Waverley back in steam

Posted by Chris Graham on 15th October 2020

Hugh Dougherty reports on a momentous day on the River Clyde, as the unique PS Waverley sets sail again.

Waverley back in steam

Waverley leaves Greenock’s Custom House Quay in steam and under her own power for the first time in 22 months, to start her sea trials back in the middle of August. (Pic: Waverley Excursions Limited)

PS Waverley, the last, sea-going paddle steamer in the world, steamed down the Clyde for the first time in 22 months, on August 13th, when she set out from Greenock’s Custom House Quay for the first day of sea trails after her new boilers were fitted by the Inverclyde town’s Dales Marine Services.

With the pressure holding steady on the gauges of both new boilers, and with the ship in fine fettle after her dry-docking and other routine maintenance, Waverley sailed majestically down the Clyde to allow her compass to be calibrated, before returning to Custom House Quay.

Waverley back in steam

Full steam ahead – the pressure holds steady on the gauges for the two new boilers. (Pic: Waverley Excursions Limited)

Further trials are scheduled to allow other adjustments to be made, and to ensure that the new boilers and their controls – the subject of an urgent £2.3m appeal launched in June 2019 to save the paddler – are shipshape.

Waverley Excursions general manager, Paul Semple, who sailed on the ship for the trails, said: “It was wonderful to see this historic ship, which has drawn so much popular support, sailing again on her native river. We will ensure that she is in perfect condition before considering if it’s possible to operate public sailings this season, in the light of Covid-19 restrictions.

Back on the Clyde, the world’s last sea-going paddler strikes out from Greenock on her trails. What a shame the sun wasn’t shining, to mark the occasion. (Pic: Waverley Excursions Limited)

“Once we make a final decision, we will let everyone know, but the sea trails mark a significant milestone in returning one of the nation’s best-loved ships to passenger service and, once again, we thank all who responded so generously to the appeal, and who continue to support Waverley.”

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