Tag Archives: humber sloop

Spider T draws crowds at the West Stockwith rally

10 Sun Spider T in full sail

The photo above taken by Humber Keel and Sloop Preservation Society luminary Dave Everatt shows Humber sloop Spider T visiting Stockwith for the West Stockwith rally, which is jointly organised by the West Stockwith Yacht Club, the Canal River Trust and the Chesterfield Canal Trust.

After all the troubles the weather and flooding has brought along the banks of the Trent in North Lincolnshire, it’s good to hear that the Spider and her crew led by skipper Mal Nicholson have been able to get out and enjoy themselves – Mal, who makes his living refurbishing and maintaining classic cars is still working getting his workshops back in order following floods caused by the big East Coast storm surge of a few weeks ago.

So it must have been especially gratifying to sail to West Stockwith, where the Spider and received as many as 2000 visitors over the weekend.

I gather that a nice came when 82-year old Frank Major was steering the Spider along the river as a guest crew member. At the age of 10, Frank was mate to his barge skipper dad, and was later a skipper himself running barges around the estuary and all her tributaries.

Someone asked Frank if he was ok, to which he replied with a big grin: ‘Aye lad I’m ‘ome again.’

Spider T’s East Coast voyage promoting the Sailors’ Children’s Society

Spider T sets off on a mission to promote the important work of the the charity the Sailors’ Children’s Society. The trip was made possible by sponsorship provided by ABP.

Spider T training days

Training Day 01-12May2013

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Photos by Dave and Leslie Everatt (there are more at the bottom of this post)

Mal Nicholson is running training days for folks interested in learning how to sail the Humber sloop Spider T.

Sailing working craft of her type and size requires somewhat different skills compared with a small yacht or dinghy, and Mal’s making plans to ensure folks have what’s needed to sail Spider T into the future.

Judging by the comments and photos I’ve seen, the training group’s enthusiasm is pretty well boundless, even in the rain.

If you’re interested in joining Mal’s training group, I would strongly suggest you contact him via the Spider T website – I would myself if it didn’t take half a day to drive to North Lincolnshire from Kent!

Here’s a report from the second training day, written by group member Kathryn Merrick:

Training Day Two

The aim of the day was to enter the lock and use the bridge, taking the lock down to river level and back up to canal level again. Using forward springs we were to allow the Spider to exit in astern back to her moorings. We were getting the boat ready as if it were going onto the North Sea.

Today’s session began by collecting life jackets from the fo’c’sle. Then the sails were hoisted up to release the shackles. The sails were stowed away in the fo’c’sle, with Andrew and Tony receiving the sails which were released down in a spiral shape into the forecastle. The bow sprit was also raised up.

Next the light-boards were taken in by Tom and Jess so that they would not get caught in the lock. Flags were hoisted and Mal gave the shout to remove the forward spring so that the Spider was to be taken out into the canal. The first attempt did not take her out far enough as the wind was blowing her back on, but a second attempt brought her out to a better position.

We then tested the boat’s ability to remain still in the water no matter how much wind there was. This was proved by using the drop kedge anchor which held her in position. This could be useful if a rope was stuck round a propeller, or a man had fallen overboard, as keeping the boat still would enable the crew to attend to what was happening elsewhere.

Fenders were collected from under the hatches to put at appropriate places alongside the boat and boat hooks were used to push the boat away from the side as necessary. We then set off towards the grade 2 listed lock, which was described by Mal as one of the most dangerous locks in the UK.

The boat was brought through the bridge and into the lock successfully. On the way back out of the lock Mal said that the Spider may hit a sand bank but there was nothing the crew could do about that. In the event the boat manoeuvred slow and steady through the lock and the wind was to our advantage on the return journey back to her moorings where we made her fast.

The EPIRB (Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon) was explained to the crew. This safety equipment maintained the last known position of the boat in case of an accident and information is stored on this on the likely number of people aboard, the boat’s specifics and the contact details of Mal.

Mal then did a debrief on the successes of the day. He praised everyone for working together effectively. Bev asked if we could do some knot-work and Mal explained that there were many areas he wishes to cover, including knot-work, chart, compass, true/magnetic north, wind/tidal speeds and their effects. There would also be time to paint the Spider and create some more fenders, as many had been lost in Immingham Dock.

