The Paddle Steamer Waverley has cast off from Glasgow for her first trip in what is a milestone year for the famous Clyde steamer.
Waverley Excursions General Manager, Paul Semple, commented: “It is fantastic to see the first passengers step aboard as a new season begins.
"Watching Waverley cast off is the ultimate reward after the endless hours of hard toil from our dedicated volunteers and crew over the winter months.”
This summer Waverley will leave her home waters on the Firth of Clyde for the first time since before the pandemic.
During June she will return to Oban and Skye offering a variety of trips around the Inner Hebrides including cruises to Staffa and the Corryvreckan Whirlpool.
After the main Clyde summer season, in late August, Waverley will head south to English and Welsh waters with London as her ultimate destination.
Amid the celebrations, Mr Semple also expressed his concern about how they can cover operating costs this season - with average daily fuel bills topping £7,000.
He said: "I am delighted Waverley is back in service, but deeply concerned on how we can cover operating costs this season given the current fuel price. The focus over the past few weeks has been on getting everything ship shape for passengers.
"Now Waverley is sailing daily I am faced with the stark reality of buying fuel at a cost which has increased by more than 50% since 2021. We have, very reluctantly, introduced a modest fuel surcharge of £3 to go a little way towards keeping the paddles turning.
"Despite this I am determined that as many people as possible will step aboard to enjoy the unique experience of sailing on the World’s last seagoing paddle steamer. We have several schools booked to travel in the coming weeks and throughout the summer there are many free trips for kids.
"For Waverley to survive we need the next generation to sail and work on her. She also needs the continued support of the general public in the coming months or we will face a serious financial crisis that will put her continued operation at risk.”
In 2020 new modern boilers were installed following a major fundraising appeal, but they burn fuel at a rate of over £11 per minute, an average daily fuel bill that tops £7,000.
Tickets for all of Waverley’s Scottish sailings are now on sale at waverleyexcursions.co.uk, by calling 0141 243 2224, or can purchased on board.
This year’s highlights include special sailings over the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee weekend, a cruise from Glasgow to Oban on June 6 and the return to Ayr and Girvan offering trips round Ailsa Craig during July and August.
Passenger Paddle Steamer. Construction: Riveted steel. Hull designed by A&J Inglis at Glasgow in 1946, built 1947 by A. & J. Inglis Ltd. at Pointhouse.
LOA: 240′ 0″, Beam: 58′ 0″, Draft: 6′ 0″, Displacement: 1524600 lbs. Hull Number 1330P. The ‘P’ signifies the Pointhouse yard as A&J Inglis was by that time part of Harland and Wolff in Belfast. Originally certificated to carry 1350 passengers. With almost 70 years of updates to worldwide passenger carrying regulations and safety policies in place, Waverley’s carrying capacity has gradually been reduced and she can now carry up to 860 passengers.
3 pass wetback reversal chamber built and designed by Cochran of Annan, installed April 2020. Fuel: Marine Gas Oil, Pressure: 180 psi, Output: 22500 lbs/hr, 105″ dia X 199″ long Steel barrel. 184 X 2″ dia Steel tubes. Welded with rolled in fire tubes construction, condensing, forced draft fan, steam feed pump, electric feed pump, feed water heater, whistle, Originally fitted with a double ended Scotch boiler, this was replaced in 1981 with a Babcock Steambloc boiler.
Diagonal Triple Expansion. 24″ + 39″ + 62″ X 66″ Built 1947 by Rankin & Blackmore Ltd. at Greenock Design: Paddle Inside PV on HP. Outside PV on MP. Bal SV on LP valve. Stephenson valve gear. Power: 2100 HP Engine Number 520. Normal service speed of 13 knots at 44 rpm. Maximum speed 18 knots at 57 rpm. Shell and tube surface condenser. Full set of steam auxiliaries.
8 Feathering floats. 216″ diameter, 132″ wide. Each paddle float is 36″ deep. There are always two full floats worth in the water at any one time. Each float is 33 square feet in area.