Portwey Events 2016

Thames Barge Match
Saturday 25 June 2016
Scenic Trips 24 & 26 June

After the winter maintenance programme was completed in late May it was time to load Portwey with coal and water for the 2016 steaming events. This was completed in time for our first steaming weekend which included the Thames Barge Match.

Coaling underway at South Quay

It takes two days and ½ tonne of coal to reach the boiler pressure of 100psi required for steaming so on Wednesday 22 June the fires were lit and on Friday 24 June, after thorough testing of all the machinery, Portwey left her berth at the start of her first trip entitled "Working Lock Experience". After passing through the lock and under the raised road bridge Portwey proceeded into the Thames at full speed.

Portwey passing through the Thames Barrier

After one more 2 hour trip it was time to head down river towards Gravesend for the Barge Match briefing and a pleasant berth alongside the quay. The next day, after an early start to raise a full head of steam by 0800hrs, Portwey steamed at full speed to catch up with the racing barges. With warm sunshine and light to moderate winds the Thames Barges made a fine sight as usual. At the completion of the match our guests were ferried ashore and Portwey proceeded up river to be in position for Sunday's scenic trips. On the way, approaching Greenwich, Portwey was caught in a thunderstorm which deposited a large amount of hailstones on deck and caused the wheelhouse windows to steam up!

Racing Sailing Barges

Three 2 hour trips with guests were undertaken on Sunday before Portwey returned to her berth at South Quay.

Portwey sliding under the raised road bridge into the lock

River Thames Scenic Trips
29 to 31 July 2016

The next steaming took place over the period 29-31 July during which a total of nine 2 hour scenic trips were made with guests aboard. The weather was again kind to us with mostly dry and quite warm days.

Some of the engine room crew


St Katherine Docks Classic Boat Festival
Weekend 10/11 September 2016

PORTWEY was again invited to take part in the annual Classic Boat Festival which is part of the Thames Festival programme. She made the short trip up to St Katherine Docks on Thursday 8 September which left us with plenty of time to smarten her up as much as possible on the Friday. That evening there was a drinks reception hosted by the marina staff where crews were able to meet up and socialise.

Portwey at the Classic Boat Festival

Saturday was a busy day with a constant flow of visitors despite some rain in the afternoon. Proceedings were opened by the blowing of ships whistles with Portwey's the loudest of course! Visitors were shown around all areas of the tug in groups of up to eight people. In the evening the marina staff organised a barbecue for boat crews on the main display pontoon.

The crew warming up for the barbecue

Sunday was a much better day weather wise and visitors to the docks w ere treated to a display of mock firefighting with the fire boat Massey Shaw and Portwey using their powerful hoses.

The firefighting display

Portwey left St Katherine Docks at 1030hrs on Tuesday 13 September for the short trip around to Hermitage pier.

Portwey approaching Hermitage Pier



Hermitage Pier Open Weekend
17/18 September 2016

Portwey arrived at Hermitage Pier late morning on Tuesday 13 September and was given an outside berth with a fine view of Tower Bridge and The Shard.

The view from Hermitage Pier (taken earlier in the year)

Portwey and Massey Shaw at Hermitage Pier for the open weekend

Many visitors came aboard on both open days over the weekend and again were escorted around the tug in small groups by crew members. On Sunday evening the crew were invited to a barbecue which was lit with the aid of coals supplied from Portwey's fires.

How to light a barbecue!

Portwey returned to South Quay on Monday 19 September where she will remain over the winter while essential maintenance is carried out.