Random Shipwatch: PS Waverley

Yet another ship from my long gone Ships Monthly collection, PS Waverley is another ship from a different age. She does not call Southampton her home, but this past weekend she was doing a series of local coastal cruises from our harbour.  Berthed at 104E she is not accessible without having to go through the dockgates and having a valid piece of paper as a ticket.  She is barely visible from Town Quay, and unless you knew she was there you would have missed seeing her. 

I was working on this particular morning, so decided to head out a bit earlier to get photographs of her 10am sailing. As a steamship I was hoping that she would at least use her whistle, but all I saw was a  puff of smoke and she started to back away from the quayside at the appointed time. I don’t know how maneuverable she is, those twin paddle wheels may give her the ability to rotate about her axis.

Like Shieldhall, she is a real ship. There are no balcony cabins or chrome and glass, instead she was built to ply her trade, and as such is the last sea-going paddle steamer in the world.

She is rated to carry over 925 passengers in “Class V waters”, and, given her popularity is probably very crowded when full.

The weather in Southampton on that day was changing all the time, and light conditions were not great, but at least it wasn’t raining (yet).

She is actually quite sleek and has very nice lines, and the paddle boxes blend in quite well with her hull. I could not really judge how full she was though, because she does seem to have quite a large saloon below deck. Then she was past me and heading away from my position at Town Quay, moving quite quickly and in a very businesslike fashion.

I wouldn’t mind having a closer look at her, as she is in Southampton from 6 till 26 September, I may have to make a plan over a weekend before it is too late though. It is just a pity she was not berthed closer to Town Quay, preferably where she could be enjoyed by everybody. Had they berthed her in front of Shieldhall there would have been a unique opportunity to have three of the National Historic Fleet Core Collection (Calshot, Shieldhall, Waverley) all together at one berth, and with a bit of pushing and shoving Challenge could have joined in too. 

I think it is things like this that I enjoy the most about Southampton. Every now and then it springs a surprise, and Waverley was definitely one of the many I have had since arriving here in April.

At some point Waverley started to sail from berth 49 and on the 21st I was able to see her alongside from a bit closer. Sadly though, the weather was grey and gloomy so it was not great photography at all. However, I did manage one image which is what I was after originally. From left to right: Calshot, Calshot Spit Light vessel, Waverley and Shieldhall. Arcadia in the background.

I will see how things go tomorrow and if able will try get to her at the berth, I am very curious about having a look at her from close up. Unfortunately I did not get to her berth, but I did pick her up while I was waiting for an early morning arrival.

DRW © 2013-2022. Images recreated 11/04/2016

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