THERE could still be smooth sailing ahead for troubled plans to set up a £3 million ferry service between Ilfracombe and South Wales.

The Severn Link company is in talks with potential new investors to refloat the scheme, which had been eagerly anticipated as a regeneration lifeline between the Bristol Channel coasts.

Plans to start the service at Easter were delayed by difficulties securing landing facilities at Swansea, then dealt a further blow after the original project investor pulled put.

But Severn Link founder Chris Marrow has revealed the company is in discussion with potential new backers.

“We’ve certainly not given up on the ferry project,” he said.

“We had delays in getting started and the investor deciding to pull out left us without the necessary funding to keep going.

“But we have negotiations going on with interested parties and we will make an announcement as soon as appropriate.

“I maintain as I have always done that there should be ferry services in the Bristol Channel and it would be in everybody’s interest if we could get them started.”

In addition to the proposed 50-minute passenger service between Swansea and Ilfracombe, Severn Link was also considering a route between South Wales and Somerset.

The pair of catamaran FastCat ferries originally purchased from Wightlink and decked out in the Severn Link livery had been reported as for sale on a commercial website, but Mr Marrow said the vessels were still available.