South Coast & Thames Part 5

Report and picture by Martin Longhurst

On Friday 17 September 2010, Waverley carried out her Needles cruise as planned and repeated the same calling pattern on the Saturday, but continued all the way around the Island from Yarmouth in glorious, calm conditions.  


Look back towards Tennyson Down

On our arrival back, Chris Philips announced that the 4 hour 10 minute sailing time was one of the fastest he’d been on.


On the run back to Portsmouth we encountered Grand Princess outbound from Southampton

The Sunday was a contrast as a strong south-westerly breeze had sprung up and the sun was only an occasional visitor.  


Our departure from Southampton was delayed by the “clear channel” vessel Houston Express (above) leaving the port just ahead of us. 


The SevernLink fleet laid up at Hythe, with Fawley Oil Refinery in the background

After the Yarmouth call we ventured through the Hurst Narrows into a rough sea.  


Coastguard practice in Totland Bay

Gradually things calmed down as we gained shelter from the Isle of Purbeck but things were still too lively to attempt a call at Bournemouth Pier.  So we turned for Swanage Bay which is well sheltered from the south west, allowing a trouble free berthing.

Captain O’Brian decided that the weather would not allow a transit along the Jurassic Coast to Weymouth.   Passengers for Weymouth were offered three choice:  time ashore in Swanage with a partial refund, a train ride on the Swanage Railway or a trip to Yarmouth and back.   So the paddler headed east, making good time with the wind and tide behind her.   Landfall was made at the West Wight port and passengers were allowed an hour ashore.   Back on board we had a brief Solent cruise, turning off Newtown Harbour, before steaming westward into the wind and tide to make Swanage Pier.

Passengers were exchanged and then a smooth passage back to the Isle of Wight.  The locos running on the Steam Railway were the ex LSWR M7 53 and the ex LBSCR Terrier ‘Martello.’   On time, we slipped our ropes at Yarmouth and steamed off on our final leg to Southampton.  


Die hard enthusiasts gather round the Engine Room sky light to keep warm as night falls!

Then the fickle finger of fate struck again, as the paddler had to slow right down as another “clear channel” vessel – this time an enormous car carrier – was outbound.   Finally, she emerged from Southampton Water and rounded the Bramble Bank, and allowed us to steam home at Full Ahead.


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