Portwey Events 2013

Thames Barge Match
Saturday 13 July 2013


This was the 150th anniversary of the original barge match so a good number of barges made it to the start line at Lower Hope Reach. It was a gloriously hot and sunny day, but the wind refused to blow and the course had to be shortened. Portwey was then positioned at the finishing line and greeted every finisher with a loud blast of her whistle.

Our guests were picked up at 0830 hrs and enjoyed filming these famous vessels at very close quarters before being dropped off ashore at 1630 hrs.

Ramsgate Slipping
14 July to 10 August 2013

After the Thames Barge Match, Portwey spent the night moored at Gravesend before steaming to Ramsgate the next day.

Portwey Slipping
On Monday 15 July Portwey was manoeuvered onto the cradle at the shipyard and hauled out of the water. Work immediately started on removing all the old paint using a technique known as hydro blasting (see photos). This involves blasting jets of water against the hull at a pressure of 40,000 psi.

The hydro blasting took much longer than expected and was the main reason for Portwey remaining out of the water for nearly 4 weeks rather than the 2-3 weeks planned.

Additional tasks included a full professional hull survey (partly sponsored by National Historic Ships UK), minor hull repairs, and 5 new coats of paint/antifouling. Portwey finally looked resplendent with all work complete (see photo) and was refloated on Wednesday 7 August.

Portwey Finished

Steam was raised over the next 2 days, all machinery thoroughly checked, and at 0430 hrs on Saturday 10 August Portwey left Ramsgate Harbour bound for her berth at South Quay, Canary Wharf, arriving later that day.

Mayor of London's Thames Festival
Friday 6th to Sunday 15th September 2013

Portwey at Thames Festival
Portwey made the short passage from South Quay to St.Katharine Docks on Friday 6th, arriving at 1700hrs to find that the same berth had been reserved for her as last year. This was in a very prominent position and a decision was made to turn Portwey around so that visitors could board more easily through the 'gate' on the port side. This tricky manoeuvre, in a very tight space, was accomplished smoothly by our trusty skipper.

The weather was mostly good over the weekend 7th/8th and sure enough a steady stream of visitors arrived to be shown around the tug. There were so many people wanting to come aboard that the small number of crew had to work very hard each day but the enthusiasm of the public made it all worthwhile.

The following weekend 14th/15th was also surprisingly successful considering the weather which was much cooler, windier and wetter.

Portwey left St.Katharine Docks at 1130hrs on Monday 16th and was moored up at South Quay by 1330hrs.

Portwey will now stay at South Quay for the winter while essential maintenance is carried out.