Square Rigger club
Caledonia Calling RNLI to the Rescue Square Riggers in Oxford Plus: The Saturday Routine Little Brigs Update Farewell Captain Phil Remembering Morin Scott,
Veronica Robson and Katherine Morton
Contents Commodore’s Message. . . . . . . . . . . . . 03 Membership News. . . . . . . . . . . . . 04-05 Remembering Morin Scott . . . . . . . 06-07 Tales from the Bosun’s Locker. . . . . 08-09 Square Riggers in Oxford. . . . . . . . . . . 10 The “Saturday Routine” . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
Cadet’s Corner. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12-13 Caledonia Calling. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14-17 Farewell to Captain Phil. . . . . . . . . . . . 18 A Letter from Katherine Morton . . . . . . 19 Little Brigs Update . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 Membership Application Form. . . . . . . 22
Commodore’s Annual Report 2009 Unfortunately this year has ended with the death of Morin Scott, a major driver behind the building of TS Royalist and a leading founder of the Square Rigger Club. He had lived in Cyprus for some years because of his ill health so we “newer” members were never able to meet him, though his influence still lives on in the Club today. Together with other members of the Square Rigger Club I attended a memorial service at St. Mary’s, Felpham, West Sussex on Friday 23rd October. The Morin Scott Trophy and a cheque, awarded to the best cadet on voyage was presented to L/C Alex Coakley of the Chorley Unit. I do not want you to have to hear everything twice so I will give some other pointers to what our Committee will tell you about. A bequest of £23,000 to the SRC from the estate of Mrs. Veronica Robson will make a very welcome addition to our funds as this recession really starts to bite we foresee a larger demand for bursaries to help pay some of the cost to sail on TS Royalist. This year has been a normal year, two charters, one across the Caledonian Canal from Inverness to Corpach in mid-summer and the other Brixham to Dartmouth via Alderney at the August Bank holiday. The first had beautifully sunny weather with little wind plus Scottish midges in full cry, the second more traditional weather with some mal-de mer. Next year’s charter will be from Ramsgate to Gosport at the beginning of September. Phil Draper, Captain of TS Royalist, is emigrating to New Zealand, the TS Jack Petchey will be coming on stream next year, so there will be quite a few changes to personnel, ships and most else. I would like to thank all the Committee for all their hard work, the most geographically scattered I have ever worked with, ranging from Edinburgh, Bristol, Oakham in Rutland, Birmingham, Manchester and Teignmouth in Devon plus those more local to the South Coast. I regret Martin Henwood is stepping down as Vice Commodore on health grounds but will be continuing as Bursary Secretary. I hope the idea of meeting at Worcester College, Oxford, especially at one of my old colleges, is enjoyed by all of you and will leave the discussion of next year’s venue for later.
Andy Krasun Commodore
Square Rigger Club 18 September 2009 03
Our Newsletter is now in a schedule to be delivered to you each Christmas, this year you will have received two, one in April, A lot of the Financial information was included in the earlier edition. In July of this year we had a nice surprise when we received a cheque of over £23,000 from a long time member of the club, Veronica Robson who died in Sept 2008. I wonder if our reminder in the Newsletter had any bearing on her decision to remember us Bursaries paid this year
John MacDonald Honorary Treasurer
New Editor We have at long last found our editor for the Newsletter. Please can you send any news items or stories to email@example.com.
The next AGM will be held in Weymouth on Saturday 18th September 2010 This is has been a popular venue in the past. It will be in the new headquarters at the same location. So pencil in this date and wait for the AGM Notice to arrive next year.
Gift Aid – Act now! The club is always trying to generate more funds and one that is available through the Revenue is that of Gift Aid. We currently have 212 members who donate via GA and this generates some £1800 to £2000 pa in tax claims from the revenue. The 212 members are about 58% of total membership, we will never achieve 100% as some people are non tax payers, but feel we could raise more through this method. Remember it does not cost you a penny. Even if you are not sure if you have signed in the past, you can still fill in the form and return it back to me at the address below. I can then check our database to ensure we are claiming the correct entitlement. For further information you can look on the Governments official web-site www.hmrc.gov.uk/charities/gift-aid.htm Please address all completed forms to: John MacDonald Square Rigger Club 146 Manchester Road Mossley Lancashire OL5 9BG
Remember us in your will Always a delicate subject to broach “I give and bequeath, free of all duty and but can be an effective way of donating taxes, to The Square Rigger Club for the no matter how small the bequest is. general purposes of the charity, the sum Make a bequest to The Square Rigger of £ ……… , and I declare that the Club in your will. It can include money, receipt of the treasurer or other proper land, property or stocks and shares. officer for the time being of the said The wording in your will should read: charity shall be a sufficient discharge of the same.”
