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PS WAVERLEY, according to witnesses, made a rather fast approach and struck the pier resulting in 17 persons being injured and some damage to the bow of the ship.
 

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It seems to me that the Waverly operation needs to lift its whole level of professionalism to a level more in line with the Merchant Navy rather than a bunch of old guys playing with a Big Boat. They are, after all, carrying a large number of the paying public who deserve due care and attention. There have been several poor seamanship incidents with this ship over the years and I believe the boiler incident was also due to poor diligence. A couple of years ago I had a trip on the ship and it was very enjoyable in excellent weather but they managed to miss Dunoon pier due to being unable to slow down in a timely fashion - not sure if it was poor seamanship or a delay in the engineroom responding to telegraph orders - but we had to make a large circle back to Dunoon and approached the pier dead slow but even then using the head rope to come to a complete halt with the rope creaking alarmingly. It's a shame really because it is a nice vessel and an asset to the Clyde area but I can see that the Insurance premiums for the vessel will be raised quite substantially and that may well, metaphorically, sink the whole business.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I note that the number of injured has gone up to 24. The cynic in me does wonder why the other 7 waited to complain.
IMG_0043.JPG
 

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Handling a paddle ship is very different compared to a "normally" propelled vessel. My almost half a century career in ships included more than thirty-five years as Master, five of which involved a paddler. The manoeuvring speed of a paddler often appears high but is necessary to maintain adequate water flow over the rudder and steerage is poor at slow speed. Even experienced mariners used to conventional vessels might raise an eyebrow when they watch a paddler approaching the berth but should give credit to the people thereon for knowing the handling characteristics of their own ship. No thrusters, no tugs - they make do with what they have and not all manoeuvres will go to plan. I will admit to a dent or two over the years and I was neither inexperienced nor incompetent. And I could point out that other ships of all shapes, sizes and means of propulsion suffer occasional mishaps too!
AndyL
 

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Well said Andy.
Some years back I used to help out on the Waverley on a voluntary basis during her winter layup periods with overhauls, preparing for surveys etc. It kept me out of the pub when on leave from my proper job.
Handling paddlers is a real art, and as you say the approach speeds to piers appear near suicidal to the uninitiated, they do however pull up very quickly indeed as the paddles have much more bite than a screw and the ability for the experienced handler to move them bodily sideways with the right jags astern is something to behold.
 

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There are barely any men left alive now who have the ingrained experience of handling these paddlers. It is a craft that was perfected over many years and no longer exists. No wonder they hit walls.
 

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Handling a paddle ship is very different compared to a "normally" propelled vessel. My almost half a century career in ships included more than thirty-five years as Master, five of which involved a paddler. The manoeuvring speed of a paddler often appears high but is necessary to maintain adequate water flow over the rudder and steerage is poor at slow speed. Even experienced mariners used to conventional vessels might raise an eyebrow when they watch a paddler approaching the berth but should give credit to the people thereon for knowing the handling characteristics of their own ship. No thrusters, no tugs - they make do with what they have and not all manoeuvres will go to plan. I will admit to a dent or two over the years and I was neither inexperienced nor incompetent. And I could point out that other ships of all shapes, sizes and means of propulsion suffer occasional mishaps too!
AndyL
I remember being amazed by the speed of Waverly on her approach to Tilbury jetty, but a few moments thought gave me the answer as described by AndyL. In over 20 years of handling screw powered ships in UK tidal waters, I have to admit to a few vigorous and bone-shaking alongsides!
 

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I think it's worth recording that "Waverley" has operated for many years since preservation all round the coasts of the UK (Clyde, Irish sea, Bristol Channel, South coast Thames estuary and East coast) each year making hundreds of pier calls and carrying around 130,000 passengers perfectly safely. She is operated by a highly skilled and dedicated team of navigators and engineers. From time to time there are mishaps, and these also occurred in the 'old days' when paddle steamers operated from most of the major holiday resorts. http://museums.bristol.gov.uk/multimedia/entry.php?request=resource&irn=16190&width=400&format=jpeg
 

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Bob.
Passenger carrying paddlers cannot, this was something that's been enshrined in the regulations since the 19th century. I can't recall the exact details, but it came about after the capsize of a passenger carrying paddle steamer and part of the blame was put down to the paddle wheels running at different RPM which exacerbated her heel and caused capsize.
Paddle tugs could often have independent paddles.
 

