Kingswear Castle sails again – KC completed a full weekend of trials from 4th to 6th November. Two factors which have led to this happy state are the continued financial support from the Central Committee, Branches and individual PSPS members, and the constant efforts of the volunteer workers. In recent months they have redoubled their efforts with the result that the Society now has two operational paddle steamers. Volunteers have also lent personal money for purchase of vital parts and materials. Examples of steaming trial costs are mooring fees, VHF radio and coal. An incentive for help with costs is a free two-hour sail with meal aboard for anyone donating £25 or more.
One of the jobs before steaming was insertion of fitted bolts into the paddle shaft brackets which involves drilling and reaming each hole to a very accurate size. The wheelhouse was sent to Dip ‘n Strip which stripped off all the old varnish, and now, back in place, every hook, eye, screw and strip of brass has been polished. To quote a crew member – “The wheelhouse is only there to stop people nicking the wheel”.
Waverley diary – Waverley’s Clyde season was blessed by excellent weather this year, but she was unlucky enough to meet with a scattering of minor technical problems. The July Radio Clyde Showboat cruise was delayed after the windlass failed, preventing raising of the anchor. Thirteen proved unlucky in August as on 13th Waverley was 30 mins late sailing after the cant rope parted at Glasgow, and ended up two hours late at night because the steering engine required attention at Tighnabruaich. The paddle wheels have given trouble on more than one occasion. All this meant hours of extra toil for the ship’s Department of Technology, but passed almost unnoticed by the travelling public.
The South Coast season commenced as planned from Southampton with the Saturday sailing round the Island excursion calling at Ryde, Southsea and Sandown. During lay off on Friday 2nd September the wind began to rise and conditions became difficult with the ship ranging alongside the pier. The Sealink ferry Southsea gave Waverley a friendly nudge when berthing and left a nice dent in the stern and a broken hand rail. At this point she was taken out to anchor where she was joined by QE2, the winds gusting so strongly that the liner was unable to berth at Southampton.
What better climax to a successful summer than the bustle and colour of Millport Illuminations! It was a calm evening, the sky was clear and the thousand people on board were out to enjoy themselves. By moonlight we returned up river – there was an Autumn chill in the air but below decks there was warmth and the sound of music and laughter. Adding to the pleasure of the occasion, the news was beginning to filter through of Waverley’s record receipts for the year, another magnificent milestone under the Society’s ownership.
Fun with models 30 years ago – Radio control was not common and successful model navigation depended on the technique of feeling the wind. One of Fred’s best tricks was to send the model on a straight course directly down wind. The old Clyde would patter along for perhaps 50 yards. Then little by little she would deviate from her course and present some of her side to the force of the wind. A gust would make her heel over and Fred (Mears) who was waiting for the moment would whistle as though calling his dog. Round the Clyde would come in a sharp turn and settle back on her favourite course against the wind straight home to her master, still at the spot where he had set her going.