Author Topic: PS Ryde : last ditch "save it from scrap" appeal  (Read 6320 times)

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Offline tramscape

Re: PS Ryde : last ditch "save it from scrap" appeal
« Reply #20 on: Nov 24, 2018, 12:06 AM »
I was last on Ryde 29 years ago - and she was in a pretty bad state then !

Offline tramscape

Re: PS Ryde : last ditch "save it from scrap" appeal
« Reply #21 on: Nov 28, 2018, 12:10 PM »
Lisa has posted on FB this morning that the contract to buy PS Ryde has been signed

Reading the post, it is not entirely clear whether the amount raised so far in the crowdfunder is for the ship outright - or just the first instalment .......
« Last Edit: Nov 28, 2018, 12:15 PM by tramscape »

Online Peter Mugridge

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Re: PS Ryde : last ditch "save it from scrap" appeal
« Reply #22 on: Nov 28, 2018, 10:18 PM »
Either way... this is a development that most of us never expected to see... :)
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Offline Clydebuilt1971

Re: PS Ryde : last ditch "save it from scrap" appeal
« Reply #23 on: Nov 30, 2018, 09:07 AM »
I received an email from Lisa this week replying to my request for some more information to post here.

The jist of it is as follows:

"Things moved progressively well the other day and we have now entered a contract to remove the vessel within 24 months."
"She will be removed in sections but we would like to retain as much as possible although she is very frail her back is not broken.
"Her engines are the heart and she will have them removed and put into a new hull incorporating as many original steel fittings as possible."
"She will be returning to sea going paddling and will do excursions on the Solent and around the UK "

One large issue I can see is that Lisa told me a little while ago that Ryde is full of asbestos which will have to be removed before any contractor would touch her.

Call me cynical (and I hope it isn't the case) but I think the current owners have won a watch as Friends of PS Ryde are effectively paying them for the vessel and then funding it's removal from their land - that's a win win no matter what way you look at it!

There was no information as to how any of this would be funded etc etc. so I guess we wait and see what happens.

An HLF application (IMHO) wouldn't be viable as they've already "been there" with Medway Queen (ie new hull etc) and in the process effectively scuppered any chance of the vessel ever getting a passenger certificate again by insisting on an all riveted hull so if she were to get back in steam Medway Queen would only be able to take a max of 12 pax.

Her engines are in OK condition but are not unique in that (as stated above) ps Caledonia's engines were saved after the fire. Ryde's are just a smaller version of the same design.

As I say - we wait and see......

Gav
« Last Edit: Nov 30, 2018, 09:11 AM by Clydebuilt1971 »

Offline June Ingram

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Re: PS Ryde : last ditch "save it from scrap" appeal
« Reply #24 on: Nov 30, 2018, 04:16 PM »
Many thanks, Gav, for the info.  I do hope things work out !
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Online Peter Mugridge

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Re: PS Ryde : last ditch "save it from scrap" appeal
« Reply #25 on: Nov 30, 2018, 05:01 PM »

"Her engines are the heart and she will have them removed and put into a new hull incorporating as many original steel fittings as possible."

Now that sounds like it's pretty much along the same principle that allows a virtually brand new Spitfire to be called a restoration and given the original registration and airframe history as long as it contains at least some original components?
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Online Thomas Hypher

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Re: PS Ryde : last ditch "save it from scrap" appeal
« Reply #26 on: Nov 30, 2018, 05:47 PM »
Now that sounds like it's pretty much along the same principle that allows a virtually brand new Spitfire to be called a restoration and given the original registration and airframe history as long as it contains at least some original components?

A very tenuous use of the definition of "restoration" at best, that has often made me think whether they are actually preserving the spirit of the thing that's "restored" or if it just becomes some sort of facsimile through the restorer's interpretation and therefore not the same in "feel" or spirit which is surely the whole point? At what point does one say the thing is a replica instead? The thing potentially being an aircraft, steam locomotive, ship etc etc.
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Online Peter Mugridge

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Re: PS Ryde : last ditch "save it from scrap" appeal
« Reply #27 on: Nov 30, 2018, 11:22 PM »
That's a good question - certainly in the case of the Spitfire restorations you only need very little indeed of the original for it to count...

