Maid of the Loch sold – Maid of the Loch has been sold for £45,000 but her operational future is very uncertain. A major surprise was that CalMac has sold the pier, land and slipway too, for an additional sum of £20,000. Caledonian MacBrayne have therefore “sold out” from Loch Lomond entirely. The official press statement reads “The acquisition has been made with the intention to operate the boat as a commercial venture and the Maid will be in dry dock (!!) at least until next season”. Although not sent to the scrapyard, there are large question marks about her future. The new owners stated that the plans for 1983 were to sail the loch “at least one day per week from the spring of 1983”. It is difficult to see how such an undertaking can be achieved. Quite apart from finding the capital to maintain her Class V certificate, obtaining a crew, and disconnecting and re-connecting the shore connections each time, there is the fact that the boiler takes three days to raise steam!
Kingswear Castle report – Both wheels have now been completely built up with the exception of the wooden floats. These will be fitted later to allow engine trials to be carried out at the berth. The parts fitted together well, although there was a little “head scratching” before it was realised that some location instructions from Stone Vickers were being misinterpreted. Another important job is renewal of the boiler supporting cradles. Hydraulic jacks were hired to lift the boiler and this allowed the old cradles to be cut out. New cradles were fabricated at Babcock Power. It is interesting to note that the boiler is offset to the port side by some six inches and this off-centre weight is countered by the engine, where the heavier low pressure cylinder is on the starboard side.
Waverley gets 5-year certificate – Ten years ago Europe’s last sea going paddle steamer narrowly escaped the death sentence and emerged from a £35,000 refit which gave her a new 5-year International Load Line Exemption Certificate. Waverley has now started her eighth season since “privatisation” with another five year “MOT”. Survey work uncovered corrosion and the entire port side of the dining saloon had to be replaced. This affected the promenade deck above the saloon and it was necessary to renew four cross beams – a task which could only be accomplished after lifting the wooden deck. The budget dictated the use of steel plate for the new deck, which has been topped off with green composition. The cost was 50% less than that of new timber and of course leaks in that area are now a thing of the past. The new season started on April 10th and covers more ports than ever before.
Hjejlen sails into her 122nd year – Denmark’s delightful Hjejlen will be in daily service from 1st July. During the winter her original oscillating engine dating from 1861 has been given a major overhaul and is now ready to power the 39 ton veteran through 122nd season.
Goethe is Rhine’s lone 1982 paddler – The K-D line is operating only one paddle steamer, the 1913 Goethe in this summer’s day passenger services. Goethe is the oldest of the three remaining steamers and gets the vote over Rudesheim (1926) purely on grounds of operating costs. Maintz (1929) needs repairs and was not used last year.