Waverley 2001 – Second Weekend on the Solent

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Waverley 2001 – Second Weekend on the Solent

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During the week sailings went ahead as scheduled, except that no call was made at Worthing on Monday 3rd September 2001. This was due to forecast conditions, which in the event would have been perfect. Passengers were coached to Southampton to join the steamer. Numbers and revenue were both up on the equivalent period last year.

Round the Island from Portsmouth

As we reached the top of the slope down to Wightlink’s Harbour Station Terminal on 8th September 2001, so the mighty paddler rounded Blockhouse Point and swept into the Harbour to berth alongside the berth. A good number of passengers were waiting in the Foyer and it took a full 20 minutes for all to board. However, departure was on time and the launch Peter James assisted the turn out of the Harbour.

Having completed her turn, Waverley was overtaken by the white trip boat Solent Cat. In the foreground, Peter James clears while one of the green and white ferries loads at the Gosport pontoon.

The reason for the delay was the entry into the Harbour of Brittany Ferries’ Normandie, inbound from Caen.

The Portsmouth Queen crosses the Normandie’s wake. On the left are the three masts of HMS Warrior.

Further out, we passed P&O Ferries’ Pride of Portsmouth inbound from Le Havre.

Just outside the Harbour entrance, a Hovertravel AP88-100 departs for Ryde.

Conditions at Sandown were very tricky with a brisk offshore breeze blowing and a strong tide setting from the east. Four approaches were made before a line could be landed and the ship manoeuvred to the southerly berth. After a good exchange of passengers, Waverley commenced her anti-clockwise circumnavigation of the Isle of Wight about 50 minutes late with over 400 on board.

Passing Ryde a Coastguard helicopter was spotted on exercise. She must have spotted us as well, for shortly afterwards a practice took place on the after deck.

Between Cowes and The Needles, the steamer had the benefit of tidal assistance and commentator Iain Quinn told us the ship was making 19 knots, although revolutions were only 50 per minute. On rounding The Needles speed was reduced for the final leg of the passage back to Sandown. Notwithstanding, the circle cruise was accomplished in 3 hours 50 minutes, an average of 14.2 knots.

Between Sandown and Portsmouth, the sun set over Lee-on-Solent

Day Cruise to Weymouth, with Time Ashore

Red Funnel’s Red Falcon en route for East Cowes passes the Waverley while she prepares for departure.

Although she was ready to depart on time at 09.00 on Sunday 9th September, the paddler was held at Berth 49 to allow the large car carrier Grande Europa, registered in Palermo, to pass by on the Main Channel. A 10 minutes late departure resulted, which remained unchanged to Yarmouth, Bournemouth and Swanage.

Over 450 passengers were on board leaving Bournemouth for the short hop to Swanage. Shortly after leaving Swanage, the Measured Mile at Durleston is passed. On this occasion, against the tide, the steamer clocked 13.9 knots, although a turn was made during the run. Evening cruises, with coach return, were offered from Weymouth to Bournemouth and from Bournemouth to Southampton.

While Waverley was alongside Yarmouth Pier, the car ferry Cenwulf passed by bound for Lymington, just as the sun was setting.

Looking the other way, Waverley’s lights illuminate the Pier as she begins to manoeuvre away.

Back at Southampton, the paddler is tied up for the night.

Martin Longhurst

This article was first published on Martin Longhurst’s Waverley – The Unofficial Site.