All aboard! Do you know any potential new members? Turn to page 21! 04
New Members Welcome to the Square Rigger Club New members since March 2008: Clover Clow
Cockpole Green, Reading
Rowley Regis, West Midlands
Littlewick Green, Maidenhead, Berkshire
West Clandon, Nr, Guildford, Surrey
North Kensington, London
Sutton Coalfield, West Midlands
James Lang Brown North Brewham, Bruton, Somerset
Park Hall, Walsall
Calvert Green, Buckingham
Scarisbrick, Ormskirk, Lancs
Morin Scott mbe fni
Life Commodore of the Square Rigger Club
1922 to 2009
he founder of the Square Rigger Club, the principle instigator in the creation of TS Royalist and the Life Commodore – Lieutenant Commander (SCC) Morin Scott MBE passed away peacefully on 14th August, 2009, age 87 years and so ended the life of a man, who achieved so much and influenced so many past and current seafarers, who over the years have enjoyed the involvement in TS Royalist. Turn to P6 to read in detail the obituary on Morin’s life.
eronica Robson was a long standing member of the Square Rigger Club, though her age and, an accident that injured her arm on the ship had forced her retirement from active sailing on Royalist. She had learned her sailing from her father racing Dragon’s at Bridlington and was a lifelong member of the Royal Yorkshire Yacht Club, and sailing was her passion. A spinster she looked after her parents for many years and always lived in Harrogate. Veronica was a professional choreographer and dance teacher, starting in the 1950’s, and worked with theatre groups all over the North of England, and teaching dance in a private school to 4 to 11 year olds.
A very cultured lady with her hair scraped back in a bun, she loved children, but children could be easily intimidated by her very prim approach and strict manner. She had a special interest in youth causes and the development of children. Having no immediate family, she bequeathed her estate to be divided between twenty different charities, the majority concerned with children. The club has been given £23,000 to support Royalist and the cadets who need our help. Veronica had many friends, she died suddenly aged 78, on 15th September 2008, and for the service on the 30th September the church at Nidd, near Harrogate, was packed as people remembered her life and times.
Acknowledgements Once again a big thank-you to Photolink Creative Group, and Ian Butler for producing this edition. Thanks also to all the contributors for their pictures and articles. We wish you all a Merry Christmas and A Happy and healthy New Year.
Remembering Morin Scott mbe fni
orn in Glasgow in 1922, Morin entered the Royal Naval College Dartmouth with St Vincent Term in January 1936. At the college he took every opportunity to get afloat on the Dart, where he enjoyed sailing various service boats, and successfully raced his National Twelve. Unfortunately at the end of his time there he was incorrectly diagnosed as suffering from an acute eyesight problem, and this killed off his career hopes. When war broke out a few weeks after the end of his last term he was racing six-metres on the Clyde. There he caught the eye of a sympathetic retired Naval Captain, who considered that his skill and enthusiasm was of more import than the opinions of the medical branch, and anachronistically ‘nominated’ him into the armed merchant cruiser HMS Worcestershire as a ‘T124’ RNR midshipman. As a result he went to sea not only well before the rest of his term, but with a higher rate of pay. Subsequently he transferred to the RNR proper, and amongst other adventures was sunk minesweeping in the corvette HMS Auricula during the 1942 invasion of Vichy-held Madagascar. Peace took him back to sailing, first of all skippering the 50 square metre ‘Windfall’ yachts Seetaube (now Disdaine) and Zeisig (now Sea Scamp) for their delivery voyages from Kiel, and it is nice to report that over sixty years later both boats are still going strong. After that he cruised and raced his Dragon, Gerda, with Conny van Rietschoten as his regular crew. Notably they sailed her over to Arendal in Norway to compete in the 1948 Dragon Gold Cup, an achievement that so impressed the host nation that they arranged for them
to be presented with a special prize by King Haakon VII. Although Conny went on to achieve lasting fame by winning the Round the World race twice (1977/78 & 81/82) he always maintained that, after Gerda’s stormy passage across the North Sea, Cape Horn and the Southern Ocean held no terrors. Marriage prompted a temporary move to motor racing, notably in a huge 8-litre Hispano-Suiza. When he returned to sailing it was in the field of sail training, and this started when he found that the Sea Cadet Corps had no plans for an entry in the 1966 Tall Ships’ Race. Irritated by their lack of initiative he arranged to borrow the little brigantine Centurion from a fellow Royal Cruising Club member, found a cadet crew, and went on to have a very successful race. This experience of the value of sail training for young people was a revelation for him. In short order thereafter he decided that the SCC needed their own vessel, which should be a brig, got his friend Colin Mudie to produce the designs for TS Royalist, and cajoled the SCC Headquarters into accepting the idea. He also browbeat the Royal Navy and The Daily Mirror Group into putting up half the cost of the project between them, and came up with the scheme that raised the rest of the money, all of this so quickly that the project became unstoppable. To judge his boldness, it should be realised that back in 1971 not only had no square-rigger been built for the British flag since 1907, none had been on the British register since 1936; and brig rig was both entirely extinct, and widely considered too complex. His success may be judged by the fact that,
38 years later, TS Royalist is still going strong, and brig rig has enjoyed a worldwide revival. He then joined the Jubilee Sailing Trust, when it was distinctly unfashionable, and persuaded them that square rig was ideal for their physically-disabled and able-bodied partnership concept. Although in his mid-sixties, he took on the physically demanding role of Mate for the proving trials in the brigantine Søren Larsen, before collaborating with Colin Mudie on the innovative barque Lord Nelson. Next he moved on to the ‘British Australian Bicentennial Schooner’ project, which under his influence evolved into the brigantine Young Endeavour. He also helped his friend Manfred Hövener establish the case for the Alexander von Humboldt being a barque rather than a schooner, a move which all have since come to applaud. By then deemed too old to sail as an officer in any UK vessel, he enjoyed many miles of sailing with the Germans over the next few years, eventually completing his last Tall Ships’ Race in the ‘Alex’ at the age of seventythree. Even when physically unable to continue with active seagoing he maintained a close interest in the direction of sail training, most recently with the Little Brig Sailing Trust. He wrote two books, Gerda’s Sea Saga (1949) (recently translated into Dutch & re-issued in paperback), and War is a Funny Business (1990), along with numerous articles on the subject of sail training. His circle of friends was very cosmopolitan, and his parties at Tall Ships’ events were legendary. His epitaph lies in those who have benefited from his sail training projects.