In the field of railway preservation it is highly unlikely that very much of any locomotive in a museum is actually original; it was common practice to swap components at overhauls - a steam locomotive traditionally takes its identify from the frames so in may cases the frames may be all that's left of the original and sometimes even those have been re-plated!  Pretty much a case of "Grandfather's axe" ( Or Trigger's Broom! )

So... in the case of the Ryde... it sounds to me like it'll be the original machinery in a brand new hull but with a few original hull components included?  Seems a very similar scenario to me?
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Offline Bruce Nicholls

Re: PS Ryde : last ditch "save it from scrap" appeal
« Reply #28 on: Dec 01, 2018, 11:56 AM »
Grandfather's axe!

Online Thomas Hypher

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Re: PS Ryde : last ditch "save it from scrap" appeal
« Reply #29 on: Dec 01, 2018, 08:48 PM »
Just found this which sums this question up:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ship_of_Theseus
First sailed on QE2 in August 2003 aged 6 years old. Last stepped foot and sailed on QE2 in July 2008. Last saw the seagoing QE2 in person from the decks of QM2, on QE2's last Transatlantic crossing (Eastbound tandem) in October 2008. Visited QE2, in her new life, in Dubai back in January 2020.

Offline tramscape

Re: PS Ryde : last ditch "save it from scrap" appeal
« Reply #30 on: Dec 03, 2018, 04:56 PM »
Whatever anyone might think the chances of Ryde being rebuilt are, I never see any reference to what she will do once she has been ... until Gavin's post above

Paddling around the Solent and around the UK doing excursions does not appear to be a sensible business proposition ......unless your pockets are deep and big losses are no worry
« Last Edit: Dec 03, 2018, 04:58 PM by tramscape »

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Re: PS Ryde : last ditch "save it from scrap" appeal
« Reply #31 on: Dec 03, 2018, 09:24 PM »
Paddling around the Solent and around the UK doing excursions does not appear to be a sensible business proposition ......unless your pockets are deep and big losses are no worry


Is this partly due to already existing "competition", for lack of a better word, in the form of Waverley and the other preserved old ships such as Shieldhall? Can the "preserved old ships in seagoing condition" market be oversaturated? I understand Ryde's situation with having to be completely rebuilt and the rules and regs that go along with that complicate things a lot too, perhaps making it questionable from a business point of view.
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Online Peter Mugridge

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Re: PS Ryde : last ditch "save it from scrap" appeal
« Reply #32 on: Dec 03, 2018, 09:38 PM »
Any market can become over saturated if enough people start going into it.  If they are careful they should be able to fit in but I would certainly start wondering if there were any further vessels in the market later on.

In the case of Ryde herself, it does occur to me that the running costs may be lower than otherwise as it would in effect be a brand new vessel so the maintenance requirement may not be quite so intensive for at least the first few years.  That would obviously help, and again for the first few years there would be a rarity / novelty value that would boost demand somewhat.

The biggest risk would probably be bad weather wiping out a season - the last thing they would need weather-wise would be a summer like 2012 early on in the vessel's life.
« Last Edit: Dec 03, 2018, 09:40 PM by Peter Mugridge »
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Offline tramscape

Re: PS Ryde : last ditch "save it from scrap" appeal
« Reply #33 on: Dec 03, 2018, 10:12 PM »
Well, as a student of this sector of the market, one can only say that Waverley is a complete anachronism which has survived through remarkable circumstances (and she has a lot going for her) but still chalks up major losses each year

Balmoral has always been a financial disaster

Shieldhall survives (just) because her costs are cut to the absolute bone to the extent that it is completely volunteer managed and operated, but she cannot generate a surplus to pay for her annual (or in her case, it seems) bi-ennial dry docking.  Mystifyingly, the cost for this has traditionally been much lower than for Waverley or Balmoral and I would love to know why ..... but they have to make a public appeal to pay for it

Large ship coastal cruising is, unfortunately not a business, it is a hobby where you hope to sell tickets to others to pay for as much of it as possible ..... but in the end have to keep paying for it out of your own pocket

