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Shieldhall returns to Southampton ahead of new season sailings

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Southampton’s heritage steamship SS Shieldhall has returned looking spick and span following her biennial visit to dry dock in Falmouth.

With only four weeks to go until her first cruises of the 2018 season over the weekend of 26-27 May, Shieldhall has had a fresh lick of paint applied to her hull and anchors, and routine maintenance work undertaken including anti-fouling, the installation of new foremast lights and the checking of the port propeller shaft, and now has a clean bill of health.

National Historic Ships 2018 Regional Flagship Status

Shieldhall’s return comes just a few days after the announcement of her National Historic Ships 2018 Regional Flagship status – the Shieldhall so becoming the first ship to hold the distinction of holding either the National or Regional Flagship status on two occasions. A National Historic Ships spokesman noted: ‘SS Shieldhall was National Historic Ships UK’s first National Flagship in 2009. This year (which marks her 30th anniversary in current ownership), she has been awarded regional status in recognition of her continual and extensive sailing programme in the Solent area which has seen passenger numbers increase exponentially each year.’

Graham Mackenzie, who oversaw a HLF project completed on Shieldhall in 2017, was thrilled at the award: ‘There are approximately 200 vessels on the National Historic Ships Register, all distinguished by being of pre-eminent national or regional significance; spanning the spectrum of UK maritime history; illustrating changes in construction and technology and meriting a higher priority for long term conservation. Our humble passenger-cargo vessel stands alongside such famous ships as the SS Great Britain, the Royal Yacht Britannia, HMS Victory and the Cutty Sark. What Shieldhall offers of course is the opportunity to go out to sea in a steam ship, and to get up close to Shieldhall’s ‘jewels’ – her mighty triple-expansion steam engines - as they go about their paces. It is a great credit to our volunteers that Shieldhall is still introducing the experience of steam at sea to new generations, some 63 years after she was first constructed.’

The coundown is on! 4 weeks to go...

Shieldhall’s first cruise for the 2018 season is a 2 hour tour of Southampton’s Docks between 4pm – 6pm on Saturday 26th May, followed by a 3 hour cruise on a Titanic theme the following day, Sunday 27th May, between 3pm – 6pm, when guest speaker Ann Victoria Roberts will give a talk on Captain E J Smith.

Thereafter Shieldhall stages a number of 2hr, 3hr, 4hr, half day or full day sailings at intervals until mid-September. Planned trips for the 2018 season include sailings coinciding with the Round the Island Yacht Race, Cowes Fireworks, ‘The 3 Queens’ in Port, the Bournemouth Air Festival and the Southampton Boat Show. Special group packages are available with a Titanic theme, which include a visit to Southampton’s SeaCity Museum, a guided walk around Southampton’s Titanic Quarter and Titanic Memorials, and a 2hr or 3hr afternoon cruise on the Shieldhall.  Shieldhall has a Galley, Licensed Bar and Saloon, with a selection of hot and cold food and real ale available on all trips.

Posted by Lewis Folland, Sun 29 Apr 2018

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