Waverley on the South Coast 2011 Part 4


Report by Martin Longhurst

Pictures by Dave Bassett (DB), Jeremy Gold (JG) and Martin Longhurst (ML)


Monday 19 September 2011 was an off-service day at Southampton which was just as well as the weather had not improved.   There was some hope of a sailing on Tuesday and the steamer left Southampton for Swanage.  However, she found that conditions outside sheltered waters were outside her operating limits, and Captain O’Brian sailed her on to Weymouth to be ready for Wednesday’s cruise.

Conditions on Wednesday had improved a lot and the full cruise from Weymouth to Swanage, Bournemouth and Yarmouth for a cruise around Portsmouth Harbour.   However, it was not possible to make the second call at Bournemouth and passengers were returned there by coach from Swanage.   The timetable already provided for a coach return to Weymouth.  Meanwhile, Waverley headed back east to Portsmouth Harbour Station Pier for the night.  


Alongside Portsmouth Harbour Station Pier on Thursday morning (DB)

This put her in the right place for Thursday’s trip to Yarmouth, Bournemouth and Swanage for a cruise towards Lulworth Cove.   This went ahead in good weather but unfortunately there was a 45 minute delay at Bournemouth as a passenger had been taken ill.   This precluded passengers taking their trip on the Swanage Railway and the steamer had to curtail her afternoon cruise off Kimmeridge Ledge.

On the return to Portsmouth, Captain Ian Clark joined the steamer as his Thames pilotage exemption would be needed to reach Tilbury where the steamer’s next voyage would end.   On arrival there mid-morning on Friday, Captain O’Brian left the ship to return to Glasgow Office.  Fuel and stores were taken before the paddler headed for Tower Pier to give the PSPS Evening Charter.   This took 617 passengers for a short cruise to Silvertown and back.


Approaching Tower Bridge on Friday evening (DB)


Passing under Tower Bridge - note the fake paddler Dixie Queen to the right (DB)


Returning after the evening cruise (DB)


Tenacious followed the paddler out of the Upper Pool on Saturday morning (DB)

Having spent the night alongside Tower Pier, Saturday’s sailing took the paddler to Tilbury and Southend for a trip to view the Thames Forts.   Good numbers were carried throughout the day.  


Kingswear Castle whistles to announce her appearance off Southend Pier (ML)

While we were tied up at Southend on the first call, we enjoyed a steam-past by Kingswear Castle.  


Passing Red Sands Fort (ML)


Rounding Shivering Sands Fort (ML)


Sunset over the QE2 Bridge (JG)


The laser beam marking the Greenwich Meridian (ML)

(The green line running left from the funnel)


Arrival back at Tower Bridge (JG)

On our return to London, Silver Bonito was in Waverley’s berth so there was a short delay before she could be brought alongside at the end of the day.   After a further night alongside, she retraced her steps down river but turned south after Southend to enter the River Medway to meet PS Kingswear Castle for the steamers’ annual “official” rendezvous.


The Dutch sail training ship Amsterdam passed near Rainham (ML)


The Medway pilot joins the paddler (DB)

This followed a different pattern this year as Waverley did not go much further upstream than the Thamesport container terminal.   This meant she could turn without the assistance of a tug.  KC made two circuits of the larger paddler accompanied by much waving and whistling.


KC whistles her welcome (DB)


Ever Amber alongside at Thamesport (ML)


Note the Historic Ship Ensign flown by KC (DB)


ML sporting the multi-coloured rendezvous hat (DB)


The QE2 Bridge just after Sunday’s sunset (ML)


Waverley being swung by tug Revenge before giving the last part of Sunday’s sail back to Tilbury (ML)

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