On Saturday 15th April 1978 Paddle Steamer Waverley left the Clyde bound for Newhaven to begin her first season on the South Coast and Thames. That first journey to the south coast was recorded on film and a small section of the film has been released on the PSPS YouTube channel.
The Sailing Instructions from the early part of the 1978 season show that Waverley was due to leave the Clyde on Monday 17th April and call at Fishguard for bunkers before arriving in Newhaven at 12 noon on Wednesday 19th April. She did in fact leave the Clyde a few days earlier than planned and called at Milford Haven for bunkers rather than Fishguard before rounding Land’s End for the first time.
There were a few PSPS members aboard for the journey south who had each paid £100 for the experience. The company headed notepaper below shows the menu on Saturday 15th April 1978 – the first day of the ground breaking voyage south.
Waverley’s first sailing from Newhaven on Friday 21st April was an evening cruise which attracted a capacity crowd of 840. As can be seen from the traffic book extract below she made her first call at Worthing Pier on Sunday 23rd April. (When reading a traffic book like this the left hand entry made under a port or pier records the number of passengers ‘on’ and the right hand entry records the passengers ‘off’. The second row of numbers under a port or pier is the second call of the day on the return journey.)
Following her first few days operating from Newhaven Waverley then sailed to the Thames and made her first call at Deal on Tuesday 25th April on a press and TV promotional cruise.
Click the video link below to view some footage of Waverley’s first journey south.
South Coast Sailings 2018
Waverley will return to the South Coast in 2018 with sailings operating from Friday 7th September through to Thursday 20th September. Tickets are on sale now from Waverley Excursions or by calling 0141 243 2224.