Captain John Rose is Director (Maritime) of CHIRP, the Confidential Hazardous Incident Reporting Programme. John started his career at sea with a majoroil company, subsequently qualifying as Extra Master Mariner and achieving a Master of Laws degree. Thereafter, his positions ashore included Harbour Master and later an assignment as General Manager with an oil company in Houston. Subsequently he set up his own consultancy company. This work includedadvising shipping companies on improving their safety management systems. In his leisure time, John has a narrow boat and has recently completed a 1050 mile trip around the canals of England and Wales. He is a Fellow of the Nautical Institute and a Younger Brother of Trinity House.
Despite having been flooded out of house and home over Christmas and now having to live on his boat Mal Nicholson still managed to provide me with the following report and a brilliant video (in three parts) on his exploits with the beautiful “Spider T” during her fund-raising voyage to promote the 2013 Seafarers Awareness Week and raise funds for the Sailors Chidren’s Society.Great stuff Mal and I’m sure everyone will want to join me in wishing you all the best for drying out and repairs to your home. C E
FridayFor myself the revival of this once popular event started with a 4.30am alarm call on Friday 20 September. With summer in its latter stages it was pitch black on arrival at Keadby Lock, where owner and captain of the Humber Super Sloop ‘Spider T’ Mal Nicholson, having already completed his pre-trip checks, was awaiting the arrival of crew and passengers. The lock keeper was ready at 6.00am and we prepared to cast off. As the bridge swung and we headed towards the lock he called to inform us we were at level water with the River Trent and could go straight through. For Mal and the crew final preparations for this event started on the previous Wednesday with the releasing of the mainsail from the mast hoops, removal of the boom and gaff and lowering of the mast to accommodate the bridges on the way up river. The first of these, Keadby Bridge, was met within minutes of leaving the lock, timed to be under well before high tide to give good clearance, which proved to be only three feet (one metre). About 20 minutes later we reached the M180 flyover and clearance here was about six feet (two metres). At the helm for our trip up river was Frank who had worked the river for many years, it was obvious that he was in his element and enjoyed every minute. Also aboard was Ken Collier, Chairman of West Stockwith Yacht Club and organiser of the event, Ken John Steggles and my wife Lesley, who would be holding a small exhibition of paintings and prints on board. With a full moon to our starboard side, we passed East Ferry and at about 7am, as the sun rose on our port side, you suddenly realise why you volunteer for these events, what a beautiful morning for a trip up the River Trent! Our aim was to let the spring tide carry us to West Stockwith with minimal revs on the engine for steerage. Arriving at the top of the tide, we hung off the jetty until the tide turned and slipped into the lock about 9.30am. Mooring up in prime location across from The Waterfront Inn, we set about getting the mast up, the boom and gaff back in position, running rigging in place and sails hoisted. Crewmembers Julian and Ernie joined us by road to give a help-in-hand and by mid-afternoon the sails were set. Following this, a succession of visitors from the Yacht Club, pub and other vessels taking part in the event boarded ‘Spider T’, took a tour of her Edwardian interior and watched a video or two of her recent exploits. In the early evening the rest of the crew made their way home. Mal’s wife Val arrived followed by a quick wash and change before a good meal at The Waterfront Inn. By the time we had eaten it was dark and we discussed the pros and cons of leaving the sails up overnight, finally, airing on the cautious side, Mal and myself dropped all the sails and lashed them down, just in case a breeze got up in the night. Then it was off to the Yacht Club to sample a few of those special brews brought in for the Beer Festival.SaturdayOpening for public viewing was not until late morning so it was a leisurely start with a hearty cooked breakfast on board ‘Spider T’. In the middle of hoisting the sails Mal and Val were called on to attend the official opening of the event. Starting with a meet and greet the guests with breakfast rolls (yes, a second breakfast!) in the club house and continuing with an official opening outside the Chesterfield Canal Trust tent with Canal & River Trust representatives followed by the official naming ceremony of a little canal tug. The opening ceremony introduced by Ken Collier, chairman of West Stockwith Yacht Club, was shared between Danny Brennan, East Midlands Chairman of the Canal & River Trust and Robin Stonebridge, Chairman of the Chesterfield Canal Trust, who explained their visions for the future of the waterways. Then moving down to the waterfront where Katie Jackson of the Canal & River Trust explained how they are introducing the waterways to school children with canal side nature trails and a boat naming competition. Year 5 and 6 of Misterton Primary School came up with ten names and East Midlands Waterways voted for the winning name. Katie then introduced Molly who presented the winning name ‘Blue Cuckoo’ on behalf of Misterton Primary School to the crew of the tug. With the official proceedings completed it was back to ‘Spider T’ to hoist the mainsail and, with light winds forecast, the topsail too. This, being the first time I had been involved with hoisting the topsail, was an interesting exercise. With the full sails set we opened up to visitors, literally hundreds and hundreds of visitors, all day long they filed aboard some gushing with questions, others quietly looking around but all were ‘wowed’ by what they saw. Finally, at about 6pm, we were forced to put a barrier across to stop the flow and enable us to tidy up the ship, lower the sails and hoist the string of colour-changing LED lights to show her off during the evenings events, these being the Beer Festival at the WSYC and live bands, including The Torn, in the grounds of The Waterfront Inn.SundayAnother leisurely start as we weren’t open to the public until about 10.30am. A warm sunny day greeted us as we lowered the lights and packed them away before another hearty cooked breakfast. Then we hoisted the sails once more and prepared for the visitors, surely we would not be as busy as yesterday? Late morning we had a look around the stalls, walked along the canal side for a while and watched the water-skiing display by Marnham Boat Club members. Then it was back to ‘Spider T’ to give conducted tours and answer questions for the remainder of the day. The sun continued to shine and the visitors came in their droves from near and far. Around teatime we lowered the sails, bagged the topsail, foresail and jib, removed the gaff, boom and mainsail and lowered the mast in readiness for the return journey. In between this we had to break off several times to give a more visitors a tour of the ship. Not only did we match Saturday’s total but increased it by half as much again! By the time the mast was down we had built up a large thirst so it was off to the WSYC to sample some more of those special brews with a short interval to slip over to The Waterfront Inn for a steak dinner mmmm nice.MondayMorning mist and heavy dew soon turned into another warm bright sunny day at West Stockwith. We completed final preparations for the trip back down river and walked over the road for a hearty cooked breakfast at The Waterfront Inn (there seemed to be a pattern here). With passengers and crew on board we headed for the lock at about 11am and out onto the river as the tide ebbed, the clear blue sky had filled in with clouds but it was warm with light winds. Frank was at the helm once again and we reached Keadby Lock right on time at 2pm. Once moored up it was back up with the mast yes we’ve been here before! Personally, what I expected to be a rather mediocre weekend turned out to be an exceptional weekend. In spite of the work involved in getting ‘Spider T’ to this event the warm welcome, friendly locals and many, many interested visitors really did make it rather special …bring on next year!!Dave EverattSpider T crewmemberHKSPS webmaster.
