The Waverley paddle steamer entering Ilfracombe harbour
An open edition giclee print. 22 x 14.5 inches approximately
The Waverley is the last remaining sea going paddle steamer. She was built in 1946 and used to ply the Firth of Clyde as a pleasure steamer. She had a major refit from 2000 to 2003 and is still based in Glasgow but now sails round the country each year giving people the wonderful experience of sailing on a ship of a bygone age.
Passengers can watch the steam engines driving the paddle wheels which can also be seen through portholes turning and driving the ship forward. The funnels in the picture are painted at a slight angle to one another. This was because her deck plates were buckled. They have now been refurbished so when you see her the funnels will be parallel!
During the Festival of the Sea my son and I sailed on Balmoral, a conventional propeller driven ship also owned by the Paddle Steamer Preservation Society. The journey across the Bristol Channel to Penarth was rough with a cross swell and a real 'vomit trip'. On the way back we transferred to the Waverley. Her huge paddle wheels act as stabilisers, and her great, broad decks are wonderful for promenading; there was no vibration, hardly any rolling - a really smooth and steady trip.
In my painting she is approaching Ilfracombe’s Victorian pier, which since my painting has been replaced by a smarter and smaller pier. Above it is Lantern Hill, on which there used to be a chapel and a light to guide boats into the haven.