River Thames Scenic Trips
17 to 19 July 2015
After 10 tonnes of coal was loaded into the bunkers on Wednesday 1 July and the water tanks filled, the fires were lit on Tuesday 14 July and on Friday 17 July Portwey left her berth at South Quay with a full head of steam in warm sunshine.
The first trip, entitled "working lock experience" showed guests how Portwey and other much larger vessels are able to pass from the dock into the River Thames safely, despite the different water levels. After another two hour trip between the Thames Barrier and Tower Bridge Portwey berthed at Hermitage Pier, near Tower Bridge, for the night.
The next day the crew were up early to rekindle the fires and Portwey left Hermitage at 0830hrs to pick up the first guests at Masthouse Terrace Pier at 0900hrs.
Four 2 hour trips were successfully completed with a one hour crew rest period for lunch. This time Portwey berthed at Greenwich pier for the night.
On Sunday 19 July the crew were again up early with three 2 hour trips on the river being completed before Portwey rushed back to South Quay to meet a deadline for locking in. Shortly afterwards a cruise ship was carefully guided through the lock by two powerful tugs.
Saturday 22 August 2015
Scenic Trips on 21 & 23 August
These events were very well supported by the public with the unique experience of a coal fired steam tug underway being enjoyed by everyone.The weather was good and Portwey made a fine sight steaming up and down the river.
The fires were lit on Wednesday 19 August ( It takes a minimum of two days to raise full steam from cold ) and at 1300hrs on Friday 21 August Portwey entered the lock at South Quay with guests who had booked the "Working Lock Experience" trip. While the level of the water in the lock was being equalised with the river level the road bridge was raised so that when the lock gates were opened Portwey could steam straight out into the Thames. This two hour trip and one further one were made before Portwey headed down river to Gravesend where she berthed for the night.
Guests were aboard early on Saturday 22 August so after an early hearty breakfast at 0700hrs the crew cast off at 0800hrs and Portwey steamed at full speed to catch up with the Thames Barges. Unlike some recent races, when the fleet was becalmed, this year's race was blessed with a light to moderate breeze so the barges made a fine sight under full sail. After the race Portwey steamed back up river to be ready to collect guests from Masthouse Pier at 0900hrs the next morning.
Three 2 hour scenic river trips were made before Portwey headed back to South Quay. Once back through the lock and safely moored up in Dollar Bay the fires were let out and the tired crew left for home.
St Katherine Docks Classic Boat Rally
11 - 14 September 2015
As part of the Thames Festival, the Classic Boat Rally was again held in St Katherine Docks using the same layout as in previous years.
Four tonnes of coal was loaded and the fires lit on Wednesday 9 September and Portwey left South Quay at 1230hrs on Friday 11 September for the short passage up to St Katherine Docks.The lock there was booked to coincide with High Water as Portwey has a maximum draft of 9 ft. After manoeuvring in a very confined space Portwey was safely moored up and prepared for the weekend visitors.
Many members of the public were given guided tours around the tug over the weekend and Portwey was kept in steam the whole time with low fires. This enabled her to take part in a tuneful demonstration of ship's whistles during which each boat sounded it's whistle in turn for a period of about 15 minutes.
Portwey left St Katherine Docks close to High Water at 1400 hrs and was back at her berth at Dollar Bay, South Quay, by 1600hrs. She will remain there over the winter while essential maintenance is carried out and next year's steaming events are planned.