HMS Pickle’s South Coast tour, summer 2019

On the 30th June HMS Pickle left Hull Marina, turned South East at the mouth of the Humber, and then south past the Wash and into the River Stour at Harwich.

On departing Harwich, HMS Pickle will cross the Thames Estuary and the London Array wind farm bound for the Dover Straits, where she’ll pass the White Cliffs and onwards down through the English Channel.

After an overnight stop at Brighton, she’ll head west to the Isle of Wight and the Solent, where her first official port of call will be Lymington for the 1805 Club’s weekend of celebration for Admiral Cornwallis who was a friend of Lord Nelson and commanded the Channel Fleet during the Napoleonic Wars.

Departing Lymington, it will be a short sail to the Beaulieu River and Bucklers Hard where some of the vessels that fought in the Battle of Trafalgar were built in the 18th century.

HMS Pickle will be berthed at the jetty and will be open to visitors. During the weekend , subject to weather conditions, model vessels representing the Trafalgar Fleet will be making sailing demonstrations.

Her next official port of call is the Portsmouth Historic Navy Dockyard, where she will be moored next to HMS Warrior, the first armour-plated iron-hulled warship built for the Royal Navy.

During the weekend she will be hosted by the Royal Navy and the Royal Marines from HMS Victory.

Since HMS Pickle will be moored in a public access area, she will be open for visitors during the weekend, working with the Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity.

HMS Pickle will also play host to Kingston Upon Hull’s Sailors Childrens Society and welcome local Portsmouth families.

After Portsmouth, little Pickle will sail for Portland Harbour with crew from HMS Victory Senior Rates aboard and then Weymouth for her fourth official port of call, the RNLI Parade of Sail on Sunday 28th July to celebrate 150 years of the RNLI at Weymouth.

From Weymouth, HMS Pickle will go on to visit the Britannia Royal Navy College at Dartmouth, call at Poole and then at Port of Dover for a banquet for HMS Pickle’s crew before sailing back to Kingston upon Hull. 

The Navy clearly loves the HMS Pickle, which is said to be modelled on the original small schooner Pickle that brought the news of the victory of Trafalgar back to England.

Here’s a video of an amazing ceremony to commission the ship’s new bell:

Some of the events on Pickle’s summer tour are supported by Teamac Marine Coatings long-standing experts and sponsors of Historic Motor and Sail (HMS).

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Sailors go 200 years back in time to crew sailing vessel which brought news of Trafalgar

Portsmouth Naval Base volunteers are to sail the schooner Pickle from Hull to the Solent to attend a celebration of the original HMS Pickle’s voyage to Falmouth carrying the news of the victory at Trafalgar and the death of Admiral Lord Nelson.

The battle took place off Cape Trafalgar (not far from the Southern tip of the country) and the journey took ten days – and then it took another 37 hours for captain Lieutenant John Lapenotiere to reach the Admiralty in London.

On arrival, it’s recorded that he announced: ‘Sir, we have gained a great victory but we have lost Lord Nelson.’

The accomplishments of Lapenotiere and his small boat are celebrated each November 4 – the anniversary of Pickle’s arrival in Falmouth – with Pickle Night, an evening for naval ratings to remember the heroes of 1805 and generally let their hair down, often dressed in the uniform of the day.

HMS Victory hosts a special Pickle Night event on the great ship’s lower gun deck with 104 specially-nominated ratings dining with Second Sea Lord Vice Admiral Jonathan Woodcock.

HMS Victory executive officer WO1 Dickie Henderson along with some senior ratings serving aboard Nelson’s flagship thought this year the presence of a replica (the original Pickle was wrecked more than two centuries ago) berthed next to Victory, would add to the proceedings.

The current Pickle was built 20 years ago in the Baltic, has a hull similar to the original and was adapted to look more like the original HMS Pickle to mark the 200th anniversary of Trafalgar.

The crew will live in more comfort than sailors of Nelson’s era but he sailing gear would have been recognisable to old time sailors. On her  planned way south from the 25th-30th October, she is to call at Harwich, Dover and Eastbourne, and reach Portsmouth on the 30th.

Thanks to support from long-time Navy supporter Sir Donald Gosling and his foundation, and the RN RM Charity, up to six sailors, at a time, from HMS Victory and Portsmouth Flotilla will be able to crew the Pickle on each leg (the longest is 36 hours)… I gather there has been no shortage of volunteers.

HMS Pickle is on her way home

Now substantially fixed up with many new timbers, new rigging and other gear, HMS Pickle is now sailing her way in shortish hops along the coast from Portugal to her new home at Keadby Lock in South Humberside. She has reached Santander.

Today’s HMS Pickle is traditionally built schooner named after the celebrated Bermudan sloop HMS Pickle, which famously brought news of the victory at Trafalgar and of Nelson’s death to England. Little Pickle got the job because she was quick and handy, but from reading the original HMS Pickle’s Wikipedia entry she was involved in quite a number of remarkable exploits, including various captures and rescues.

To see her position on the route home, click here. Also, follow her progress on the official HMS Pickle Facebook page.