According to sonline.hu, the 171st sailing season started with a ship inauguration at Lake Balaton. The ship called “National Regatta 2016 Siófok” was inaugurated by László Mosóczi, the Deputy State Secretary of Transportation of the Ministry of National Development.
The ship, which can fit 180 people, was renovated and reconstructed by the Balaton Nautical Inc. (Bahart). After last year’s catamaran called “Siófok”, this is their second completely accessible ship. During the renovation, the whole interior of the body built in 1960 was changed. The ship now has Wi-Fi access, and people in wheelchairs can also move conveniently on board.
The ship that was rebuilt from 150 million forints (~EUR 481,000) is quite fast, it can even reach a speed above 20 km/h. In comparison, the catamaran “Siófok” shears the water with a speed of 12 km/h. The colleagues of the corporation have been working on the project for months. Executive director József Kollár pronounced how thankful he is to them, in his inauguration speech.
He added that the Balaton Nautical Inc. plans on following this path of development. “Our income has grown by more than 10% last year” said József Kollár. He mentioned that, what’s even more important than the economic results is the customer focus, which has become a basic requirement. Moreover, they are now on the way of modernization after decades of lagging behind.
The ship was inaugurated by László Mosóczi, the Deputy State Secretary of Transportation, who didn’t only emphasize the outstanding role of tourism in national economy, but also talked about public road, railway and cycling route developments concerning Balaton. He highlighted that Bahart could give 2.1 billion forints (~EUR 6.7m) to the development of harbours, and 4.9 billion forints (~EUR 15.7m) to the modernization of the fleet. A Fonyód-Badacsony ferry line is also being planned from a budget of 5.6 billion forints (~EUR 17.9m).
“We finally feel like Lake Balaton has an owner. Locals can think of the Hungarian government as their ally, and the development intentions at Balaton already have visible signs” said Mihály Witzmann, Member of Parliament, who also characterised the newest ship of the Bahart fleet as a symbol, which doesn’t only stand for the corporation, but also the development of the region. Among others, the Mayor of Siófok, Róbert Lengyel also welcomed “National Regatta”, by which he believes that the city has been enriched.
The newly inaugurated ship was partly named after a sailing festival, which was first held in the summer of 2016 in the centre of the corporation. 50 teams have already entered this year’s National Regatta – The Sailing Competition of Hungarian Settlements. The second part of the ship’s name, “Siófok 2016”, represents the host city’s victory in 2016, this is why the name of the ship will slightly change every year. So “National Regatta” will shear the water of Balaton every year, called by the name of the settlement that wins the sailing race.