Category Archives: History

The Apprentice Lighterman (1963)

The Apprentice Lighterman (1963) – a short film about the work of lightermen on the Thames five decades ago.

My thanks to Andrew Craig-Bennett for spotting and sharing this video on The Liquid Highway’s YouTube account.

Film about the commercial potential of British canals, 1962

Television reporter Robert Reid takes a journey on the British Waterways tug Primrose from Avonmouth Docks to Worcester calling at Sharpness and Gloucester Docks in a film made to promote the commercial use of waterways before the age of the container.

My thanks to Hans-Christian Rieck for spotting this one.

Shtandart in Ramsgate Harbour

The modern Shtandart – a replica of the frigate Shtandart that was the first ship of Russia’s Baltic fleet launched in 1703 by the decree of Tsar Peter I – was tied up in Ramsgate Harbour over the weekend.

My pal Ian Carter kindly sent me these photos.

She’s 90ft in length on deck and 23ft wide – which doesn’t seem very large when her original crew complement in 1703 was between 120 and 150! Read about her here and here.

Thanks Ian!

Giant squid sea monsters are real, just as the old sailors said…

poulpe-colossal

The legendary giant squid sea monster is real. Perhaps not quite as big as this picture suggests, but I wouldn’t fancy the chances of a human who got into a fight with one… They’re capable of eating two to three metre fish, apparently.

How do we know this creature exists? Biologists at New Zealand’s AUT University recently dissected a defrosted one and the whole thing is on YouTube.

For an earlier Intheboatshed.net post about giant sea monsters, click here.

Topsail schooner Pickle to have a new life thanks to Mal Nicholson

1280px-HMSPicklereplica

HMS Pickle replica“. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

The fabulous replica of Nelson’s topsail schooner HMS Pickle that featured in Tom Cunliffe’s TV series Boats that Built Britain has been bought by Mal Nicholson, owner of the magnificent Humber sloop Spider T.

After Trafalgar, HMS Pickle famously carried the news of Nelson’s great victory back to Britain – along with the news of Nelson’s own death.

The schooner is currently moored in Ocean Village in Gibraltar and is undergoing repairs. After many years of owning and running Spider T, I’m quite certain Mal knows what he’s in for – but great good luck to him and his helpers.

Previous owner Robin James’s family has owned Pickle for the past nine years. He said that the decision to sell the ship had been extremely difficult : ‘I have poured my soul into her over the past nine years, and in return she has carried me and many new friends safely through storms and adventures.

‘But after a difficult voyage to Gibraltar followed by a failure to get the much needed support to make her a success, this is the best decision to secure her future. The decision to sell Pickle has been made far easier by finding Mal, who I trust to continue to care for her and get her sailing again, while continuing to share her with everybody from her past, present and future.’

Mal said that during her time with Robin, Pickle had won many friends and supporters, and achieved amazing things.

For information see the Pickle facebook page  where he will post information future plans for the vessel, and will be re-developing the website www.schoonerpickle.com.

Mr James added that that an unknown author once wrote the following lines, which summarised his feelings on Pickle’s sale:

‘I’d rather be the ship that sails And rides the billows wild and free; Than to be the ship that always fails To leave its port and go to sea.
I’d rather feel the sting of strife, Where gales are born and tempests roar;
Than to settle down to useless life And rot in dry dock on the shore. I’d rather fight some mighty wave With honour in supreme command; And fill at last a well-earned grave, Than die in ease upon the sand.
I’d rather drive where sea storms blow, And be the ship that always failed
To make the ports where it would go, Than be the ship that never sailed.’

 Meanwhile, I will be casually dropping these words into the conversation at social gatherings: ‘I know a bloke who has a topsail schooner. Oh yes… ‘

 

Uffa Fox designed Flying 30 Huff of Arklow relaunch in September

Huff of Arklow

The latest Shipshape Network newsletter brings happy news that the restoration of the Uffa Fox designed Flying 30, Huff of Arklow, is progressing rapidly and is to be relaunched on the 7th September.

An enlarged version of Fox’s wonderfully elegant Flying 15 design, Huff was was built in 1951 in Arklow by John Tyrrell & Sons (see list of Tyrell-built craft) for the well known yachtsman Douglas Heard. She’s an important boat in several ways – she was the first masthead rigged sloop designed to plane and the first ocean-going yacht designed to plane. And she is fast, certainly – she recorded a speed of 23 knots on a trip to Iceland in 1960.

Read about Huff of Arklow and her restoration here and here. Oh, and there are a Facebook page and a Twitter account to follow too!

PS – Martha’s Vineyard sailor and boat surveyor Ginny Jones wrote to tell me about this YouTube video about Huff, complete with Uffa Fox singing a stage sea song, some modern pop stuff with photos of kid’s and their models of Huff, and finally photos of her pre-restoration interior, with someone (I don’t know who) singing a proper sea song, the Sailor’s ABC.