Waverley 2001 – Indian Summer on the Solent

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

Waverley 2001 – Indian Summer on the Solent

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Waverley’s Red Ensign flies at half mast in memory of the victims of the terrorist outrages in the USA.

Sailings continued as scheduled until Wednesday 12th September 2001, when conditions started to deteriorate during the sailing from Weymouth, Swanage, Bournemouth and Yarmouth to Southampton Water to view the shipping. Captain Gellatly terminated the sailing on the return to Yarmouth, with passengers being conveyed onwards by Wightlink ferry to Lymington and the by coach to their ultimate destinations. The paddler returned to Southampton to berth overnight, instead of Swanage.

The following day a Gale Warning was in force, and it was not be possible to leave the sheltered waters of the Solent. The calls at Bournemouth and Swanage were cancelled. After picking up passengers at Portsmouth and Yarmouth, Waverley first proceeded to The Needles before turning eastwards for Southampton and Spithead. Passengers were later given an hour and a half ashore at Yarmouth, before the final leg back to Portsmouth.

Friday was “Grab-a-Granny” day with senior citizens charged at two for the price of one! This offer always brings a good response and today was no exception for the cruise from Southampton, Portsmouth and Yarmouth to The Needles.

On Saturday 15th September, SS Shieldhall sailed from her berth at Southampton, which is adjacent to the Waverley’s, at 10.30 for a day cruise towards Bournemouth. During Waverley’s sojourn at Southampton, her mooring ropes are taken on shore by members of Shieldhall’s crew. On this occasion Waverley’s crew were able to reciprocate.

Red Funnel Ferries’ Red Eagle passes, having just commenced her voyage to East Cowes in the Isle of Wight.

Just under 150 were on board for the first stage of the Waverley’s trip from Southampton to Portsmouth. Arrival at Portsmouth was at 12.20 and after a good exchange of passengers, the steamer left 15 minutes later for Sandown. This week there was no current running at Sandown and berthing was easily accomplished at the western berth. Again there was a good exchange of passengers and the paddler set out on her clockwise circumnavigation of the Island.

After rounding The Needles, the Shieldhall could be seen in the distance making her passage back to Southampton. As the two steam ships drew level, deep-throated whistle blasts were exchanged between the two vessels. Iain Quinn led our passengers in giving the second Clyde-built ship three cheers, to which the Shieldhall responded with the skirl of the pipes sounding out “Scotland the Brave!”

Arriving back at Portsmouth at dusk, the Swedish three-master Gunilla was tied up at the new Gunwharf Quays development.

Sunday was a bright day with a less strong northerly wind for the sail from Southampton to Yarmouth, Bournemouth, Swanage and Weymouth. Good numbers were carried throughout the day.

The Wightlink ferry Cenwulf passes astern of Waverley while she berths at Yarmouth Pier

At Weymouth, the paddler’s normal berth at the Pleasure Pier was occupied by the Spanish sailing ship Morena, visiting for the port’s Water Fest. Waverley was accordingly diverted to the next berth, which is within the commercial port.

Leaving Weymouth there was excellent view of the Dorset coast, which the paddler was about to traverse. Passengers were fortunate enough to benefit from a commentary by Captain Peter Tamblin, Chairman of the PSPS Wessex Branch, on the voyage back to Bournemouth.

Nearly back at Swanage, the steamer passes Dancing Ledge at the foot of the limestone cliffs. The white dot is Anvil Point Lighthouse.