Winter 1966

Supporting the preservation and operation of paddle steamers Waverley and Kingswear Castle

Winter 1966

PS Kingswear Castle laid up at Old Mill Creek, Dartmouth, July 1966.|J Millar

Kingswear Castle – The Society is in contact with a candidate for charter of the ship who would ensure that the vessel is usefully employed and accessible – with the distinct possibility that she might be kept in some sort of limited operation. Just what can be achieved will depend on support forthcoming. Kingswear Castle is the right size for the Society and therefore the last opportunity for us to achieve our objective of preserving a paddle steamer.

Facing facts – On the south coast this year Princess Elizabeth remained in Weymouth Harbour, half painted up for the season. Sandown went to the breakers. What of the future? With Medway Queen safely moored in the Medina and the Duke of Devonshire gracing the Dart, support for preservation of more paddle steamers is bound to be limited. With all due respect for the efforts of Kingswear Castle protagonists, I do not think it would be a practical proposition to maintain this ship operationally. I should like to be proved wrong.

White Funnel notes – The week commencing September 7th was eventful. Cardiff Queen’s last calls at Tenby were cancelled owing to weather. On the following day weather caused cancellation of the Clovelly call. On her return to Ilfracombe she had utmost difficulty in landing her passengers. This was because of a heavy ground sea – unusual conditions which caused the red flag to be hoisted for the first time since 1949. As a result of some very fine seamanship the passengers were disembarked safely. Captain Wide called for ‘ahead ‘ or ‘astern’ to counteract the strong current, and indicated by blowing a whistle when passengers should proceed down the gangway. Several ropes parted during the operation.

PS Embassy – An unusual occurrence took place on July 9th when MV Balmoral on a charter to Swanage was in the bay at the same time as Embassy, the first visit of a Red Funnel vessel for a number of years. On July 28th a float on the port wheel broke loose off Hurst Castle. It was too dangerous to anchor and Embassy proceeded until off Milford Beach. A considerable amount of damage was caused. Embassy was off service until August 7th.

PS Ryde – Completed her summer sailings with relief trips from Portsmouth Harbour to Ryde. Hovertravel has made a vast difference to the day tripper trade. Ryde is still in Portsmouth – due to go to Newhaven at the end of October and lay up for the winter, to be refitted and return at Easter.

Scottish notes – During the summer Capt. Connel left Waverley for Talisman and Capt. MacPherson joined Waverley. After serving Craigendoran – Rothesay – Kyles of Bute over the September weekend she entered Albert Harbour. Paddlers are not being used this winter for the Sunday sailing to Millport. As a result Caledonia went into harbour for the winter.