Category Archives: Sailing ships

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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!

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

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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… ‘

 

Two sea shanties for singing sailors

Two proper sea shanties that are highly suitable for the singing sailor.

I gather ‘noggin’ was a very rude word a century or two back but seems remarkably harmless now… And for that I guess we can thank Oliver Postgate, creator of the cartoon character Noggin the Nog.

PS – And here’s a forebitter about a common sailor’s fantasy – the young woman who dresses as a boy and goes to sea.

Square rigged sailing ship Peking rounds Cape Horn

Here’s some classic footage of the square rigger Peking rounding Cape Horn – and some other bits and pieces. My thanks to regular reader Martin O’Scannall for sending this link over.

By the way – this YouTube is really rather poor and I’m told by regular reader Chris Brady that the Mystic Seaport Museum has a much better version on sale on DVD.

Russian project to build a new Cutty Sark

Replica Cutty Sark project

A group based in Russia has emerged with plans to build a new, sailing Cutty Sark – and even more extraordinary plans to revive tea clipper racing. Read about the original Cutty Sark here.

I’m amazed and impressed, and hope it all works out!

The initiators are led by Captain Vladimir Martus, owner and builder of the Shtandart, a replica of Russia’s first naval vessel, which was built by Tsar Peter the Great in 1703, and was also named Shtandart. She was launched in 2000 and has sailed ever since – so I guess they know what they’re doing.

The plan is to lay the keel of the new vessel in 2017, and to launch the new Cutty Sark in 2019. As the site says, the first step is to acquire copies of as much documentation as possible to make it possible for the project to go ahead.

EW Cooke’s Fifty Plates of Shipping and Craft, published in 1829

Fifty plates of shipping and craft , a collection of drawings by EW Cooke, 1811-80. They were published in 1829, when he was just 18…

Read about him here.

As Arthur Percival points out (comments below – thanks Arthur) there’s a relatively recent biography, if you’re interested and have a few bob to hand.