Tall Ships Festival
14 to 16 April 2017
The first steaming of the year coincided with the gathering of the Tall Ships at Greenwich for the 2017 Tall Ships Festival. This meant that Portwey had to be prepared for steaming rather earlier in the year than usual but with so many of these magnificent sailing vessels gathered together the opportunity for seeing them close up from the river could not be missed.
A lot of work had been done on the tug over the winter so before venturing out it was decided to test run the main engines and ancillary equipment. Eight tonnes of coal was loaded, the water tanks filled, fires lit, steam raised, and all tests completed successfully.
On Wednesday 12 April the fires were lit again and on Friday 14 April PORTWEY headed out into the Thames with guests aboard for their working lock experience trip.
A total of eight 2 hour trips were made over the long weekend and as expected the Tall Ships proved a major attraction as did Portwey judging by the waving from people ashore, on other vessels, Tower Bridge etc.
After the weekend the Tall Ships took part in the Rendez-vous 2017 Tall Ships Regatta to Quebec, Canada.
Thames Barge Match
Saturday 15 July 2017
Scenic Trips on 14 & 16 July
The second steaming weekend coincided with the 2017 River Thames Sailing Barge Match.
On Friday 14 July Portwey left South Quay for a 2 hour "Working Lock Experience" trip followed by one more 2 hour trip between Tower Bridge and the Thames Barrier before heading down river to Gravesend to be ready for the Sailing Barge Match the following day.
The crew were up early to raise steam on race day and after guests were boarded Portwey set off in pursuit of the race. It was a splendid day, if a little cloudy, with perfect conditions for the sailing barges and Portwey was able to get right in amongst the racing vessels for some superb filming which took place from aboard the tug and from a rigid inflatable boat especially chartered for the occasion.
After the race finished Portwey made her way back up river to be ready for more 2 hour scenic trips the next day.
Portwey's 90th Birthday Celebration
at Gravesend’s Something for The Weekend
5 & 6 August 2017
London to Gravesend Trip
Friday 4 August 2017
The third steaming weekend was all about celebrating Portwey's 90th birthday. The celebrations began with a trip up river to HMS President, just below Tower Bridge, where Royal Navy personnel and members of the press awaited.
On arrival Portwey was saluted by the commodore in recognition of her wartime service.
During the 40 minute stay alongside much filming and interviewing was carried out. As Portwey left she was saluted again, a tight 180 degree turn was made just before Tower Bridge, and as Portwey started to head down river smoke was produced at the request of film crews.
A swift journey with the tide was then made down to Gravesend to join other vessels for the "Something For The Weekend" event. Over the next two days Portwey was visited by large numbers of the public despite two heavy thunderstorms during the weekend. Demonstrations of Portwey's firefighting capabilities were also held each day.
Fundraising was helped by a group of Royal Navy Sea Cadets who were positioned strategically on the pier and supplied with information leaflets and collection boxes. They were rewarded with a trip on Portwey back up river to South Quay.
St Katharine Docks Classic Boat Rally
Weekend 9/10 September 2017
Working Lock Experience
Thursday 7 September 2017
Weekend 16/17 September 2017
Our final steaming events of the year were held over two consecutive weekends in September. Portwey participated as usual in the Classic Boat Rally at St Katharine Docks followed by a very short journey down river to Hermitage Pier for their Charity Open Weekend. Both events were held in cooler weather conditions than last year but visitor numbers were only slightly down.
Portwey made the trip back to South Quay with the "Massey Shaw" and winter maintenance has begun.