Spider T crew sail on 700-mile epic voyage

A GROUP of men from the Isle of Axholme and Thorne area have been involved in an epic 700-mile voyage from Keadby to Arbroath and back onboard the Humber super sloop Spider T which is based on the Stainforth to Keadby Canal.

They included Bill Kirk of Kelsey Lane, Althorpe; Paul Coultard of North End, Keadby; John Barwell of Orchards Lane, Moorends and Bill White of Haynes Road, Thorne and Mick Maith of Hatfield.

The vessel, built at Warren’s Shipyard, New Holland in 1926 and restored to sail in 2007, arrived home this week after leaving Keadby for the Arbroath SeaFest on July 30 and passing through a force eight gale at the mouth of the Humber.

Arriving at Grimsby had been something of a relief for the crew who dropped the jib and fore sails of the Spider T and reefed the main sail of the National Historic Ships registered vessel, because of the strength of the wind.

Ports of call included Grimsby, Scarborough, Hartlepool, Blyth, Anstruther, Eyemouth, Arbroath, Sunderland, Whitby and Bridlington.

Highlights of the visit included winning a trophy for the oldest vessel at the Anstruther Muster, entertaining on board a stream of around 2,000 visitors on board in Arbroath and the Spider T meeting up with the former New Holland to Hull Humber paddle steamer at Hartlepool where the Trincomalee battleship is also based.

Members of the vessel also met with Auf Wiedersehen Pet, Harry Potter star and TV presenter Timothy Spall, while at the Humber Cruising Club in Grimsby.

The Spider T, which boasts a plush Edwardian interior in the former cargo hold, was runner-up in the National Historic Ships Flagship of the Year awards this year and, as such, was acting in an ambassadorial role for the heritage organisation .

It was built to carry bricks up and down the coast from Foster’s brickyard at Barrow-upon-Humber, for John Joseph Tomlinson of Thorne.

Work involving the recreation of traditional riveting to replace steel plating was carried out last year at Stanilands boat yard in Thorne and is depicted in the recent book Humber Sail and History: Riverside and Waterways Tales Part 1, by Chris Horan, who was also a member of the crew on the voyage to and from Scotland.

Speaking of the Spider T, owner Mal Nicholson of Burringham, said: “She has gone superbly. She has been a credit to all that built her and those that have sailed her. She has given a faultless performance.”