Trials and Tribulations

Saturday May 30 was a beautiful day despite the official weather forecast. Waverley sailed from Bristol to Clevedon, Penarth and Ilfracombe for time ashore. A good crowd was carried including a evening showboat from Penarth to Ilfracombe with a coach return. Unfortunately there was a 45 minute delay taking water at Penarth as there had been no opportunity to top up earlier in the day. So it was that the paddler was carefully maneourvred round the lock entrance to the Cumberland Basin and then steamed off into the darkness under the Clifton Suspension Bridge.

Photo by Martin Longhurst


Minutes later, while rounding the notorious Horseshoe Bend in the River Avon, Waverley touched bottom on the outside of the Bend. In the darkness a lifeboat was used to carry a hawser across the River to the inside of the Bend where the Port of Bristol has thoughfully provided some stout ballards. Using the windlass, assisted by the main engine, the vessel was refloated. Although the river bed is mainly sandy, Waverley managed to find two small rocks which made a small hole in the hull. This was not substantial and she was able to proceed under her own power to Swansea for repairs to the platework and frames in drydock. As predicted, she was able to resume sailing on the following Saturday June 6.

Waverley rounds the Horseshoe Bend going upstream in 1997

Photo by Ashley Gill

The weather intervened during the following week causing the cancellation of yet more sailings. Conditions had abated by Friday June 12 and Waverley was able to sail again from Bristol. The weather remained poor for the ensuing weekend. The bird watching cruise from Milford Haven went ahead on the Sunday in choppy seas with 750 on board.

Waverley has now returned to her native waters and has commenced her summer season on the Clyde.

Return to Waverley's 1998 Season