Back to a Mud Berth

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

The new position on the mudberth, much closer to the access than previously.

High tides were predicted in early March 1981, and preparations were made for floating KC off the slipway for the last time. A gang of 6 volunteers assembled on Friday 6th March, but at high water (12.54) the ship was not afloat. Never deterred, the gang used the time to paint the boot topping and remove the old Worthington pump. There were 7 present at 01.00hrs on 7th, but the tide was just not high enough. Finally, at afternoon high water on Saturday 7th March, the ship moved off the blocks and was safely navigated around to the new mud berth.

Restoration Log Book – Saturday 7 March 1981

  • We did it!
  • Removed blocks from slip
  • Got covered in sh*t.

Says it all, really!

Moving off the slipway – note the pushing pole.|Bernie Thompson
Out in the river.|Bernie Thompson
Adjusting to new mooring position.|Bernie Thompson

From Paddle Wheels No. 84

KC came off the slipway on Saturday 7th March. A previous attempt had been made on 6th but there was insufficient water at high tide to free her in spite of plenty of effort from the tug. Later that Friday night, a group of members were again down at the Marina to see if she could be moved down a little on the 1.00 am high tide but to no avail. The ropes were made fast and everyone went back on board for middle-of-the-night refreshment. On the Saturday the weather was poor with high winds and driving rain. Nonetheless there was a good few hands to help with ropes and fenders. A group of working party members made the short trip out into the Medway and round to the mud berth where the vessel is now moored.

The decorative scroll boards have been beautifully restored and repainted at home by one of our members and they are now back on board. Fortunately, KC has now acquired some storage space on land in the form of two sheds and this has enabled the decks and saloons to be mostly cleared, thus significantly improving the ship’s appearance.

Although the wheels are not complete, it was necessary to vacate the slipway which has been committed for other work. The wheels are well advanced and they are being constructed in such a way that they can be fully dismantled and then re-assembled in position.

One of the jobs completed on the slipway was the welding in position of a series of anodes, twelve in all, along the underneath of each side of the ship’s hull. They are made of special alloy and are about six inches long by three inches wide. These anodes are designed to corrode away in preference to the steel of the hull, thus providing protection against the elements. The cathodic protection system, as it is termed, has been specially designed for KC by Impalloy Ltd. and was donated to the project to mark the 21st anniversary of PSPS. Impalloy specialise in this type of equipment and prepare systems for offshore oil platforms as well as ships.