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.