Southampton’s heritage steamship SS Shieldhall entered dry dock in Falmouth this morning at 6am, after a trip of some 166 nautical miles. This was the first time in three years that the former flagship of the National Historic Fleet was able to use the facility. Entirely crewed by volunteers, it is anticipated Shieldhall will stay in dry dock for approximately one week, before her return trip to Southampton and final preparations ahead of the commencement of her 2021 sailing season on Saturday 26 June.
Shieldhall’s Chief Operating Officer Phil Stephens noted: ‘We’ve had an untroubled journey, blessed by fine weather, with glorious sunsets and sunrises, with pods of dolphins greeting us at the bow. We’ve now got an important week where Shieldhall will be inspected and work carried out to enable us to head out to sea with guests on board this summer, especially as there were no public sailings in 2020 due to the COVID pandemic. We always receive a very warm welcome in Falmouth, and our crew will enjoy their time here, even allowing for all the extra activity taking place in the town!’
Falmouth Harbour’s Chief Executive Miles Carden was pleased to see Shieldhall return to Cornish waters: ‘It is always exciting to welcome a ship from the National Historic Fleet, especially in our 150th anniversary year. Shieldhall is 66 years old this year, and it is wonderful that the team at A&P have the expertise and facilities to keep her ‘Alive and Steaming.’ Shieldhall’s triple expansion steam engines, scotch boilers and original bridge are a throwback to the pre second world war ‘age of steam’ and the work carried out at annual dry docking will help keep her afloat for many years to come. We really look forward to working with the trust who own the vessel to see if she can stay a little longer next year.’
Shieldhall’s blog page is being updated with news and pictures relating to her dry docking every day – check www.ss-shieldhall.co.uk/dry-dock for more info.
Shieldhall’s public sailing programme commences on 26 June, with some 24 cruises planned out of Southampton and Poole until mid-September. For full details of the programme, please visit www.ss-shieldhall.co.uk
News release issued on behalf of Steamship Shieldhall by Nigel Philpott, tel: 023 8084 3310 / 07769 114271