Rebuild – News Update I

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

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First a big thank you to those of you who have written in with information and suggestions. They have been extremely helpful, and are being followed up. Please keep writing!

Design work for the Rebuild has now started in earnest. Burness, Corlett and Partners, our Naval Architect consultants, are now reaching the end of a detailed process of evaluation of the ship to determine weights, stability and other factors which will ensure that the “new” Waverley will be able to meet known and anticipated future legislation.

At the same time, the Marine Safety Agency has now defined the regulations under which Waverley will ply subsequent to the Rebuild. Where changes to the ship may have to be made, they will as far as possible be out of sight of passengers (e.g. a possible additional bulkhead below the main deck in crew accommodation; a possible partial double bottom in the forward part of the ship). Some regulations (e.g. fire protection) will force additional equipment to be fitted in passenger areas (e.g. fire doors, escapes), but these will be made as inconspicuous as possible.

A Conservation Plan is being developed. It will define heritage priorities and the methodology of achieving these to be used in the Rebuild, and also be a fundamental tool in the subsequent maintenance and repair of the ship.

We are delighted that Trevor George has been appointed Chief Draughtsman to the Project. Through his family connections (his father Jack George was one of the most famous of post-War paddle steamer Masters) he has an intimate knowledge of paddle steamers, which is a considerable advantage to the project. He has already spent many hours measuring every nook and cranny of the ship, and has designed a bow rudder which will be if anything larger than its companion at the other end of the ship. But rumours that Waverley will be going everywhere astern after 1999 are false!

Within a matter of days now, Burness Corlett will have reached preliminary recommendations as to the layout of the hull in terms of bulkheads and structural fire protection. Once this is done, the detailed design of internal spaces can begin. Both we and the Heritage Lottery Fund are conscious that sensitivity to heritage is vital, as is the production of a ship which can fulfil the needs of passengers well into the next century and generate sufficient revenue to succeed financially. Submissions from the various potential interior design consultants are with us, and will be considered in the coming weeks.

The funding contract between PSPS and Waverley Steam Navigation Company Limited is now finalised, and will allow for regular inspections of the ship by PSPS members while work is in progress at whichever yard is the successful tenderer. We are currently on target in terms of timing, and, provided we remain so, the work will start at the end of October and finish in June next year.