Waverley on the South Coast 2011 Part 5


Report by Martin Longhurst

Pictures by Jeremy Gold (JG), Paul Konig (PK), John Lidstone (JL) and Martin Longhurst (ML)





The first week of Waverley’s Thames season took place during an exceptional spell of hot and sunny weather with all sailings going ahead as planned. Monday 26 September took the paddler to Margate for an up-river cruise to Whitstable and Southend for a non-landing trip through Tower Bridge.   Passengers were landed at Tilbury and coached home.


Arriving at Margate on 26 September (JG)


Going astern to come alongside the stone pier (JG)


Passengers boarding at Margate (JG)


Entering Whitstable Harbour (JG)


Coming alongside Southend Pier (JG)


Tug Revenge is ready to turn the steamer in the Upper Pool (JG)


Disembarking passengers at Tilbury (JG)

Tuesday was spent off service at Tilbury before the paddler headed east on Wednesday to Southend and Clacton for a River Blackwater, with passengers again coached home.   Overnight she steamed the short distance to Harwich ready to give a sailing to Clacton and Tower Pier on the Thursday.    Another positioning run took Waverley to Southend for a round trip to Tilbury and to turn in the Upper Pool, followed by a single show boat trip back to the Tower.


Steaming through Tower Bridge to the Pool of London (PK)


Captain Ian Clarke  keeping an eye on disembarkation at Tilbury (PK)


Waverley leaving Tilbury for Southend (PK)

Saturday 1 October was the Tower Pier to Whitstable sailing, calling only at Southend.  This sailing was for ticket holders only.


The early mist as Revenge turns Waverley to set off down stream (ML)


The sun eclipsed by Tower Bridge (ML)


The view from the Bridge (Joe McKendrick)


Tied up in Whitstable Harbour (ML)

Sunday morning saw departure at 09.30 for a single trip to Southend, which although basically a positioning run, carried about 200 passengers.   The afternoon took the steamer back to Tilbury where she departed with 801 on board for yet another non-landing trip through Tower Bridge.


Revenge takes the strain in the morning (ML)


The engine room sporting a saltire as Daphne the Dolphin sways back and forth (ML)


Through the Thames Barrier on the first leg (ML)


Captain Clarke navigates the paddler towards Tower Bridge to turn (JG)


The steamer stemmed the tide off The Tower (ML)

Monday was an off service day and unfortunately it also saw the weather break.  High winds returned and the paddler had to remain alongside at Tilbury waiting for better conditions.   She was able to give an evening charter on Friday from Tower Pier.  As a test closure of the Thames Barrier was set for Sunday morning 9 October, the weekend’s schedule took Waverley to Harwich for an overnight stop before her final trip to London leaving at 11.30.   Outbound, calls were made at Tilbury, Southend and Clacton for a River Blackwater cruise.   On her return to Clacton, most passengers were coached home before the steamer embarked a band to give a very poorly supported showboat cruise to Harwich and then up the River Orwell.


Geoff Ryder (left) and Peter Bushell serve in the ship’s shop (JG)


The state of the tide meant we had to go round the northern tip of Gunfleet Sands before heading for Clacton.  

This took us close to the wind farm. (ML)



Bradwell Nuclear Power Station ... jewel of the Blackwater (ML)


A ‘box boat’ unloading at Felixstowe (ML)

As I could not sail on Sunday 9 October, Jeremy Gold has sent me these notes:

“Strong westerly breeze, but quite warm.

Disappointing numbers - 80 Harwich, approx 220 Clacton (including 2 coaches from Great Yarmouth), with a final pick up of 177 at Tilbury.

Passengers enjoyed the space - good numbers for Sunday lunch and plenty of quarter bottles of wine in evidence.

The maps are good for passengers, and good for delivering the unsuspecting into Geoffrey Ryder's clutches.  One gent offered £10 for a £2 map, GR asked if he had anything smaller as he was short of change - passenger finished up spending £40+.

After bunkering at Tilbury, Waverley left for Weymouth (more bunkers) then to the Clyde. More precisely, to anchor off Deal to await better weather. Still there 0930 Monday but had reached Worthing by 22.00.”


An interesting shot of LV18 across Ha’penny Pier Harwich (JG)


The pilot boat approaches to pick up the Harwich pilot (JG)


Climbing down the pilot ladder (JG)


Leaving  Clacton Pier (JG)


Waverley’s fan boards after Tilbury (Alan Johnson)


Waverley heads for Tilbury on the final leg of her Thames season for 2011 (JG)

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