Summer 1976

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

Summer 1976

Full steam ahead again on the Clyde – Thanks to a magnificent response to the refit appeal launched in February Waverley is sailing again on the Clyde this summer. Many Scots overseas sent donations after the Scottish Sunday Mail took up the Waverley cause with bold headlines and full colour pictures. This helped convince local authorities that the steamer was worthy of support. £35,000 has been spent on the refit, some £20,000 going towards boiler re-tubing. Her season opened with a special evening cruise to Gareloch on 21st May carrying 350 guests and more than 400 members of the public. Next day 1,200 children were conveyed to Dunoon and Millport, and then for the next two days the vessel was under charter to Radio Clyde. Midweek charters and public weekend sailings from Glasgow continue through June and the programme of public sailings commences on July 4th. After a seven-year break Caledonian MacBrayne have decided to resume sailings from Glasgow, and Waverley had little alternative but to agree to arrangements to give them a share of the weekend traffic.

Waverley’s public sailings for 1976.

Work parties – During the winter months members of PSPS have joined working parties at Anderston Quay and have performed a wide variety of tasks – preparing Waverley for the 1976 season. The biggest jobs were caulking and re-pitching certain areas of the decks and scraping and cleaning the scuppers. In the boiler room the main task was cleaning and preparation for re-tubing. We have made a good start, but the task is not over, nor will it ever be as long as Waverley keeps steaming.

Balmoral sails round the Isle of Wight – The Coastal Cruising Association provided a rare opportunity of sailing round the Isle of Wight at the end of April. The day was an outstanding success with prolonged sunshine throughout. Balmoral sailed from Portsmouth Harbour with over 500 on board. A fresh breeze died away after Yarmouth was passed, and by the time the vessel reached the Needles the afternoon had become calm and warm. St Catherine’s point was rounded further offshore than normal, nevertheless there were exceptional coastal views throughout the afternoon. Portsmouth was reached again at 17.30, completing an extremely pleasant day.

Kingswear Castle progress report – Most of the bilges are now complete and we are a back in business on the machinery and boiler. Work is being pushed ahead as hard as possible with a very small work force.

John H Amos moves south – The paddle-tug John H Amos, built in 1931 and laid up since the late 1960s has been sold and moved to the Thames. The Amos was presented to the Dorman Museum of Middlesbrough in 1968. Despite £16,000 of work being done on her she remained berthed at the Transporter Bridge. In due course she was towed upstream to Stockton and berthed at the Town Quay. Much decking was renewed and her boilers were partly re-tubed. A reorganisation of local government ended operational preservation plans. She has been purchased by the Medway Maritime Trust for £3,500. She left the Tees on Friday 5th March towed by the Thames tug Cervia. Having sheltered at Grimsby from rough weather she arrived at Chatham on March 9th.

Medway Queen’s poor state – There is growing concern over the future of Medway Queen. Wight Marina is for sale and the steamer is said to be unused and in a poor state.