❝ Some of the cardinal sins committed by Morin Scott (generally aided and abetted by Colin Mudie) in the opinion of that great expert “Everyone knows”
Painted aluminium masts and spars:
“Unnecessary expense – Bare metal is cheaper”
Proposing square rig for a UK sail training ship:
“They cannot go to windward and working aloft is much too dangerous”
Low maintenance rig – stainless fitting, Tufnol blocks, etc:
Cadets to sea aged 13-15:
Reefing single topsails:
“Much too young and weak”
“Too complicated and dangerous”
“The most over-complicated and impractical of all square rigs”
Chequer-board paint scheme for TS Royalist:
Cadets to sea for only one week:
Mixed male/female crews:
“Two weeks is proven as the absolute minimum”
“Highly improper and immoral”
Female cadets in a square rigger:
Four-watch system for trainees:
“They simply could not cope poor dears”
“Too much time-off ”
Designated bracing and sail handling stations:
“Far Too Naval”
Battery-powered emergency navigation lights:
“Too modern – Oil-fired lamps are more reliable”
Fire-retardant foam for soft furnishings and mattresses:
No ship-side opening portholes/scuttles for safety in Knockdown:
“Full size opening ship’s side portholes essential for ventilation”
Rattling bars for lower shrouds:
Square rig sail training ship for physically handicapped:
“Only a charlatan would even suggest such an idea”
Man-made fibre square sails:
Name ‘Lord Nelson’ for first Jubilee Sailing Trust Training Ship:
Lightweight aluminium masts and spars:
“Too Naval and will offend the French”
In-yard roller-furling square sails:
“Not traditional and will not work”
Split spanker for Lord Nelson:
“Not traditional and Not British” 07
Tales from the Bosun’s Locker By Martin Henwood
RNLI to the Rescue...
“Afternoon shore leave was given, and cadets were ‘blown up’ the High Street on an ever increasing wind and in sheets of rain! What, just is the lure of ‘the Sign of the Golden M’ (McDonald’s to you and me). You can feed cadets till they can eat no more on board, and within an hour ashore they are to be found with a ‘Whopper or Big Mac’ in hand!”
t was one of those testing October weeks, fronts coming through, low pressure areas abounding, and naturally, we had twenty four cadets who wanted to go sailing! We had managed two training days in the Solent, with plenty of wind, and slight seas, thanks to the lee of the island, and we had been given a “weather window” that could see us make Poole and back to put it all to good use. So, at 0700 wet but mild, with 18 knots of southerly wind, we departed Yarmouth I.O.W., cleared the Bridge Buoy and set sail for Poole. It was an uneventful crossing and the watery October sun appeared to give us a little warmth. By nightfall we were secure alongside Poole Town Quay, and all seemed well... that is until our Captain informed us that there had been a change in the forecast. The internet site that is really reliable, was giving a wind shift to the South West with a rapidly approaching “rogue low” that had decided to build and make life unpleasant. Sure enough by 0500 the next morning, we had doubled up on
head and stern lines and were “bucking up and down” in some horrid conditions. After breakfast we went to all of the lectures, fire, points of sail, sea safety etc., and managed to clear these through, so if we did a get a break, our programme was still on time and we would get a half-decent week. Afternoon shore leave was given, and cadets were “blown up” the High Street on an ever increasing wind and in sheets of rain! What, just is the lure of “the Sign of the Golden M” (McDonald’s to you and me). You can feed cadets till they can eat no more on board, and within an hour ashore they are to be found with a “Whopper or Big Mac” in hand ! The weather continued unabated, and evening shore leave found us Tenpin Bowling and getting the competitive spirit well and truly quenched Wednesday dawned, wet, wild and a mean wind speed of 35 knots and gusting across the decks. Definitely not a time to sail, although it was forecast to ease later and drop down to SWF4 during the night... hint of a night passage here team ! We had exhausted every known lecture, completed bends and hitches blindfold... what do you do with 24 restless boys and girls. Well, as some of you will know, Poole is the home of the RNLI, and we were moored just a five minute march away... so, a quick visit to the front desk, a meeting with the Training Manager and one of the Lifeboat Inspectors, explaining our plight of being stormbound, and we had 24 cadets entering the yard. This huge facility covers quayside for about ten boats up to 50ft in length, has lifts and gantries plus hard standing, covered
and uncovered for some 15 boats or so. In addition there is the swimming pool for Sea Safety and Survival Classes, plus fire fighting stands to practise on. The welcome was tremendous and as we had arrived on a pre-course quiet day off for the staff, would be given a half day visit. Our first stop was to watch a fire fighting exercise for a galley fire on a yacht, and two “yachties” did there best to undergo their test under the scrutiny of our crew. Naturally, when offered the chance to have a try, they were quite surprised just how difficult a fire blanket is to wield and smother, and as to how quickly re-ignition could occur if not extinguished properly. From here we went into the hangars, and saw boats from 12ft RIB’s up to 35ft Offshore craft being fitted out. The RIB’s are now intensively used in inshore flooding rescues, as recent tv news reports will tell, and the speed at which the RNLI can despatch boats by road to the various parts of the UK is a tribute to their logistics planning. Launch trolleys, and equipment , survival suits, surf boards ,comms units etc., were available to see, scramble over and try on, and use, it was a superbly interesting walk through. A fascinating part was to learn of the propulsion units used , such as water jet and hover, so as to avoid engine prop failure in debris full water. The Chiswick (London) Lifeboat was in for service, and this uses water jet propulsion as can be seen from the accompanying picture. Out on to the quay... just what the cadets had been waiting for! The big 55 foot boats were awesome to go on board. The huge displacement fittings in storm proof quality, told their own story, and “safe rescue” was very
