On Sunday 17th August 1958 Embassy sailed from Bournemouth Pier for a “Grand Channel Cruise to Portland Dockyard for a close up view of America’s famous nuclear submarine Nautilus.”
Nautilus was the first nuclear submarine in the world and had arrived at Portland a few days before after completing the first ever transit by submarine under the North Pole. There was huge media attention about this feat on which Cosens cashed in with this special cruise on Embassy leaving Bournemouth at 2.30pm due back at 8pm.
I have a very clear recollection of looking out for Embassy that afternoon from my bedroom window which overlooked Portland Harbour and beyond along the Dorset Coast as this was such an unusual cruise. I studied the horizon with my telescope and there she was rounding St Albans Head at about 3.45pm. You couldn’t miss her really even that far off as in those days she had a characteristic thick black plume of smoke coming out of her funnel whenever she was underway. The thick black plume got ever larger until there was Embassy herself steaming into Portland Harbour through the East Ship Channel.
As with the USS submarine Skipjack the following summer, Consul also ran one hour cruises from Weymouth at 2pm, 3pm and 4pm to give a close up view of the American phenomenon which was Nautilus.
Kingswear Castle returned to service in 2023 after the first part of a major rebuild which is designed to set her up for the next 25 years running on the River Dart. The Paddle Steamer Kingswear Castle Trust is now fund raising for the second phase of the rebuild. You can read more about the rebuilds and how you can help if you can here.
This article was first published on 17th August 2019.