PS Waverley Review and Specifications
Specifications of PS Waverley
|Year built||1947 / Age : 71|
|Flag state||United Kingdom|
|Builder||John Inglis (Glasgow, Scotland)|
|Owner||Paddle Steamer Preservation Society|
|Speed||18 kn / 33 kph / 21 mph|
|Length (LOA)||73 m / 240 ft|
|Beam (width)||18 m / 59 ft|
|Gross Tonnage||693 gt|
Review of PS Waverley
PS Waverley is the world's last paddle steamer (paddle-wheel steamship) still in operation as a passenger cruise vessel. Starting with the maiden voyage (June 16, 1947), until 1973 the ship offered regularly scheduled service between Craigendoran (Helensburgh, Firth of Clyde) and Arrochar (Loch Long, Argyll and Bute). Since 1974, the vessel is owned by the British "Paddle Steamer Preservation Society" (UK-registered charity). In 2003, "National Historic Ships UK" listed the ship as "vessel of pre-eminent national importance".
After WW2 (1939-1945), in 1948 UK's railways were nationalized and their Scottish steam ships were bought by the Caledonian Steam Packet Company. As the passenger steamship traffic decreased In the 1960s, many of the Scotland's smaller piers were closed. In 1973, the Caledonian Steam Packet Co (the shipowner) merged with David MacBrayne Ltd forming the new Caledonian MacBrayne Ltd ferry company (aka CalMac).
In 1974, CalMac ceased its PS Waverley operations due to their high cost and the needed significant refurbishments. Not before long, the Paddle Steamer Preservation Society had bought CalMac's paddle steamer PS Kingswear Castle. To ensure PS Waverley's preservation, the company sold the vessel for the token price of 1 GBP.
As the following fundraising initiative was successful, the "Paddle Steamer Preservation Society " started to operated PS Waverley cruises (advertised as "Waverley Excursions"). The ship joined the fleetmates PS Kingswear Castle (1924) and Balmoral (1949). In the period 2000-2003, the steamer received various technological improvements and was extensively rebuilt and refurbished. The refit was done in Great Yarmouth, where also a new boiler (steam powerplant unit) was installed.
PS Waverley is powered by a "Rankin & Blackmore" (Greenock Scotland) built marine steam engine with power output 1,6 MW allowing max speed of 18 kn (34 kph / 21 mph). The engines can be viewed from onboard passageways located on both sides of the engine room. The ship has two paddle-wheels (portside and starnoard) which can't turn independently. This requires in a much larger turning basin in comparison to modern ferry ships.
Cruise itineraries schedule
The ship currently operates summer cruises around Britain and the British Isles. Every year, PS Waverley offers Great Britain circumnavigation cruise around the UK. Among the visited destinations and ports are Glasgow, Thames River, Bristol Channel. During the summer, the ship is based on the Clyde, leaving from Glasgow (also roundtrip), Greenock, Largs and Ayr.
Follows PS Waverley's summer cruise schedule:
- Mondays (Glasgow to Ayr) visiting Largs (Firth of Clyde, North Ayrshire), Ayr, Girvan (South Ayrshire), Ailsa Craig Island, to Ayr
- Tuesdays (roundtrip from Ayr) visiting Brodick (Isle of Arran), Millport (Great Cumbrae Island), Largs (Firth of Clyde, North Ayrshire), Dunoon (Argyll and Bute), Blairmore (Argyll and Bute), Loch Long, Loch Goil.
- Wednesdays (roundtrip from Largs) visiting Rothesay (Isle of Bute), Tighnabruaich (Argyll and Bute), Tarbert (Argyll and Bute), Loch Fyne, Isle of Arran.
- Thursdays (roundtrip from Greenock) visitng Helensburgh, Dunoon (Argyll and Bute), Rothesay (Isle of Bute), Largs (Firth of Clyde, North Ayrshire), Millport (Great Cumbrae Island), Brodick (Isle of Arran), Holy Isle, Pladda Island.
- Fridays (roundtrip from Glasgow) visting Kilcreggan (Argyll and Bute), Dunoon (Argyll and Bute), Rothesay (Isle of Bute).
- Saturdays (roundtrip from Glasgow) visting Greenock, Helensburgh, Dunoon (Argyll and Bute), Rothesay (Isle of Bute), Tighnabruiach (Argyll and Bute).
- Sundays - offers various roundtrip Glasgow cruises to Lochranza (Isle of Arran), Campbeltown (Argyll and Bute) and other ports in Scotland.