evident. The big boats had the air of A huge vote of thanks was duly given by the cadets, who elected one a Naval Patrol craft about them and as of our crew to propose, and very well another picture shows, the survivors accommodation below is remarkable. done it was. A trip to the Shoreline Shop in the College building, Christmas Cards Up to 12 harnessed padded seats in and souvenirs bought in quantity... watertight compartments ensured those one of the girls comments,“well the rescued were transported in comfort RNLI T-Towels are just so much more back to shore. These were next to interesting than the ‘Royalists’!” They the engine compartments, again sealed were also highly disappointed that there watertight units, and the boat we was no “Naked Lifeboatmen Calendars” visited had just arrived back from relief to take home to Mum, apparently these work on the Yarmouth I.o.W Station, are available as a “local initiative” said (one of the UK’s busiest). The engine the Training Manager! What next! room temperature still in the 80’s, a bit A very “happy and bubbly crew” like having an Aga continually on in the made it’s way back to the ship, we had accommodation said the Training been given a half day of tremendous Manager! The enclosed bridge, nav. and a topical subject. It was interesting station was full of the latest equipment to hear that the RNLI as a charity receive and with being able to touch everything, more money from bequests than any our crew were totally enthralled. other UK charity. This they say is based The Training Manager pointed out on the sure fact that every Briton is a that “you are not a survivor until rescued”, “mariner at heart-male or female”, and no matter where you live in the UK you are but what facilities there are make never more than a hundred miles from a the orange and blue hulls the most coastline! They have no Government re-assuring sights to all distressed funding, are totally self supporting, mariners, when they appear to the doing all their own R&D work for new rescue, in some pretty awful weather and existing boats “in-house”!... and conditions. Our trip concluded with a they make no charge for call outs and visit to a prototype boat now being rescues, unless salvage is involved. tested, the 52ft high speed craft, that Supper was ready, and with the carries it’s rescue RIB within the hull wind down to 17 knots and a “weather for launching, out of a stern door, unlike window” opening up, we were able to the Hyab derrick launched unit on the get a night passage in, back to the present boats. Very impressive, as you Solent and keep within our weeks can see from the photo and built as deadline. part of a bequest from Edward and Our week, well and truly “saved by Barbara Prigmore as the name denotes. the RNLI” to whom we should give a Our happy and contented crew mustered huge vote of thanks. If you are ever in in front of the boat, for a photo call, Poole and looking for something to do, which saw the visit end and one of the they welcome visitors to their splendid best I’ve ever had the privilege to set-up HQ and have a mini-trip around a museum within. on an impromptu basis.
The Square Rigger Club meets in Oxford By Hugh Illingworth, Vice Commodore
ny society or Club should for its own vitality be in constant evolvement. No-one has recently suggested that the Square Rigger Club was in need of this change but since earlier days when Rear Commodores lunches were organised for no other reason than to be social with like minded seafarers of the Square Rigger Club, there has been a change. We now have little time to be frivolous and therefore the emphasis has altered to putting added ‘enjoyment’ value on the serious matters of running a charity and packing it all into one day! During the last few years there has been an effort to make the formality of the Club’s Annual General Meeting into an experience that has also had added interest for those who attend. During the last few years, the SRC has held AGMs in Weymouth, Greenwich, Old Portsmouth and this year – Oxford! This may sound to be a strange venue for a society of seafarers but there was logic. Our Commodore, Andy Krasun is a graduate of Oxford University’s Worcester College and what a magnificent venue it is! Very well worth the overland visit for the stalwart members of the SRC who attended. Because of the (serious) need to have plenty of discussion time for the matters of the committee, in previous years it has been difficult in the short space of time before the AGM to have quality discussion time for the many important issues, so our creative Hon Secretary, Bernard Atkinson has encouraged the Committee to attend a pre-amble meeting and dinner on the previous evening to the AGM. Last year this was successfully held in a seaside hotel in Southsea and to repeat this experiment, the MacDonald Randolph hotel in Oxford was chosen for the event.
