Waverley 2001 – Public Charter by Clyde River Sailing Club


This was a sailing arranged by and for steamer enthusiasts. From Largs, Waverley, under the command of Captain Steve Michel for the weekend, made the short trip northward to Wemyss Bay Pier with around 200 passengers. Here about 150 joined the ship at this unusual calling point for the paddler.

In the morning Captain Michel berthed the paddler bow in at Wemyss Bay.

The CalMac gangway was used for embarkation.

Then we sailed across the Firth to Toward before cruising the Kyles on the unusual eastern bank, passing close to Ardyne. The buoys at The Narrows had been adjusted once more and Captain Michel was able to pass through at Full Ahead. Two calls were made at Tighnabruaich Pier, to allow those who wanted to go ashore to photograph the steamer in action.

Then southward to Arran, passing close to Skipness on the way to Lochranza for a rendezvous with the CalMac ferry Loch Striven.

Then around the Cock of Arran to Brodick. On the way round, Waverley passed through the Measured Mile in 4 minutes 5 seconds, just over 14.5 knots.

As the wind grew colder, more passengers clustered round the open Engine Room skylight to take advantage of the constant heat!

Passengers were given about an hour ashore in Brodick during which Waverley made a couple of circuits of Brodick Bay for the benefit of photographers.

Admire the ropework around the handrails of the Landing Platform steps made by Bosun Tommy Reilly.

Special broth (or was it hot air?) for the steamer enthusiasts.

After Brodick, the weather deteriorated with a strongish wind setting up a swell from the south. The next scheduled call was Millport, but these conditions precluded this. Instead the steamer sailed round Wee Cumbrae before crossing to Kilchattan Bay. Waverley followed the eastern coast of Bute on the way to Toward. She hugged the Cowal coast north to Innellan and almost to Dunoon before crossing the Firth to Inverkip and turning south to Wemyss Bay once more.

With the south westerly wind, Captain Michel berthed stern in for the evening call at Wemyss Bay.

The tide was somewhat lower meaning Waverley’s gangway had to be used for the disembarkation.

The final leg was made to Largs into the wind. In the evening, Waverley had been chartered by the Fairlie Yacht Club to celebrate their 40th Anniversary. Despite the bad conditions they enjoyed their trip because they had brought their heavy weather gear with them.

Martin Longhurst

Martin Longhurst

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

August 2021
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