I can't see Ryde being any different.  Waverley does OK on the Solent during her short visits. Balmoral's financial performance there has been disastrous. I can't see Ryde covering her operational costs let alone generate finance towards any maintenance, especially if she employs a full-time crew and a central office with employees
« Last Edit: Dec 03, 2018, 10:44 PM by tramscape »

Offline tramscape

Re: PS Ryde : last ditch "save it from scrap" appeal
« Reply #34 on: Dec 04, 2018, 12:02 AM »
It's not the fact that these are heritage ships which is the problem - it is the excursion business itself. Had there been a business, someone would be providing it - with ships suitable for the job in hand. Waverley's owners are trying their best although they have lost the core ferry business which sustained her as part of the Caledonian fleet. That doesn't mean that there is no ferry business on the Clyde. There is - and much more so than ever before

Smaller "boat-trip" boats survive in many places, of course - but survive on minimum costs and are based on smallish passenger numbers

It takes somewhere special and special circumstances for large heritage ships like Waverley to survive in any form - and even then not really as independent operations. The lakes in Switzerland are a case in point, but apart from the Alps, there are few places in Europe with anything remotely like the conditions needed for such ships to survive sustainably outside larger fleets. With few exceptions, most operate along the lines of Shieldhall

Places like the Solent are also very well off for ferries - ie what the paddlers did in times gone by so there is no loss of trade in total. It seems that those with money who fancy something different just buy their own yacht or cabin cruiser nowadays
 
« Last Edit: Dec 04, 2018, 12:12 AM by tramscape »

Online Rob Lightbody

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Re: PS Ryde : last ditch "save it from scrap" appeal
« Reply #35 on: Dec 04, 2018, 06:45 PM »
Somebody from this forum argued with me forcefully about this.

BUT

I feel that a classic paddle steamer (like this one) but converted to the most modern propulsion system possible, would be a good idea.  It could still work the same way - the paddles and the central powerplant - but not steam.  Youd still get the lovely paddling sound from up top, it would look the same, and to all intents it would function the same.   Perhaps you could fit a device that still let it have a steam whistle. If you could dramatically reduce the fuel consumption by adpopting decades of efficiency improvements, you'd give the ship a better chance of turning a profit and surviving.

QE2 changed from Steam to Diesel-electric after all - yes she may have lost a bit of something, but did she stop being what she was?
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Re: PS Ryde : last ditch "save it from scrap" appeal
« Reply #36 on: Dec 04, 2018, 06:46 PM »
Well, as a student of this sector of the market, one can only say that Waverley is a complete anachronism which has survived through remarkable circumstances (and she has a lot going for her) but still chalks up major losses each year

Balmoral has always been a financial disaster

Shieldhall survives (just) because her costs are cut to the absolute bone to the extent that it is completely volunteer managed and operated, but she cannot generate a surplus to pay for her annual (or in her case, it seems) bi-ennial dry docking.  Mystifyingly, the cost for this has traditionally been much lower than for Waverley or Balmoral and I would love to know why ..... but they have to make a public appeal to pay for it

Large ship coastal cruising is, unfortunately not a business, it is a hobby where you hope to sell tickets to others to pay for as much of it as possible ..... but in the end have to keep paying for it out of your own pocket

I can't see Ryde being any different.  Waverley does OK on the Solent during her short visits. Balmoral's financial performance there has been disastrous. I can't see Ryde covering her operational costs let alone generate finance towards any maintenance, especially if she employs a full-time crew and a central office with employees

Thanks for your knowledgable contributions - very interesting and enlightening to me.

Please can you say why Balmoral has always been a financial disaster?  She's such a lovely ship - and surely she's more efficient than Waverley, isn't she??
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Offline tramscape

Re: PS Ryde : last ditch "save it from scrap" appeal
« Reply #37 on: Dec 04, 2018, 08:38 PM »
Hi Rob

The diesel conversions on Lake Geneva are very nice and very efficient - and due to their relatively low operating costs get heavy usage - similar to many of the diesel units in the fleet. They are not bad to sail on at all ..... but something is definitely missing with them. They are part of a large fleet (with four genuine paddle steamers amongst it) and are not "destinations" in their own right.  Ryde would have to be

The thing about running Ryde on diesel-electric/hydraulic would be that the Heritage Lottery Fund would never support it

