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.’
Fowey boatbuilder Marcus Lewis went to this years Thames Traditional Boat Rally and kindly sent me these shots – he knew in advance that I wouldn’t be able to attend myself.
Here’s what he had to say about them:
‘Hi, I thought I would send you some pictures of the Henley rally in case you were short of material this week!
It was super weather, bright sunshine some of the time, with a breeze on the river (bit more on Sunday) and the atmosphere was very relaxed and calm, no-one getting their knickers twisted!
There was a marvellous selection of craft, a large collection of Dunkirk Little Ships – even a motor launch that used to ferry passengers from Fowey to Bodinnick – and a very good commentary from people who clearly know the boats, the owners, and what they can get away with commenting on!
The boat jumble was ok, not over-busy, but there were a few treasures to be found if you were looking.
The illuminated parade was a little under-subscribed, but those that took part really made an effort.
An excellent event that was blessed with fine weather, and the red kites soaring overhead gave something for my partner Sue to watch when she got tired of looking at the boats!
Many thanks Marcus! It looks a very jolly party – I really must go along some time. I only have one concern: what exactly are the rules about how to dress for the occasion?
I won’t be able to make the Thames Traditional Boat Rally this weekend but I’d like to make it one day – and no doubt Julie would love what looks like a rather genteel event.
In the meantime, I’ve been enjoying this fabulous gallery of photos. I recommend you just hit the ‘play’ button at the top right of the page and watch the boats go by for a few minutes.