RNLI Charter Report

Waverley was chartered by the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) as part of its celebrations of its 175th anniversary. The RNLI's national headquarters are situated at Poole, Dorset and the celebrations took place there and at nearby Bournemouth, where the 18th International Lifeboat Federation Conference was being held to coincide with the Anniversary Celebrations.

After the final sailing of her Bristol Channel season on Sunday 20 June, the paddler headed west to round Land's End for the South Coast. Bunkers were taken at Southampton before the first part of the three day charter. This was an evening cruise from Bournemouth Pier for 260 guests of the RNLI on Tuesday 22 June who enjoyed an extensive buffet on board.

The main event took place on Wednesday at Poole. The Waverley was berthed at Ballast Quay which is opposite Town Quay, the paddler's berth in past years. A grandstand had been erected opposite Ballast Quay and the Lifeboat Flotilla sailed between this and the Waverley. Among the vessels in the Flotilla were lifeboats ancient and modern from Britain and overseas. The climax of proceedings was an aerobatic display by the RAF Red Arrows. After this, the Waverley took her complement of 280 dignatories and benefactors for a four hour sea cruise along the Dorset coast past Swanage.

The final day of the charter (Thursday) saw Waverley back at Bournemouth Pier for a morning cruise with a difference. She set off eastwards but after a mile or so stopped. She was accompanied by modern lifeboats from, amongst other countries, Britain, Canada, Germany, Holland and Sweden. The idea was to use Waverley as a floating base so that Conference delegates could visit these lifeboats while they were put through their paces. Finally, each lifeboat came past the Waverley at speed before the fleet headed off to Cowes to visit the builders of the Atlantic inshore lifeboats. Subsequently, the fleet went on to Portsmouth where their crews were entertained to dinner aboard HMS Warrior.

After dropping her remaining passengers at Bournemouth, the Waverley took bunkers at Weymouth before heading north to Glasgow. She arrived at Anderston Quay at 0530 on Saturday 26 June ready to commence her Clyde season the following day.

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