Photos by Spider T crew member Chris Horan
Chris Horan describes days four and five of Spider T’s voyage from the Humber to Arbroath:
Day four, Hartlepool
After several long sails, the plan was to spend a day enjoying the delights of Hartlepool, which include a waterfront to die for, a quayside complex steeped in history, an luxurious marina and a general continental air.
The crew of the Spider T were particularly interested in HMS Trincomalee, a British Naval frigate built in 1817 – its masts towered above the quayside – and the paddle steamer Wingfield Castle.
The Wingfield Castle was built in Hartlepool and during its working life worked as a ferry between Hull and New Holland on the southern side of the Humber. New Holland was also where Spider T herself was was built at Warren’s Shipyard in 1926.
Spider T also proved to be an attraction for visitors to the marina, and many stood along the quay to watch the Humber sloop sail past the other historic ships so that press photographers could get shots of all three craft together.
As well as dealing with these publicity issues, skipper Mal Nicholson checked over the vessel and calculated how much diesel was left in the tank ahead of the upcoming sails to Blyth and then Eyemouth.
At the nearby tourist facility, crew member John Barwell explained how to caulk vessels, a skill he learned as a young man.
Day five, Hartlepool to Blyth
It was a 6am start for the sail up to Blyth in initially misty conditions. As we motor-sailed out to sea the mist lifted and was replaced by glorious sunshine, but with very little wind the raised main sail couldn’t add much speed.
Before long, Spider T passed the opening to the port of Sunderland and then came the highlight of this leg of the journey – a school of dolphins off the River Tyne, which provided us with tremendous entertainment as they rose together out of the water before diving back in.
The calm seas gave an opportunity for the more inexperienced members of the crew to try their hand at the wheel and to avoid the crab nets and bags of rubbish floating out to sea.
We put into Blyth shortly before 2pm, as schoolchildren stood and waved along the banks of the river. Soon after we moored visiting by fellow sailor Jeremy Lee of Bagmoor in Leicestershire, dropped by to play his violin.
Skipper Mal dared to say that things were going very well. ‘We are bang on target and Spider T is proving herself very capable once again.’