Spider T sails from the Humber to Arbroath: days eight and nine, stuck at Anstruther but enjoying the visit

Mal Nicholson with trophies won by the Spider T at the Anstruther Muster 2011 Jim Morrison of Pittenweem visits the Spider T during the Anstruther Muster

Visitors at the Anstruther Muster 2011 The Spider T at Anstruther 2011


Photos by Chris Horan. Click on the images for a much larger photo

Crewmember Chris Horan describes days eight and nine of Spider T’s voyage from the Humber to Arbroath:

Day 8 (continued)

High winds and big seas forecast by the weathermen had arrived by Sunday. Spider T was due to sail from Anstruther to Montrose, but consultations between skipper Mal Nicholson, senior crew and the land based back-up resulted in a decision to delay the journey to Montrose until the bad weatherhad eased.

It was not so much a case that Spider T could not have sailed but partly a matter of erring on the side of caution, and also taking into consideration that trip was a working holiday for crewmembers and that the commercial port at Montrose had less to offer than Anstruther.

Staying in Anstruther for a little longer would also give more members of the public a chance to view the Spider T, which had been given an award for the being the oldest vessel at the Anstruther Muster. The award was received by crewmember Rory Mitchell.

‘It is an award for the hard work of the crew and supporters, which includes a lot of shore based people,’ said Mal. ‘For me it also showed that the ambassadorial role we play for National Historic Ships is recognised by the Anstruther Muster.’

Jim Morrison, who is a member of Anstruther Sailing Club, which organises the Muster, said people had been delighted to see Spider T sail in. ‘There was a buzz went round. Most people round here are fascinated with vessels, particularly with those which have been restored. It was smashing to see her return.’

Spider T bomb disposal 2 TheSpider T in Anstrutherwith a Royal NavyBomb Disposal van on the harbour side

 Derek Chafer sits in as cox with members of St Ayles rowing club, Anstruther with the ladies at the oars.. Rowers in the harbour at Anstruther

Day 9

Being in port did not mean there was nothing to be done, for as well as welcoming visitors there were various maintenance and domestic tasks to be accomplished.

In addition the vessel was switched from shore power to generator power to allow electrical equipment such the washer to be operated along with the ship’s shower and other appliances, the engine and the gland sealing the propeller shaft were checked, and the fast-emptying ebbing water tanks were refilled.

The Spider T’s unexpected trophies were not the only suprises to come the way of the sailing barge’s crew while at Anstruther.

One centred on an unexploded bomb found in the approach to the port, which crosses a former minefield. The Spider T had sailed through this on her way into port a couple of days earlier!

The minefield is supposed to have been cleared long ago, but each year one or two devices emerge and find their way into open water, posing potential dangers to mariners and tourist boats. The floating bomb could have severely damaged a vessel like Spider T if she had come into contact with it.

Once the object had been sighted a Royal Navy bomb disposal team arrived to blow the object up in a controlled explosion while local lifeboatmen kept other vessels at bay.

The alarm over the floating bomb failed to deter crew members Derek Chafer and Chris Horan when they were invited to join the women of the town’s St Ayles Rowing Club for an evening’s rowing session in their two Iain Oughtred-designed St Ayles skiffs.

Although heavy rain had been forecast, the day turned out better than expected and we had a beautiful summer’s evening – and so the two crews set off for a couple of circuits along the coast.

Afterwards, the rowers and friends were invited on board the Spider T for hospitality and to see round the Humber sloop.

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