“Isambard Brunel” - Just a bit of bumf you or other members might find useful.Isambard Brunel is a Survey/Pilot vessel owned by the Bristol Port Company. She has various bits of kit aboard to carry out different types of survey work. The main system is a multi-beam unit which gives 100% seabed coverage. We cover the upper reaches of the River Severn, working out of a home berth in the old Avonmouth dock.She's getting on a bit now. Built up in Bristol by David Abel’s yard in 1996 she is all steel, therefore a bit of a lump at 68 tonnes, so the twin Cummins engines only push her along at 11.5 knots.I have been lucky enough to be skipper/coxswain of her for nine years now, which has flown by! We use AIS and can be tracked on Marine Traffic if you desire.Cheers,Martin Pick
Having seen the Island Packet Yachts at boat shows we finally took the plunge and bought our “retirement” boat in 2006. Following a six month search we finally found an IP350 (36 foot) model in Kotka, Finland. Having done a fair bit of coastal cruising and racing, I was not fazed at all at the thought of sailing the boat home to the UK. However, and perhaps a little naively, I totally misjudged the time it would take to get the boat back to the UK. During preparation for our return trip I had a panic attack when I saw the rock strewn nature of the south coast of Finland. I ended up making the right decision to buy a chart plotter for this stage of the journey. My nerves needed the additional assurance we got from the Chart Plotter when passing down narrow channels with awash rocks within 10ft each side of the boat even though these were charted channels using post markers as turning points and leading marks. At the time we were still working and this was a holiday for us so from Finland we took the decision to cross Sweden via the Gota Canal. This route is well recommended and is extremely popular for all sorts of boats. The Gota is twinned with the Crinnan Canal and serves the same purpose. On reaching Goteborg at the western end of the Gota canal, we ran out of time, so had to find winter berthing for our boat. In retrospect this was the best thing that could have happened as it dawned on us over the winter how fantastic the Baltic area is for boating. In every country around the Baltic we have been welcomed by good people in plentiful safe harbours and with relatively cheap costs compared to the UK. Apart from the good sailing, the biggest bonus has been the weather. Its far dryer than the UK and daytime temperatures are steady in the summer months at around 20 degrees C with plenty of sun. We can spend up to 6 months of the year on our boat, but the outer 3 months get very chilly in the evening. So 3 to 4 months is normal for the growing numbers of UK boats we see in the Baltic.
My boat is a 9 ton Hillyard called Bella Ropha, now designed for geriatric sailing on the East Coast near Harwich and kept in Walton backwaters. I am hoping to keep afloat during the winter months and visitors are always welcome. Previously, for about 7 years, we kept her in Aigues. About myself, I served my time with the Bankline and then went on to be second mate with them from 1953 to 1959. I then went on to General Steam Navigation leaving them 1961 when I came ashore and worked initially for the Shippimg Federation and then on to a London Shipping Agency when I became a member of the Chartered Shipbrokers. Subsequently, like many others, I changed career directions when the container revolution came in!
I served an apprenticeship with Ellerman’s Hall Line from 1953 until 1957 and afterwards sailed with Ellerman’s officer pool on worldwide cargo routes until I joined Ellerman’s Wilson Line, mainly on Scandinavian trades. I came ashore in 1963.I learned to sail in 1980 and have varied training experience including Skipper of chartered Rival 42 taking local kids on sailing trips to the Channel Islands and Brittany. I was also Mate and occasional Master of “BICHE”, an ex-Breton Tunnyman operating charters from Poole, Dartmouth, the Channel Islands and Brittany as well as local day sailing.Biche is now fully restored by “Les Amis du Biche” at Lorient.
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We keep our boat “Little Kingfisher” in Beccles at the Galleon Storage and Mooring facility on the River Waveney. This “mooring” is in fact a boat yard with dry land storage for probably in excess of 100 boats up to around 25 or 30 feet. The real advantage is that the boats are kept out of the water on cradles and racks and only launched as and when required by the owners using a large lift facility. The yard has pontoon berths on the river for around a dozen boats but these are only used for temporary mooring for boarding, recovery etc. For us, this yard provides full, all weather security without the need for concern of weather or tides etc, which is useful if one is not using the boat for any length of time. There are also full power, water, pump out and maintenance services available and out of season provides easy access for work on the boats.