling by Savages in 1921, we bought it in a sorry state from a scrapyard in Scotland in the early 1980s and set about giving it a full overhaul and thorough restoration. Sadly a lot of the original intricate carving had been lost (it is believed to have been the most elaborate machine Savages ever made when it was built). Another victim of progress was its original engine, which was scrapped in the 1950s when boiler safety inspections were introduced.
Showman Harry Lee, who was running his own set of yachts at the time, very generously sold us the engine Yorky, which had originally powered the Waddington yachts. Harry was a very enthusiastic supporter of Carters Steam Fair, and he accompanied the restored yachts on their first season with us, providing help and teaching the family how to drive them. Yorky, built in 1901, is still going strong, entertaining families every weekend through the summer.
Find out more
At selected locations you can join Joby Carter for a 1 hour guided tour talking about the history of our rides and fairground art through the decades. Book tickets here.