Solent Week 2
Report and pictures by Martin Longhurst
After a day off service on Monday 15 September 2003, Waverley resumed service at Swanage on the Tuesday. Unfortunately departure was delayed while a steam leak was dealt with and this meant that there was insufficient time to steam from Bournemouth to Ryde via St Catherine's Point in time to make the connection for the Isle of Wight Steam Railway. So the passage was made via the Solent in both directions. By way of compensation the Portsmouth Harbour cruise was extended round Bembridge Ledge as far as Shanklin.
Wednesday went ahead as planned, starting at Weymouth. This mid-week call makes a virtue out of necessity by incorporating a refuelling stop. The only other port where refuelling is possible is Southampton. Weymouth passengers are returned by coach from Swanage, as the paddler spends the night alongside this sheltered pier before steaming light to Portsmouth for Thursday's sail.
Spirit of Gosport crosses to Portsmouth
Thursday was a grey day with a brisk westerly breeze. Clearing the Needles, a lively swell was encountered although this diminished as we steamed into the lee of the Isle of Purbeck. As conditions were likely to be worse past St Alban's Head, Captain Colledge radioed ahead to the Lulworth Range Safety Boat to find out the height of the swell, which was 1.5 metres. This would have made the passage to Lulworth quite uncomfortable, so an alternative cruise to Poole Harbour, the second largest natural harbour in the world, was rapidly arranged.
Ballard Down and Old Harry Rocks
The Haven Hotel at Sandbanks, soon to be re-developed into flats
Bramble Bush Bay, the Sandbanks Ferry
Herbert Ballam swings the Waverley
One of the Poole Harbour pleasure craft
The pilot disembarks
Vandyke - the Poole pilot cutter
An old sea dog
Back to Swanage past the Old Harry Rocks
The Poole pilot was picked up at the harbour bar and the
steamer was turned off the Continental Ferry berth by the Poole Harbour
Commissioners' tug Herbert Ballam. The rest of the cruise went ahead as planned,
with Waverley sailing light from Portsmouth to Southampton for the night.
Friday's timetable took the steamer to Portsmouth, Yarmouth and The Needles, while Saturday took her to Portsmouth, Yarmouth and Round The Island.
The Jubilee Sailing Trust's Lord Nelson shared Berth 104 with Waverley
Mol Promise, assisted by the tug Sir Bevois, passes the loading paddler
Aurora and Royal Princess were in Southampton
Sothampton's Boat Show was in progress
Portsmouth's Spinnaker Tower under construction
Waverley berthing ahead of FastCat Ryde
Skausund heads out to sea while Gosport Queen goes east
St Catherine's Lighthouse at the southernmost tip of the Isle of Wight
Pride of Le Havre on course for France
Question: How many PSPS members does it take to fold a timetable?
Answer: Three - Jonathon Cohen folds while Victor Gray (left - former National Chairman) and Chris Phillips (former National Secretary) offer guidance
Jim McFadzean was concerned we were bored and offered some gainful employment by folding timetables to fit the display racks
Cenwulf at Yarmouth
A yacht cutting across our bow as we approach Yarmouth Pier
Saturday was a bright and sunny day and the ship was busy all
day. As the previous week, the circumnavigation was anti-clockwise and two
cross-channel ferries were encountered off Portsmouth. On the return leg to
Portsmouth, the P&O Cruises liner Aurora appeared as a ghost ship through the
mist as she headed out from Southampton.
Sunday was full of promise, but this was not fulfilled as sea mist hung all day, largely obliterating the hoped-for views of the Dorset coast. Nevertheless, Chris Warren gave as much commentary as he could on the Weymouth-Swanage leg. Fortunately the paddler's modern navigational aids meant that progress was not significantly impeded.
The Dorset coast at Osmington
At Bournemouth the higher buildings disappeared into the mist
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