Kingswear Castle report – Up until Sunday, July 11th KC, had steamed on sixty-seven operating days and carried 15,422 passengers. Although the season started very quietly, with revenue at one stage down by 20% compared with the same period last year things have picked up and now ticket sales are up 18%, and charter revenue up 20% although coach party group revenue is down by about 20%. Passengers seem to be particularly thirsty this season for whilst revenue for food remains roughly static, that for drinks is up by an encouraging 30%. A PSPS member recently visiting KC mentioned that he thought that we ran on only a few days of the week and must be enjoying a great deal of leisure time. This comment was something of a shock as KC is actually sailing six and sometimes seven days a week with private charters and special sailings for groups filling in the gaps between the published public sailings. Indeed it is not unusual to find KC with morning, afternoon and evening cruises day after day where the schedule may suggest that she is doing nothing!
Facelift for the Maid – Chipping and painting the entire hull above the water line not an easy task when balanced in a bobbing boat. Ever increasing numbers of visitors and picnickers come down to the loch’s shores beside the Maid. We are convinced they come to be entertained by watching our motley band clinging on by their fingertips trying to paint unreachable crevices, or balanced on the belting of the sponson painting the paddle box, just feet away from a ducking. At one stage it looked as if the Maid had measles, such was the liberal application of red lead to the hull. This quickly disappeared with application of undercoat and then-the transformation-for the first time ever. The Maid’s hull from below the main deck windows to the green boot-topping was painted black. This considerably enhances the appearance of the steamer and from a distance she most looks ready to sail. No more flaking paint work or rust streaks. Just pristine paintwork. Almost every part of the ship has now been cleaned out including all the stores and saloons – even all the toilet cubicles. All the savable furniture and fittings have been taken out and stored.
Diamond Jubilee – A novel way was devised to mark the Diamond Jubilee of the turbine steamer, Queen Mary, the last of the vessels built specially for the “all the way” traffic to the coast from Bridge Wharf in the heart of Glasgow. Waverley was timed to leave Anderston Quay at 10.40 on Sunday 25th April and she then moved astern up river to off Bridge Wharf. With three long blasts on her whistle she set off down river at 11.00, the Mary’s departure time for many years on what became “her” run to Gourock, Dunoon, Rothesay and Tighnabruaich. That was the itinerary which Waverley, too, followed that day, proudly flying the house flags of two of the one-time ship owners, Williamson-Buchanan steamers and the CSP Co. She also carried for the occasion another memento of Queen Mary’s early days, a pane of glass from the captain’s cabin etched with the star and crescent insignia of Williamson-Buchanan, who had the turbine built. A special guest on board for the occasion was Mr. Norman Robertson who was a seaman aboard Queen Mary for over thirty years, between 1946 and her withdrawal in 1977.
And 50 years ago… Isle of Wight Branch members meet regularly to work on KC; Alan Waller’s masterpieces Royal Eagle and MV Royal Sovereign at the Blackheath Models Rally; Ryde’s greatest day for years – carried 312 out to meet Lively Lady near the Nab. Read more…