Tag Archives: historic

Humber sloop Spider T to sail to Arbroath

Humber sloop Spider T 2011

Humber sloop Spider T is off on an amazing two week trip to Arbroath this summer to appear in the Seafest 2011, which takes place on the weekend of 13th and 14th August.

On the way the plan is to call at Montrose and several other ports en route as she heads along the coasts of North Yorkshire, Durham and Northumberland.

In her current restored condition, Spider T has previously travelled to Rotterdam and to Scarborough.

She was built at New Holland on the River Humber in 1926, and originally carried bricks and other cargoes up and down the coast and along the inland river and canal networks, and was saved from the scrapyard in the 1990s by motor engineer and car restorer Mal Nicholson of Burringham, near Scunthorpe.

She has been gradually restored to her former glory, including a sailing rig, and is now part of the National Historic Fleet, an honour that recognises Spider T’s historic importance alongside the Mary Rose and the Balmoral. She was also runner-up in the National Historic Ships organisation’s Fly the Flag competition this year.

Owner Mal is currently seeking ports and tourist centres interested in hosting the vessel for a night on the journey – the unusual sight of a historic Humber sloop will provide an interesting spectacle for visitors and enthusiasts, and is also hoping to attract contributions to the fuel costs of the journey, though much of the voyage will be undertaken under sail.

The Spider T will also feature at the 40th anniversary celebrations of the Humber Keel and Sloop Preservation Society being staged at South Ferriby on the weekend of Saturday, July 23 and Sunday, July 24, with five historic craft available for viewing from 10am to 5pm and some sailings for members with displays of paintings, photos, videos and live presentations.

Further details on the vessel are available on the Spider T website and contact re the voyage can be made through Mal Nicholson on 07739863604 m.nicholson4@sky.com.

PS – The northward journey could of course be affected by the weather, but at present the aim is to stop at the following ports on the way up to Arbroath:

Saturday, 30th July: Keadby to Grimsby (arrive GY around 6pm)
Sunday, 31st July: Grimsby to Scarborough (arrive Scarborough 7pm to 8pm)
Monday, 1st August: Scarborough to Hartlepool (arrive
Tuesday, 2nd August: Stay in Hartlepool, available for viewing (to be arranged)
Wednesday, 3nd August: Hartlepool to Blyth
Thursday, 4th August: Blyth to Eyemouth
Friday, 5th August: Eyemouth to Anstruther
Saturday, 6th August: Stay in Anstruther
Sunday, 7th August: Anstruther to Montrose.
Monday, 8th August; Stay in Montrose.
Tuesday, 9th August: Montrose to Stonehaven? Depends on swell
Wednesday, 10th August: Stonehaven? To Arbroath
Thursday, 11-14th August: Arbroath
Monday, 15th August: Arbroath (or possibly North Berwick)

PPS – Seafest this year will celebrate the 200th anniversary of the building of the Bell Rock Lighthouse. Built by Robert Stevenson, it is the world’s oldest surviving sea-washed lighthouse. The engraving below appears in a biography written by Stevenson’s son, and is from a drawing by a Miss Stevenson – which I guess might have been Stevenson’s daughter or granddaughter.

Illustration by Miss Stevenson from the book Biographical Sketch of the Late Robert Stevenson: Civil Engineer, by Alan Stevenson (son of Robert) 

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Faversham Creek Trust launched to revitalise historic waterway

Faversham Creek Trust leaflet

The Faversham Creek Trust launched yesterday will ‘work with both local and national government to regenerate shipbuilding and marine activity, creating a vibrant, revitalised working creek and skilled jobs for local people’.

That sounds like good news to me – if the council and landowners allow the new trust to achieve its aims.

A press release issued by the trust puts it this way:

‘Dedicated to protecting and promoting Faversham’s centuries-old maritime industry, the trust intends to reverse the recent decline in the creek’s fortunes for the benefit of the whole town, which is an ancient Cinque Port 10 miles west of Canterbury.

‘The trust has invited creekside land owners and operators to participate, and has produced a colour brochure detailing the creek’s history and its importance to the town. It sets out plans for a successful, sustainable future for this tidal link to the Thames Estuary, guaranteeing real employment and training opportunities.

‘The trust is asking the local authority, Swale Borough Council, to commit to protecting Faversham’s heritage and has plans in place to raise funds once the future of significant creekside sites can be secured.

‘The launch of the Trust comes at a time of widespread public concern for the creek’s future: in particular, the immediate threat to traditional boatbuilding jobs at Standard Quay. Around 1,000 people have already signed an e-petition to the council, calling for the quay, a national centre for sailing barge repair on the site of the famous Goldfinch shipyard, to be protected from inappropriate development.

‘Faversham is practically the last stronghold of the world-renowned Thames sailing barge. Safeguarding one of the town’s last surviving pockets of creekside maritime industry is an urgent priority for the new trust. But its scope and ambition extend much further.’

Trust spokesman David Gwyn Jones said that current proposals to allow the historic listed buildings on Standard Quay to be used for restaurants and shops would deny them to the maritime users and barge repairers on the waterfront.
‘We are not opposed to house building or business development,’ he said, ‘but new housing has already encroached upon much of the creek. Other sites are suitable for development which do not threaten the marine heritage of Faversham and its people’s jobs.

The trust’s plans include include:

  • creating more than 50 new jobs
  • bringing the swing bridge and creek basin back into proper use and resolving the present silting problems
  • new facilities, including slipways, dry docks, a dinghy building school, a blacksmith’s forge, a marine engineering workshop, and a museum
  • creek festivals and sailing events

Faversham’s a great place, but just think what it could be if this new trust gets it’s way!

Edwin Schoettle on catboats, Gavin Atkin on what’s wrong with yachts and yachties

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Legendary catboat Silent Maid

Edwin Schoettle’s classic Sailing Craft published in 1928 is a fabulous big old book of nearly 800 pages – so I hope no-one will mind me posting a few of them. And perhaps my post will serve to keep the memory alight.

I’d like to explain why I’ve been thinking about the catboat lately.

I’ve complained for years that many yachties  motor or motor sail for much of the time and I’ve often wondered what the reason might be. Well, I’ve come to think that it isn’t laziness or a dislike of sailing. The reason why they’re reluctant to use their full sailplan is that they’re either sailing alone, or effectively doing so, and don’t want the fag of having to manage sails, winches and sheets as well as steer, navigate and keep a look out.  And because they’re not using their full sail plan their boats are slow without the help of its engine – and that’s why most yachties motor for much of the time.

Looked at another way, it’s because we’re using the wrong rigs.  Instead of the Bermudan sloop with a masthead rig, big foresail, winches and the rest, we could be using rigs that reduce the number of essential control lines to very few – the cat and the cat yawl.

Of course there’s a shortage of cat yawls outside of a few designers offering plans for relatively small boats aimed at the amateur builders, so I’ve been considering the experiences people have had with the catboat.

I’ve no experience with these boats and have no firm opinions to offer, but it’s interesting that Schoettle emerges as such a fan of the catboat. I’m inclined to think a modified form of catboat, perhaps one with the kind of capacious hull that’s long been normal in family cruising boats could be seriously useful to yachtsmen in the era of expensive fuel and growing environmental awareness.

Those who find it difficult to swallow the idea of the Bermudan sloop being replaced by a more old fashioned rig might thinking about the argument in a different way – instead of describing the cat or cat yawl rig of the future as being derived from historical yacht types or workboats, just think of them as big Lasers with heavy keels.

Read more about Silent Maid in a recent post at the weblog 70.8%.

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