The Waverley is now the only sea-going paddle steamer in the World. She was built on the Clyde in 1947, and operated in Scottish waters for Caledonian McBrayne Ferries until she was taken out of service in 1974. She was offered to the Paddle Steamer Preservation Society for the sum of £1. Despite her large size the Society could not turn down such a wonderful offer, they had already managed to rescue the Kingswear Castle, a somewhat smaller paddle steamer, and a major fund raising campaign began which was a success, and the “Waverley” was saved from the Breakers, and continued to sail in her home waters of the Clyde.
Each year she has sailed around the coast of England in the spring and autumn performing trips from ports and harbours, returning to the Clyde in the summer season. During the winter 1999/2000 she underwent a major rebuild costing £4million was undertaken.
(Above) “Waverly” reversing out of Ilfracombe harbour at 3:38 pm on Friday 19th October 2003.
She is fitted with a 2,100 horse power triple expansion diagonal steam engine, which can push the steamer through the water at a top speed of 21 knots although her normal speed is 15 knots. Passenger capacity is approximately 900.
(Right)) “Waverley” leaving Clevedon pier mid afternoon on Sunday the 21st of October 2003. This was the day that I actually managed to take a trip on her, something I have wanted top to do since 1975. We tried for the past two years in the autumn, but she had been unable to get to the Bristol Channel on both occasions due to bad weather. The weather nearly made this years attempt unsuccessful, but after the trip from Ilfracombe was cancelled two days because of strong winds, our having driven to Ilfracombe twice and frantically to Clevedon on the Sunday, we eventually managed to get a trip up the River Severn from Clevedon. So, third year--third day lucky !
PS. We have been named “The Waverley Chasers” by the Waverley’s purser.
Below :- A video of Waverley's engineroom. October 2003
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