Andrew suggested that a tick list may be useful of the skills we needed to acquire to sail the Spider. Mal said he liked the crew to gain practical experience first and then he would certainly go back over the skills.

The Spider T summer sailing trip leaving on Sunday 23 June from Hull was mentioned and invitations were given to the crew if they would like to join all or part of the journey up to Scarborough, Whitby and beyond, possibly to Staithes.

The next meeting dates were proposed in relation to good tides so that the Spider could be taken out on the river for training purposes. Suggestions for dates would be put on the Training Crew Facebook page.

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DVD and article about Humber sloop Spider T’s trips to Arbroath and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Pageant


Early morning on the Hartlepool to Blyth leg – photo: Chris Horan

Mal Nicholson and the Spider T folks are marketing a DVD documenting the Humber sloop’s remarkable month-long round trip to Arbroath and back in 2011.

The aim of the trip was to attend Arbroath Sea Fest, which was organised to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the building of the wonderful Bell Rock Lighthouse by Robert Stevenson.

Priced at £10 and available from the Spider T website, the 35-minute DVD is made up of a sequence of Chris Horan’s excellent photographs, and is remarkably watchable.

Horan’s camera-work is beautifully composed, and his lens has a way of capturing a place’s atmosphere and the characters of his human subjects that eludes most of us. And, of course, it was clearly a great, unforgettable, trip.

The Spider T crew promote the charity the The Sailors Children’s Society.

Also, from crew member Dave Everatt comes this splendid article describing the Spider T’s 2012 trip to the Thames to take part in the Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant marking 60 years of Elizabeth II’s reign. Everatt is and Humber Keel and Sloop Presevation Society’s magazine Slabline.

I particularly like this extract:

‘At 14.35 hrs, twenty minutes later than expected, we were called to our mustering position ready to join the main event. Progress was rather start/stop in
the earlier stages but, once the pace settled, it went very smoothly.

‘The crowds of people on the riverbanks, bridges, moored vessels, balconies and in buildings all the way along the route made for an electric atmosphere, cheering loudly as vessels horns and whistles blew. A group of girls on an adjacent riverbank shouted “Spider, Spider, Spider … ” and danced a spidery dance as we came by, a magical moment.

‘As we headed past Westminster the rain began to fall getting faster by the minute until, by the time we had passed under Tower Bridge, Her Majesty the Queen waved and Prince Phillip doffed his hat, it was absolutely pouring down and we were soaked to the skin.’

Photos of Spider T’s trip to the Jubilee

Spider T on the Thames during 2012 Jubilee trip


The Humber Keels and Sloops website has a nice photo record of the Humber sloop Spider T’s trip down to the Thames and back for the Jubilee last summer.

I gather from owner and restorer Mal Nicholson that a DVD of the Spider T’s earlier trip to Arbroath is now available for a very reasonable £10. Contact him at the Spider T website.

Spider T open weekend with exhibitions and talks 24-25 November

The Spider T folks are having an open weekend and art exhibition on board the Humber sloop over the weekend of the 24th and 25th November at Keadby Lock on the Humber Estuary. Click on the image above for details.

Attractions aboard the wonderful old boat include paintings by marine artist Leslie Everatt, and exhibitions and talks about Spider T’s recent adventures, including her trip to Arbroath, and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Pageant.


Phyllis at the Humber Jubilee celebrations

The Humber Estuary is to have its own Royal diamond jubilee flotilla on the 4th June 2012 – and the 1907-built Humber sloop Phyllis is to be its flagship.

(There’s another similar event taking place in London with Queen Elizabeth herself in attendance going on the same day – for intheboatshed.net posts on that and the boats attending click here.)

On the Humber, Phyllis will proudly fly the standard of the Lord Mayor of Hull and Admiral of the Humber, together with those of the represented districts.

The parade will take place at approximately 18:00hrs on the 4th June, as part of a national lighting of beacons event. Some 60 or more vessels will be involved, including merchantmen, pleasure boats and heritage craft.

I do hope the weather’s kind that weekend. The last diamond jubilee flotilla to take place on the Humber was in 1897, and was in celebration of 60 years of Queen Victoria’s reign.