Balmoral's fuel cost is about half that of Waverley and her crew is a bit smaller, so in theory she should, if placed on Waverley's routes instead of Waverley, be an improvement at least in terms of business cost - but would she earn the revenue?  Certainly not as attractive a vessel and on the Clyde, a vessel without much recognition and no heritage.  Even recent year's end of season few days on the Clyde under Balmoral Fund ownership / White Funnel operation were a disaster from a customer count point of view, whilst Waverley end of season weekend (if she manages to get home in time from the south) are very well patronised

So, as she can't be on the Clyde in high summer, her other operating areas really aren't suitable for the type of service she is trying to offer. Consistently high demand for excursions is not there. There are no heaving resorts to sail to (that can't be accessed by car anyway) or from.  Waverley excursions ran her for many years and the benefits she provided were not financial - but important in other ways. She was operating in less than optimal areas and latterly was losing so many cruises to weather etc etc. At best she covered her operating costs, but contributed little to Waverley Excursions' central overheads and in some years her operating costs had to be subsidised. Latterly these became unsustainable and the charity commission could not allow charitable funds to be drained off to support her and it became impossible for the Waverley business to survive at all if it had to carry these costs

Waverley management were very adamant that the Solent, although on the face of it, a good area for potential traffic, was no place for Balmoral because she just wouldn't work there. Even BFL in their short life had to pull their Solent programme !  I'm not sure that Ryde would be any more popular

Balmoral Fund Ltd thought that if they operated the ship without the dead hand of a remote and disinterested management in Glasgow, they would make a better fist of it. As it turned out, although they tried hard and get full marks for their great stab at making customers happy, they could not achieve any better result. Trying to plug Waverley's losses what with a large following of paddle steamer enthusiasts and PSPS as an organisation is hard enough. Balmoral having to do the same is even harder for them
« Last Edit: Dec 04, 2018, 08:53 PM by tramscape »

Offline tramscape

Re: PS Ryde : last ditch "save it from scrap" appeal
« Reply #38 on: Dec 04, 2018, 09:20 PM »
Waverley actually isn't a very good vessel for the modern day. Interesting for sure, beautiful (in most people's eye) yes - but only good when the weather is good and even then you have to generally have to want a bit of a sea breeze if you are outside. Balmoral is worse - so too Ryde if rebuilt as Ryde was

Her internal accommodation is not very extensive and most is down low with not much opportunity to look out at the scenery. Even the lower bar port holes are just at the water line - and high up so you can't see out 
« Last Edit: Dec 04, 2018, 09:25 PM by tramscape »

Offline Clydebuilt1971

Re: PS Ryde : last ditch "save it from scrap" appeal
« Reply #39 on: Dec 05, 2018, 01:17 PM »
Great posts Tramscape however I wouldn't just focus on the ship's shortcomings when it comes to Waverley. WEL are a disgrace IMHO in the way they market her (or don't market her) and the experience (or lack thereof) they provide on board for the money they are charging. Their customer service is terrible too - I wonder how many first timer travellers never come back as a result of one or all of the above.

Don't get me wrong - I adore Waverley and I know her intimately (well post HLF rebuild and at least from an engineering point of view) due to the enjoyable time I spent volunteering on her during winters.

Sure Waverley is a hugely expensive beast to run. Even when I was on PSPS council she was in excess of £5k per day to run but no one seemed to be focussed on how to look at changing how she was operated (ie shorter days etc etc) - WSN were more interested in raiding the PSPS coffers!

I fear Ryde would suffer a similar issue......

I love Balmoral - she is a great wee ship but when compared to Waverley she loses out as to most shes just another little motorship whereas the paddler is very different.

I wonder what the next move will be re: Ryde - from what I'm seeing on Facebook etc I predict an eleventh hour "pull out" sadly - which is going to trigger a huge backlash on Friends of PS Ryde.

Rob mentioned QE2 not really changing her personality when she was converted. I'm guessing there would not be too many people that worried about what was turning the propellers on her - as long as they turned! QE2's essence would be in what she offered her passengers etc rather than what method of propulsion was in the ER.

So we watch the Ryde situation with interest...........

Gav
« Last Edit: Dec 05, 2018, 01:24 PM by Clydebuilt1971 »