The Randolph hotel has all the regal splendour of times past and echoes of Inspector Morse, who (in fiction) frequented the cocktail bar and the hotel suitably accommodated several committee members and some of their spouses for this event. In amongst the wine and bon viverie of the social event, there was a useful exchange of thoughts on the key issues to be discussed on the morrow’s committee meeting. One of these was to encourage the writer to stand for the responsibility of being Vice Commodore and since his wife, Debby was in attendance and did not put up any objections it went off as a done deal! On to the Saturday morning, the committee gathered for their meeting, which passed off very successfully and this was duly followed by the AGM, attended by a following of twenty plus Club members. It was good to see some new faces from around the locality, who had not attended an AGM previously and other members of the Club. John Whitworth who has taken part in the last two charters was welcomed to the Committee. The Minutes of the AGM will be distributed at a later stage but the sober starting moment of the meeting was to mark the sad loss of our Life Commodore, Morin Scott. The Club and Morin’s legacy remains in fine shape and he would have greatly enjoyed the occasion. After the meeting, there was a delicious buffet lunch (thanks to the Worcester College staff) followed by a guided tour around the college and magnificent grounds, conducted by Dr. Richard Earle, a close friend of Commodore Andy and a resident in the college. After that it was farewells and the end of a successful and enjoyable AGM. Next year in 2010, we are hoping for Weymouth again so make a note of the date when published!
The “Saturday Routine” By Martin Henwood, Lt Cdr (SCC) RNR Area Staff Officer (Offshore), South West Area
t around two thirty each Saturday afternoon, at a port somewhere in the UK groups of two/three boys and girls Sea Cadet Units around the U.K. make their way over the brow of “Royalist” to join for another week’s training. Some will creep on board, awed at the height of the masts and some will have been on board before. Some will come by train, some with Mum and Dad, (who will also be awed at what they see!) Overall, it’s a wonderful mix of young people who will be strangers to each other, before they even begin to bond as a team... one of the skills they will learn in the coming week. In some cases they will have come from Units as prize winners of the “Best Cadet” of the year, but in many, just the desire to go to sea and learn the art of helping each other to become a rather old fashioned word called “shipmates”. A world away from screens, DVD games,
mobiles and other such modern “must have items” for the “cool” teenagers of today. Joining “Royalist” means becoming self sufficient and issuing a challenge to each cadet to see how they can handle themselves in many different situations. It is still one of life’s last true “adventures”, and believe me, at the end of the week attitudes have changed and a quiet confidence is detected amongst many. The opportunity to accomplish this has been, in many cases provided by you as a Club Member, assisting in providing bursary awards, to many who could not have afforded to otherwise take up the week. So this message is to simply say THANK YOU for your help. As an Area Staff Officer, responsible for Offshore opportunities with the Sea Cadets, I see both sailing on board and back at the Unit’s the real results of your help, and it is very rewarding. At Unit Inspections, carried out by visiting Naval
Staff, the Offshore Sail badges proudly worn always attract comments, such as “what did you learn – where did you go – what was the weeks highlights” and singles out those who have taken part in such an adventure. On behalf of my colleagues in the Sea Cadet Staff around the UK, thank you once again, you have made a difference to many young people’s lives, this year assisting another 150 cadets to get away to sea.
Life on the ocean (channel) wa
il Sea Cadet Corps. am 13 years old and part of the Yeov My name is Cameron McLeod. I The ship’s name was T.S. Royalist ty to go on a tall ship for a week. rtuni oppo the had I year this er On 13th Septemb S.C.C. means Sea Cadet Corps). S.C.C. (TS means training ship and hearts thumping travelled to Portsmouth harbour, cadets. We left Yeovil junction and I went with my best friend from ly arrived. with excitement as the day had final w to unpack When we arrived we were sent belo e and made our way to our ship. We reached Portsmouth at lunchtim – space was very limited!! and get changed into our uniforms into four it further instructions. We were split ast the cockpit (on deck) to awa were abre we ter mus then , to oard were starb we of on part pleti On com of port and after ard part of starboard, after part around the country. from ts cade all – watches, forward part of port, forw four ty twen of the rest of the ship’s company left to meet and make friends with ng and to be. We all had different sail setti and were told what our duties were lines, buntlines clue were ons stati ring We worked into the night, trained, lowe and ng and cleaning stations. My sail setti literally means cleaning the ship lowering stations, bracing stations ng the sails and cleaning stations tioni posi lves invo ons stati ing and leechlines. Brac daily from top to bottom. bulkheads (walls) scrubbing the decks, cleaning the station and some duties such as The wardroom was my cleaning us. of be polished had to be done by all and polishing anything that could at least eight watch during the night. We had on y morning even if we had been ons. In our stati ing brac to d calle y tantl We had to be up by 6.00am ever a full eight hours as we were cons got y rarel I would very and we ds but frien e day a mad time hours spare urite place, and my new up the masts, which was my favo spare time we were allowed to go sit on the yards. in fact, it was gave perfect sailing conditions; as blue skies with a constant wind t. It was very Wigh of Isle the on es Cow We were lucky with the weather nt and docked most nights in Sole the nd arou for our last d uth saile smo We Port on. for the best all seas sday we set sail back ships I felt right at home. On Thur for half the price, k wee extra an for stay nice there and with all the sailing to me ed Coxswain approached me and invit rise she said yes, so long as time. But on the Thursday night on the next week. Much to my surp back go d coul I if d aske and home only to be back again train the on so I phoned my mum got