Humber Super Sloop Spider T confirmed to take part in the Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant
The afternoon of Sunday 3rd June will see a thousand boats gather on the river Thames in celebration of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. It will be the largest flotilla in modern times on the river with rowing boats, working boats and pleasure vessels of all shapes and sizes beautifully dressed with streamers and Union Jacks, stretching for an estimated twelve and a half miles.
It has proved extremely popular with three boats applying for every place. The pageant organisers and representatives from the river community were involved in the selection process which included considering safety, fitness-for-purpose and range of vessel type as well as exploring whether the vessel was of historical significance or had an interesting story to tell. At the end of 2011, organisers confirmed to applicants the lucky vessels which will take part in this historic event.
The ship Spider T owned by Mal Nicholson and he is delighted for her to have been selected to take part in the Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant. Spider T is the last remaining “Humber Super Sloop” A Sail Powered Cargo Vessel from 1926, which will be travelling in the flotilla.
Owner Mal said: “ I feel truly honoured that the Spider T has been chosen, she reflects the heritage of our region and a testament to the ship building skills on the Humber and in particular the men from Warrens Shipyard in Lincolnshire who built her and the genius of Frederick Warren who designed her”.
“I would also like to pay a tribute for all the help and hard work by many people who have helped bring this once derelict vessel back to life as living history and to rightfully take her place on the National Historic Fleet”.
Work has already begun to prepare her for this very exciting and exceptional event, a special livery for this jubilee celebration is already being designed for that final touch for such an important occasion.
A full inspection of rigging, sails, deck fittings, engine and propulsion gear will take place after her recent voyage to Scotland for the 200th anniversary of the Bell Rock Lighthouse where heavy seas and stormy weather were encountered putting huge strains on her sailing gear and the ship herself.
The crew are now busy booking holidays for the event and getting ready for much hard work in preparation for the day we sail to London. The Spider T will leave her berth on the Keadby and Stainforth canal at Keadby on to the river Trent and head down the Humber under the Humber Bridge to Grimsby overnight. An early start from Grimsby, sailing to Great Yarmouth or Lowestoft in an overnight passage, arriving early the next morning. Refuel and rest preparing for our next passage to Harwich before setting off on the final leg of the journey entering the Thames estuary and arrival at the Jubilee Pageant.
Spider T has had a very chequered career, being one of only two ships built to this specification, she was fast and capable taking second place in the “Cock O’ The North” Humber Regatta just weeks after being launched in 1926 and was a front runner or leading in the remaining years of the event. She was pride of the Tomlinson fleet built to carry bricks from Foster’s brickyard at Barrow Haven on the Humber delivering them throughout the region and up and down the east coast. She was built heavier, deeper, and with a fine run aft had a unique hull design which makes her well mannered at sea. Spider T has been “sunk” twice by being left unattended and eventually filling up with water being rescued by Sgt. Keith Bown and his team at Rotherham Police earning him the British Empire Medal for a community project. She eventually became a derelict again and was filling up with water at a museum in Goole, this is when I purchased her and the “love affair” began!
Since then she has slowly but surely clawed her way back with a dedicated team headed by myself lovingly putting her back to her former glory winning many accolades with voyages to West Mersea, Whitby, Arbroath, twice, and Rotterdam for the world Port Days. Last year Spider T was runner up in the “Flagship Of The Year Award” and attended the Bell Rock celebrations on display in Arbroath and has had much TV coverage, newspaper and magazine articles by the dozen! Some of these can be viewed on her website.
National Historic Ships have written a statement of significance for her on their website stating exactly what she means to the nation, rightfully and proudly taking her place on the National Historic Fleet.