Waverley on the South Coast 2011 Part 1


Report and pictures by Martin Longhurst


Waverley completed her main Scottish season at Ayr on Monday evening, 31 August 2011.   Soon she was heading south and enjoyed a swift passage, arriving at Weymouth on Wednesday morning.  Her first 2011 South Coast sailing was on Friday being a circular trip to Portland and Lulworth and back to Weymouth with almost 400 on board.   Then she positioned to Southampton, calling at Swanage, with coach return, taking about 120.


Recently awarded plaque in the Engine Room alleyway

On Saturday the steamer started her regular timetable with a sailing from Southampton, Portsmouth and Yarmouth and then Round the Isle of Wight.    A good number were on board for the first leg to Portsmouth with a fair number joining there, about 450 sailing along the Solent.  



Rounding The Needles

About twenty more were on board for the circumnavigation which was executed in a counter-clockwise direction.   The weather gradually improved through the day with a light south-westerly breeze meaning still air on the deck between The Needles and Bembridge.  


Wight Sky enters Yarmouth Harbour as Waverley approaches the Pier




Sunday dawned with a heavy, grey sky with drizzle in the air as the steamer prepared to sail to Yarmouth, Bournemouth, Swanage and Weymouth.   Departure from Southampton was delayed by two large cargo ships passing Waverley’s berth from further up Southampton Water.   The paddler was able to slip her moorings at 09.13 but progress out to sea was restricted by the speed of the preceding vessels.    Finally the steamer was able to turn away to the west only to run into mist which necessitated a reduction in speed.   On the Solent there are lots of small craft, such as dinghies, which do not show up on the radar, meaning that we could only proceed at reduced speed.   Landfall at Yarmouth was made just after 11.00 and Purser Pat Murrell announced that the Captain was considering the best course of action for the rest of the day.


Waverley alongside at Southampton



Unfortunately a Force 8 gale was forecast for later in the day.   In the event, Captain O’Brian decided that predicted conditions dictated that the paddler should remain in the sheltered waters of the Solent.   The decision was taken to offer an alternative cruise round Portsmouth Dockyard followed by a couple of hours ashore at Yarmouth.    Just over 100 took advantage of the substitute offering.  


We followed Brittany Ferries’ Normandie into Portsmouth Harbour


The Clyde-built newly commissioned HMS Dragon in the Dockyard – note reduced masts of HMS Victory over her foredeck

By the time we left Portsmouth Harbour the sun had come out but the wind was starting to freshen, as forecast.   The steamer berthed at Yarmouth for the second time at about 15.15 and everyone got off, either to go home or to enjoy a short stay on the Isle of Wight.   Waverley set off for Southampton at 17.00, ending her day early an hour and a half later.


Car carrier Morning Celine outbound – Red Falcon inbound

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