Log of the Paddle Vessel Kingswear Castle
The climax to ten years of restoration – The surplus mooring ropes and chains were being removed and the main engine was being slowly turned as she was warmed through. A number of interested folk were gathered on the shore including several who in the past had stated that the old paddler would never go again. They were about to change their minds. At last the anchor appeared from out of the murky water and then KC was free. The skipper rang down full ahead and with smiles from all on board she was off. A great moment was passing under the M2 bridge in whose shadow she has lain for so many years. Never before had a paddler sailed through those massive arches. At Cuxton we turned and the skipper brought us gently alongside the river walk. Mr. Wilson went to the aft saloon to complete his report. Until this had been finished and presented to underwriters in London we could go no further. We moored alongside the fuel pontoon at the Marina. The race was now on. Could we get the report to London before the close of business? Our messenger was Pat Bushell. While Pat was travelling the rest of us were waiting. Had the report arrived in time? Finally a message from the broker put us out of our state of uncertainty and at 20.00 we left the marina, lamps unexpectedly in use, and steamed cautiously down the narrow channel. Patrons of the dining room on Rochester Queen (formerly Queen of Scots) peered out of the windows as this living reminder of the past bore down on them and yet berthed so gently that not a ripple was caused in the soup.
Wintering German fashion – Kaiser Wilhelm has been plodding through special weekend excursions on the River Elbe since 1971. She is a good deal older than KC, dating from 1900, yet that makes her machinery only slightly more senior. The difference was that Kaiser Wilhelm, when acquired in 1970, was still in good working order and able to be sailed from the Weser through the European canal system to the Elbe. The Museum Society had to send their charge to Hamburg a couple of winters back for quite extensive hull renewal. Normally Kaiser Wilhelm winters in Lauenberg and is pulled high and dry to protect the hull from the rigours of the North German winter. She is expected to be in steam approximately two weekends each month from June through to October.
Waverley diary – This is a quiet time of year although much sterling and essential work is going on aboard the ship. £4,000 has been spent to purchase a complete set of new bushes for the paddle wheels, and these are to be fitted by WSN engineers. PSPS work parties have been concentrating on the wooded buoyant seats to bring these up to the same standard as the spar seats restored two years ago.