Embassy’s last trips of the 1963 season were scheduled for Thursday 26th September for a departure from Poole Quay at 9am for Bournemouth from where she was due to leave at 10.30am either for a morning or day trip to Totland Bay, Isle of Wight, due back at either 1.30pm or 6.45pm. In the afternoon there was to be a one hour coastal cruise from Bournemouth at 2.30pm followed by an afternoon non landing cruise to Totland Bay at 3.45pm. The day was scheduled to finish with Embassy’s return to Poole Quay at 7pm.
At it turned out none of these sailings took place as Embassy’s last programmed day in service for 1963 was cancelled due to the wind.
The following morning Embassy raised steam and left Poole at 8am for a blustery run along the Dorset coast and round St Albans Head to Weymouth for winter lay-up. She entered the harbour at 11.20am and with the assistance of a couple of small launches fore and aft as tugs, passed through the Town Bridge to her berth in the Backwater. “Finished with engines” was rung at 11.45.
The boiler was blown down the next day. Embassy was de-stored and closed down for the winter. This included putting a winter hat on her funnel to stop the rain going down, removal of the canvas dodgers, piling the buoyant apparatus one on top of another on deck and then covering them with a tarpaulin, storing the lifebuoys below, removing the falls from the lifeboats and the anchor davit and storing them undercover as well as greasing up all the brass and putting tarpaulin bandages around the brass bridge companionway handrail.
Most of the crew were paid off for the winter as usual but key individuals, as well as any others who had skills useful to Cosens in their yard, were kept on. Chief engineer Alf Pover was very useful for his engineering expertise in supervising refits of other ships undertaken by Cosens including that winter work on cross Channel Island mail-boats Caesarea and Sarnia and the cargo ships Roebuck and Sambur. Mate Eric Plater became a foreman/charge-hand for this winter work and Capt John Iliffe generally kept a supervisory eye on Embassy and Cosens’s launches moored in the Backwater. It was part of his daily routine to row round all the boats to check they were OK and bail them out when necessary.
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 27th September 2020.