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Pickle 2

Mal Nicholson and friends get Pickle ready to sail to the UK

This is a selection of photos from the past couple of weeks as Mal Nicholson and his team get Pickle ready to sail back to Blighty. The topsail schooner is a replica of HMS Pickle, aboard which Captain’s Lapotenaire brought news to Britain of the victory at Trafalgar and the death of Nelson.

She’s planning to leave on the 4th October, and I’ve heard there are discussions about organising a welcome home for her. When I know more, I’ll post it here.

Pickle is an interesting vessel in other ways also, as she was originally built in Bermuda, and is of a type known as a Bermuda sloop. It’s interesting that the term’s used to describe something quite different these days…

The astonishing tale of Troy number 12

Down at Fowey, boatbuilder Marcus Lewis has started work bringing Barbara, Troy 12, back to life. As he says, hers is an epic story…

Troy 12, the first to be built after the war in 1946, raced very succesfully in Fowey for a few years, and was then sold to someone who took her to Padstow, fitted a Stuart Turner engine, and had her sitting on the mud with legs when the tide was out.

‘Perhaps inevitably she eventually fell over and stoved-in her side.

‘While she was in the boatyard being repaired, her owner died and his nephew took her on. He was in the army and intended to set up an adventure school in the Hebrides once he was out of uniform, so over a couple years he hopped along the coast with Barbara when he could: from Padstow he sailed round Lands End, along south coast up the East Coast, shipped overland across Scotland, and then sailed out to the Outer Hebrides.

‘He had the boat there for a few years until a bad gale sank her. A mate with a fishing boat pulled her onto the beach, but in doing so pulled her stem out, and she sat on the beach for 15 years or so until till we tracked her down late eighties.

‘A friend and I already had a Troy to look after (number 3, which we tracked down to Gateshead, and subsequently bought – and that’s another epic tale!) so left the owner to try and retrieve number 12.

‘After a few years he gave up so we tried.

‘After an incredible amount of help from the Army and RAF, and from Benbecula Airport, we got the the boat back to Fowey,
on an army supply ship – though sadly on three pallets rather than as a boat-shaped collection of manky wood!

‘The plan was always to rebuild her, but it has taken longer to get round to it than I ever imagined.

‘Realistically, the only useable bit is the lead keel, so that’s where I started a couple months ago, just doing a bit when I can, but she is now set up, with the moulds framed up and work is getting in the way! She probably wont be ready for next season, but I will work away steadily when time permits.’

Thanks Marcus! Check out Marcus’s recent weblog posts (bottom left of his home page) for boats for sale. They include a Heard 28, and various dinghies and a sweet double-ended 18ft daysailer.

 

Old boats, traditional boats, boat building, restoration, the sea and the North Kent Coast – Gavin Atkin's weblog