I ing morn surprise they did! So on Friday school agreed, which again to my the very next day by 2pm. happened nd week onboard the Royalist. As back down to Gosport for my seco me e be yards to drov got I mum time ing This morn ing. rday train On Satu and worked through the night of hes watc four tying into and up sails split the were the week before, we and across the yards to untie onsible for climbing up the masts between deck r lowe the on cally basi is man, which meant that I was resp d’ which stations were to clean ‘Burma Roa them back up again. My cleaning pit. the mess deck and the cock t we were ay and Monday, but on Monday nigh sailed around the Solent on the Sund Cherbourg in France so to sail to g goin The weather was good again so we were we that by watches. We were then told told to muster abreast the cockpit going to let slip at 0700 hours. were We ted. exci we were all very all night to sail for France. It took all day and d to harbour stations and we set calle am and were 5.30 we now ing was It morn next bed. to So at 0700 hed I went back to 4am. After my watch had finis sleep until breakfast at of hour half her get there. I was on watch from 1am anot got I !” of d to hear the shout “Land Ahoy our station I got the first glimpses I was rather unpleasantly awakene ons was piped. As I got to my harb stati our new harb our to at s up hand red all moo 7am 6.30am and at g our bow. Once we had saw four dolphins skimming alon we had not France. Going into the harbour we of all we had to go swimming as First ce. Fran in e leav e shor of day le who a ch nuclear yed Fren a enjo we was e rg Ther rbou . Che eum berth in submarine mus friends and I found our way to the had a shower since boarding. My t! grea and I had a look around. It was submarine there, which my friends kind to us as we This time the weather was not so 7am and set sail back for England. The next day we let slip again at . rough! Well, it felt like a hurricane hit a force eight gale and it was very es had to look and three others, so us able bodi elf captain was sick except for mys the even and ght. ick thou seas first got I yone than er Ever proved hard do all their duties for them, which after the twenty sick cadets and swallows the wind was at a force seven. The flying behind the ship. By this time llows sea and swa the five into ed ped notic I drop h they watc Once on , but one by one and I think they were trying to land when we got back ale gunw our on ed followed us for quite some time land it and only one tired swallow remained by the time we got back to England to Gosport.
d my gnised RYA qualification. I complete Shore Hand 1 & 2, which is a reco ld Off wou my I ed and gain I sea ks at wee life on two e ed During thes completely hook ed my competent crew. I am now petent to skipper com be will I ns mea h second class seamanship and gain whic er lead like to gain my off shore watch really like to go again. I would also in the summer, so I can’t wait. n agai go can I says a tall ship. Mum Cameron McLeod
Caledonia is calling... By John Whitworth
s Chris and I turned the corner and entered the Muirtown Basin my gaze fell upon T.S. Royalist, tied to the wharf. It had been a year since I last sailed on her with the Square Riggers’ Club charter from Falmouth to Milford Haven. I was now looking forward to my second cruise from Inverness to Corpach (Fort William), accompanied by Chris, a shipmate from the previous year. My journey to Inverness had started two days previously on the 18th June 2009 when I had kissed my wife goodbye and boarded a National Express coach in Swansea. With changes at Bristol and Glasgow, the journey had taken me eighteen hours to reach my destination at Inverness. The coach ride through the Highlands was well-worth the long journey; despite the disappointment of finding the coffee shop closed in Glasgow when I arrived there at 6.15a.m! Unfortunately, the water supply that I had carried thus far had run out and I was absolutely desperate to quench my ever growing thirst… to no avail! It was late on Friday afternoon when we ventured aboard the ship and were cordially greeted by Janet (last year’s Watch Officer) and by Annette (Coxswain). We were allocated bunks and given our wet weather gear before being left to wander around the ship, noting the various changes made during the winter months. As we were not due on board the charter until the next morning, Chris and I took our leave after being introduced to the full-time crew. We left to buy some fish and chips and made our way back to our ‘Bed and Breakfast’ accommodation, our last chance to sleep in a bed for the next six nights.
DAY 1: 21st June
We were up early for breakfast and once the bill had been settled, Chris and I walked the two hundred yards or so to the ship. Alan Burt handed out our souvenir fleece tops (a nice combination of sky & navy blue): immediately, we felt at home in our ‘new uniform’. By now, the paying crew were starting to arrive in ones and twos…. from destinations south of Hadrian’s Wall and across the Irish Sea. Also, the basin was filling up with all manner of sailing craft as Inverness was hosting ‘The Crossing’: an annual celebration of the Caledonian Canal. Unfortunately for T.S. Royalist, she was being used as the venue for the reception of local dignitaries during in the afternoon and we would not be leaving our berth until early on Sunday morning. Disappointing, but… things could be worse! Sure enough, it soon became clear that the marquee which was situated alongside the ship was to be used for the evening’s entertainment... a dance with local band playing! The pub was a favourite for our first evening aboard and we discovered, later, that this was full of ancient mariners who were dressed uniformly in sky and navy blue fleece tops (the average age of this paying crew being 64 years)! Anyhow, well done, Alan… they all looked very smart! I can’t even bring myself to mention the afternoon ‘session’ in a town pub watching the Lions lose to South Africa!!!
DAY 2: 22nd June
This started with a good, hearty breakfast and an early slip from the quayside as T.S. Royalist jockeyed for position with the 9.20 a.m. opening of the lock gates. We watched in awe as a canal barge firstly hit another large vessel before proceeding to ram the opposite bank! Our Captain, Phil’s, immediate order was “out fenders” and “keep a watch on that L driver with the canal barge!” Clachnaharry Locks was our first formidable obstacle which we managed, with ease. Oh, how we looked forward to tackling Neptune’s Stairway at Banavie!
