Traditional wooden boat building at Agadir, Morocco

Boat building at Agadir, Morocco Boat building at Agadir, Morocco

Boat building at Agadir, Morocco 

Traditional wooden boat building at Agadir, Morocco, snapped  by Spider T owner Mal Nicholson while on a holiday recently. It’s rough old stuff, but it’s traditional boat building on a commercial basis, and clearly not for the yacht trade.

Where do boat enthusiasts go on their holidays? Somewhere with boats and ships, most likely – if water-borne craft can be found, the old boat nut in your family will find them.


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

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) 

Merry Christmas, happy holidays and a healthy and prosperous New Year everyone!

Spider T sailing on the Humber, winter 2010

Spider T, winter 2010 Spider T, winter 2010 Spider T, winter 2010

Spider T, winter 2010 OMSSC Spider T in ice

Click on the thumbnails for much larger images

We wish readers of every religious creed and none all the best happiness this holiday season can bring.

And, for the new year, let’s hope 2011 will be a time in which hope, optimism and an idealism that is generous to others replaces the sordid selfishness and tribalism we usually see so much of. If not, we’ll just have to fix up or build boats and go sailing…

The splendid photos above are of the Humber sloop Spider-T. At the beginning of loast year I did not imagine that any such craft still existed, so owner Mal Nicholson’s email in January was one of the year’s boat-related high points. For several informative posts about Spider T, click here.

The photo by Dave Everett below is of the inaugural evening of one of Mal’s newest enterprises, the The Old Maritime Secret Supper Club with various boaty people from the region including folks from the Humber Keel and Sloop Preservation Society and the Humber Yawl Club. There’s a nice piece about it in the online magazine Towpath talk. Thanks for the photos and the information Mal and Dave!

Spider T winter 2010