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Words and Pictures by Martin Longhurst
On Saturday 14 September, Waverley was on charter to the National Trust for a leisurely day cruise round the Isle of Wight from Portsmouth, having first to sail light from Southampton. The circumnavigation also took in Peveril Point, near Swanage, and Fawley on Southampton Water. In the evening a second cruise was given to the charterer, but with no berth available at Portsmouth after the ferry had changed to one boat, the paddler had to land her passengers at Southampton with coaches home.
She returned to public service on Sunday with the customary sail from Southampton to Yarmouth, Bournemouth, Swanage and Weymouth. Over 200 joined at Southampton for the 09.00 departure down Southampton Water and into the Western Solent.
Yarmouth was gained by 10.15, which was just as well as it took 10 minutes to embark the waiting passengers. Similarly at Bournemouth, the 20 minute early arrival allowed time to increase the complement to 684 for the 40 minute hop to Swanage. Here, a large number got off to visit the delightful town or to take the steam railway to Corfe Castle. It was, in fact, the occasion of the Railway's Autumn Gala.
Anchored near Weymouth we encountered the Tyne-built RFA Fort George
Coming alongside Weymouth Pleasure Pier
Passengers making their way back on board after time ashore at Weymouth
On a more northerly course we had a good view of Fort George and two freighters also at anchor off Portland Bill
Extra passengers joined at Weymouth for the afternoon cruise to Bournemouth with coach return. Leaving Swanage the steamer carried her maximum load all day at 729 passengers. This beat the Balmoral's load of 711 on her Bristol Channel cruise at the same time. A further one-way cruise was given from Bournemouth to Southampton, with two coach loads to go back.
The balloon goes up at Bournemouth!
The moon rose over the Needles as we steamed eastward
The view back from the Bridge as the sun sets astern of the ship
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