KC's first public sailings at Dartmouth 2013
Words and Pictures by Martin Longhurst
KC left Chatham for Dartmouth at 09.00 on 11 December and reached Portland Harbour for shelter at 11.10 on 12 December.†† She was able to continue her voyage on 18 December, arriving at Dartmouth at 16.00.† On 7 February 2013 KC returned to Totnes on trial for the first time since 1965.† Subsequently, she was slipped at the Dart Companyís Old Mill Creek boat yard and successfully passed her MCA survey.
Good Friday 29 March 2013 had been set for her re-launch at Dartmouth.†† A special charity cruise, with all proceeds to go to the PSPS, was scheduled for 10.30 and this was due to be followed by three public cruises at 12 noon, 14.00 and 15.15.†† Although the day was dry, there was a biting easterly wind, so strong it produced tears if you faced it for too long.
A special connecting steam train left Paignton at 09.15 hauled by 7827 Lydham Manor and shortly after its arrival at Kingswear, passengers were able to cross the River Dart to Dartmouth aboard the Dartmouth Princess to await the paddler.†† There was some delay caused by congestion at the Town Jetty and KC did not leave her pontoon until about 1050.†† However, the 150 passengers were swiftly boarded and were welcomed with a glass of champagne or orange juice.
Jeremy Gold, Chairman of the KC Trust, welcomed everyone aboard, paid tribute to the Dart Companyís attitude in seeking to return KC home and looked forward to a long and successful relationship.†† Then KCís new skipper, Richie, let go and we steamed off downstream, turning just short of Dartmouth Castle and (the real) Kingswear Castle.†† Back upstream, the steamer passed the Lower Ferry (then under reconstruction), the two harbours, the Britannia Naval College and the Upper Ferry before reaching her birthplace of the former Philip & Sonís ship yard.†† Shortly after this the steamer turned and was soon back alongside the Town Jetty.
The adverse weather made standing on Dartmouth Esplanade very unpleasant so rather unsurprisingly there were no takers for the noon trip, so the paddler retired to the pontoon to await developments.†† Four hardy enthusiasts presented themselves for the 14.00 trip but the 15.15 was cancelled for lack of business.†† Later that evening KC was due to visit the Kingswear ferry landing to take coal, which is delivered by the steam railway.
Lydham Manor prepares to take the Paddle Steamer Express away from Paignton
KC approaching Town Jetty prior to her first public cruise
Celebratory gold and black balloons are released
The real Kingswear Castle to port opposite Dartmouth Castle and St Petrocís Church
Richie the Skipper
Passing Philip & Son (KCís birthplace Ė the red brick building) accompanied by Dartmouth Castle, another product of the yard
After finishing her work the steamer is on her way back to the Pontoon ...
... meanwhile Lydham Manor heads back to Paignton
Souvenir Beers from Red Rock Brewery
Sister ship PS Compton Castle at Truro on 31 March