We motored into the quiet waters of Lock Ness, set in Glen More, and appreciated the stunning views of the Scottish Highlands on either side. The wind improved and the sails were released. “Bracing stations!” were called almost every 10 minutes as we tacked to & fro across the waters of Loch Ness. This was a wonderful introduction to Square Rigger sailing for the newcomers. The weather changed, however, and we experienced a few showers during the afternoon: it wasn’t until 5.30 p.m. that we dropped anchor in a sheltered
bay alongside Urquhart Castle. An enjoyable evening was spent in the mess with 1 hour watch duties allocated to ‘volunteers’.
DAY 3: 23rd June
Today started with another excellent breakfast provided by Steve in the galley. After cleaning the ship, some Square Riggers took the opportunity of going ashore and visiting Urquhart Castle. We weighed anchor after lunch and sailed up the Loch to Fort Augustus, tacking from one side of the loch to the other. During the afternoon session, we practised ‘man overboard’ drill and it was Luke (Bosun) who drew that short straw! The idea was to offer him as bait for ‘Nessie’ (who, sadly, failed to appear). Perhaps the prospect of chewing through a rubber wetsuit put him/her off the idea of having a quick snack…. anyhow, Luke was dragged back on board, minus a flipper! Hot showers and an evening ashore in Fort Augustus was on the cards and good news arrived from Inverness. Annette’s P.J.’s had been found in the shower block there and would be sent up the next week on one of the Sea Cadet yachts that was following the course of T.S. Royalist. Fort Augustus is a lovely place, set either side of a series of locks – a definite tourist attraction. We were very much looking forward to the next day in anticipation of having large crowds watch ‘Royalist’ navigate the climb from Loch Ness up into the waters of Loch Oich.
DAY 4: 24th June
This day started badly with Sue & Richard deciding that the cruise just wasn’t living up to their expectations, and although they had enjoyed themselves this far, the programme for
the next few days was unappealing to them. As a result, they became the first to ‘jump ship’! It was sad to see them leave considering that I had been the one who had initially convinced them to experience this, ‘adventure of a lifetime’, sailing around the Scottish Isles. As we approached the lock gates at Fort Augustus, crowds of people were gathering on both sides: this was an opportunity not to be missed by the Square Riggers. Armed with leaflets and badges, Sally and Annette were given the job of publicising these charters and they were soon in deep conversation with the holiday makers who were watching our progress through the locks. Over £40.00 was made in ‘badge sales’ and over 50 leaflets on the Square Rigger Club were handed out. This had been a great Public Relations’ exercise which should be repeated as often as possible, especially when in harbour. Lunch was taken on board after a quick sightseeing trip around the town of Fort Augustus and we merrily motored along the Caledonian Canal into Loch Oich, heading for Laggan Lock and looking forward to an evening barbeque on the shore.
Caledonia is calling... (cont.)
Unfortunately, I suffered a slight accident when stowing the sails in the sail locker but, after resting, applying an ice pack and taking 2 pain killers, I was promptly handed an Accident Form, stating that it was my own fault for colliding with an overhead cupboard in the mess (Health & Safety procedures at their best). I was even more despondent when we were told that the only floating pub in Scotland wouldn’t be open that night! After a very enjoyable barbeque, Phil announced that he was going to auction some sketches of T.S. Royalist. This was an unexpected event which could, in future, prove to be a great fundraiser on Square Rigger charters, especially if those involved were encouraged to bring along an item to be auctioned.
DAY 5: 25th June
After a late breakfast we left the safety of the lock and set sail in light winds with a perfectly blue, cloudless sky. We sailed on Loch Lochy all day, returning to Laggan Lock for our second night there and… surprise, surprise... the floating ‘Eagle’ pub was open!
We enjoyed a few thirst-quenching drinks ashore and it became obvious that some individuals were becoming increasingly disgruntled with the cruise programme as they had expected to be in the throes of sailing within the canal system, in the sound (Loch Linnie) and out around the Isles. Several questions were posed but left unanswered – something for the committee to discuss at a later date.
DAY 6: 26th June
Another lovely day dawned with very little wind to aid sailing. Time was spent sailing for a few hours and motoring to Banavie, at the top of Neptune’s Stairway, which marked the end of our journey. The afternoon saw us taking on fuel and stores, cleaning the ship and storing the sails for the final time. After showering and packing our kit bags, I ventured into Fort William on a personal ‘quest’….to find the Highland Hotel. During World War II, the Highland Hotel and two other local hotels were used to billet sailors training to fight on small ships. Known collectively as H.M.S. St. Christopher, ratings and officers lived in these hotels for a short
time, using Loch Linnie and Loch Eil as their training ‘grounds’. The waters of these lochs in the early 1940s were covered with motor launches, motor gun boats and motor torpedo boats as seamen were put through arduous, demanding, repetitive exercise time and time again. Coastal Forces, as they were later known, took up the fight against the German naval forces in ‘little ships’, attacking German shipping in the Channel and the Baltic My father was one of these seamen who, in 1943 and at the tender age of 18 years, was sent to Fort William to train on M.Ls. (motor launch). On the 6th June 1944, he was part of a flotilla protecting the flank of ‘Gold’ beach, off Normandy and was involved in escorting wave after wave of landing craft to the beaches in the first hours of the invasion. This quest for the Highland Hotel was most definitely going to be my highlight of the week, whatever else the sailing experience threw up at me. I made it to the hotel and stood outside its imposing façade, alongside a commemorative cairn that had been built by the hotel management. Inside, I was very touched to view the small tribute laid on display along with the Standard of the Coastal Forces, Fort William. My father had last visited H.M.S. St. Christopher back in 1999, two years before he passed away: for me, this was one pilgrimage that I just had to make, in his honour.