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It seems to me that the Waverly operation needs to lift its whole level of professionalism to a level more in line with the Merchant Navy rather than a bunch of old guys playing with a Big Boat. They are, after all, carrying a large number of the paying public who deserve due care and attention. There have been several poor seamanship incidents with this ship over the years and I believe the boiler incident was also due to poor diligence. A couple of years ago I had a trip on the ship and it was very enjoyable in excellent weather but they managed to miss Dunoon pier due to being unable to slow down in a timely fashion - not sure if it was poor seamanship or a delay in the engineroom responding to telegraph orders - but we had to make a large circle back to Dunoon and approached the pier dead slow but even then using the head rope to come to a complete halt with the rope creaking alarmingly. It's a shame really because it is a nice vessel and an asset to the Clyde area but I can see that the Insurance premiums for the vessel will be raised quite substantially and that may well, metaphorically, sink the whole business.
Too many people are making inappropriate comments, and should refrain from making judgement.
Totally agree with Ivan's comments and await result of investigation of this accident.
She has been operating successfully for most of her 74 years (same age as me) and few accidents along the way, but always returned to service and bring much pleasure for her thousands of followers.
Captain Steve Colledge is a well respected Master Mariner, who has skippered Waverley many times over the years, both on the Clyde and down south, and manages Waverley's unique handling with great skill and expertise. Whatever happened at Brodick, am sure was no fault of the skipper, and know he will be upset by what has happened to his beautiful charge.
Wish all injured passengers and crew, speedy recovery and look forward to our steamer being repaired and returned to service in 2021.

Cheers Jamie
Waverley Nutter from Auckland, New Zealand
 

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Interesting about the 'paddles synchronised' rule. An idle thought. I wonder if a computer model could not be contrived to assist when maneuvering without interfering with the vessel herself. I doubt there is a bridge simulator with a Waverley programme to run.
 

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The reason for lack of independent paddles is due to a capsizing accident in the 19th century when a ship on the Thames turned over due to a heavy list caused by passengers all being on one side of the vessel and the paddle acting with a suction effect. After that only in special cir***stances were passenger ships built with independent paddles and where they were equipped it was usual for normal operation where steam engines were involved to connect the two separate engines with a clutch and only disconnect whilst berthing.
 

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It seems to me that the Waverly operation needs to lift its whole level of professionalism to a level more in line with the Merchant Navy rather than a bunch of old guys playing with a Big Boat. They are, after all, carrying a large number of the paying public who deserve due care and attention. There have been several poor seamanship incidents with this ship over the years and I believe the boiler incident was also due to poor diligence. A couple of years ago I had a trip on the ship and it was very enjoyable in excellent weather but they managed to miss Dunoon pier due to being unable to slow down in a timely fashion - not sure if it was poor seamanship or a delay in the engineroom responding to telegraph orders - but we had to make a large circle back to Dunoon and approached the pier dead slow but even then using the head rope to come to a complete halt with the rope creaking alarmingly. It's a shame really because it is a nice vessel and an asset to the Clyde area but I can see that the Insurance premiums for the vessel will be raised quite substantially and that may well, metaphorically, sink the whole business.
I have been harbour pilot on the Waverly in Belfast when manoeuvring in and out of the Pollock Dock.
Your comments appear to be from hearsay as opposed to fact. (Yes there have been incidents but can you qualify your quote of poor seamanship?)
The vessel is operated by Master Mariners who are professional seamen as opposed to your near libellous comment.
She is certificated by the MCA as a passenger carrying vessel therefore must adhere to the required certification of which you are doubless well aware.
The vessel has a high dead slow speed to maintain steerage as she only has a small single standard rudder abaft the paddles, this means she has to approach the jetty at a speed which sometimes would appear high to the non professional seafarer.
As for stopping with a head line that seems strange, perhaps you meant forward backspring? And yes, once again to the non professional seafarer, the sound of the mooring rope taking the strain might seem a tad noisy.
Lets wait until the MCA/MAIB have published their report before making comments that are derived from hearsay.
For the record I served 15 years deep sea, 10 years on ferries obtaining my first command in 1994 and then was a Harbour pilot authorised for Belfast and Larne for 23 years before I retired.
 
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