After leaving the hotel, with very mixed emotions, I was more than happy to listen to the Lochaber School Pipe Band playing in the town centre… so apt, given the circumstances.
DAY 7: 27th June
This was a sad day in many ways. Chris and I said our goodbyes to the other crew members and climbed into a taxi that took us to the Coach Station in Fort William as I needed to take the coach to Inverness to begin my return 18 hour journey to Swansea. It was a thrill to catch a glimpse of the ‘Commando’ memorial at Spean Bridge and note how it had been placed, facing the glory of Ben Nevis: an awesome tribute to those dedicated servicemen who fought so hard and gave their lives in order to achieve freedom for us today. I enjoyed some free time in Inverness as I waited for my connection and my journey south was pretty uneventful. I had a far more positive experience at Glasgow Coach Station on the return journey than I had on my way up north just seven days before: yes, the coffee shop was indeed open! My thirst, this time was quenched! To summarise the week’s experience is no easy task. I had travelled the Great Glen in a square-rigger and had experienced exceptionally good weather although the sailing experience itself had been somewhat disappointing. I had established some new friendships and regenerated older ones; travelled the furthest north in the British Isles so far and, most importantly, I had walked in my late father’s footsteps. All in all, it had been a very good week which has created in me, a desire to return one day. As the lyrics of the song say... “Caledonia is calling and I’m going home...!”
Farewell to Captain Phil By Richard Weston
hil had joined the army, when he should still have been at school having fibbed about his age. He spent 18 years in the army ending his career teaching sailing. On leaving the army he went back to Yorkshire to run the family paper shop business. With the business closing, he came back to Gosport to work as a sailing instructor and was asked to become the Sailing Master in December 1999.
In 2003 H, an RAF, Nurse arrived at Fort Blockhouse and met Phil at the Christmas Ball that year. They got married twice, but Phil was only officially divorced less than a month before the first wedding at Gretna Green 30th June 2007 in jeans and tee shirts, when the ship was in Largs. They had a formal wedding in the Submariners Chapel, at Fort Blockhouse in the September. By this time Phil had become of Captain of Royalist in February 2007, on the retirement of Gordon Patterson, at the end of the previous season. Phil will be remembered for many things, obviously his contribution to the training of cadets. My own memories include his seamanship and standing off the North Welsh coast in Force Nine Gales and anchoring with waves coming over the bow and night passages across the Channel and the tension of crossing the shipping lanes in the dark or in fog approaching Alderney. H and Phil have packed their entire life into a container and they will fly first to Australia on the 7th December for a holiday, and will arrive in New Zealand for Christmas. Phil is taking all his fishing gear and paragliding equipment with them, so will not be bored when he arrives. Their big plan is to combine ordinary work with running a campsite, on the West Coast of North Island. On behalf of everyone in the Square Rigger Club, thank you to Phil for all his time and effort on Royalist and good luck to H and Phil in their future life in New Zealand.
A Letter from Katherine Morton Here is a letter we received from Katherine Morton, who sadly passed away in 2008, aged 97.
Little Brigs Update
was the year we completed our second brig – CAROLINE ALLEN. It was also the year we completed the legacy that the late Bob Allen had set forth – for square rig sail training for younger sailors. CAROLINE ALLEN sailed for the first time in August and was on show at the Southampton International Boat Show: both brigs were at the Small Ships race in October. We feel this is a significant achievement for such a small, and young, charity.
We are finalising our programme for next year (www.littlebrig.com) but we hope in April to bring both brigs to London (Canary Wharf by way of Tower Bridge) and to have a weekend of match racing off Cowes at the end of August, for which the late Morin Scott has donated a trophy. We will also be at the Yarmouth Old Gaffers festival. We have a flexible programme and we would welcome any SRC members – groups welcome and if there are ten people we can arrange a small race!
Charter 2010 See leaflet enclosed for further information.
• Sail TS ROYALIST on at least two weekends each year – no previous sailing experience required! • Plus additional week or weekend charters (dependant on the availability of the ship). • More experienced? Sail as afterguard crew with the Sea Cadets. • Charter one of the Sea Cadet’s offshore yachts. Membership starts from just £20 per year. The perfect gift for any would-be sailor! Who we are TS ROYALIST, the square-rigged sail training brig of the Sea Cadets, was launched in 1971. Formed to support the ship, The Square Rigger Club provides support in men, material and money for the Sea Cadet’s square rigged sail training brig TS Royalist and assists the Sea Cadets with a bursary scheme. More info More details on the Charter Weekends, Sea Cadets and Offshore Yachts can be found at www.squareriggerclub.org.uk
Interested? It’s easy to join. Fill out the Application Form overleaf OR download it from www.squareriggerclub.org.uk (in Acrobat Reader format) and post it to the Membership Secretary: John MacDonald, 146 Manchester Road, Mossley, Lancs OL5 9BG 21
Annual Newsletter of the Square Rigger Club