Tall Ships Race from London

Bob Theman
16th February 2012, 17:20
Does anyone remember the year when London hosted the start of the Tall Ships Race ? Converting some of my VHS memories to DVD I came across my tape of the tall ships passing Greenwich but stupidly never annotated the cassette. When playing such to young people during an "I remember when..." session I sound such a dumbo when I have to say "I don't remember when..."
I think it must have been somewhere about the late 80s.
Grateful for any advice.

Duncan112
16th February 2012, 17:56
1989, sadly London can never host the race again from the City as there is insufficient clearance under the QE2 Bridge at Dartford

Sister Eleff
16th February 2012, 19:59
The Australian Bicentenial re-enactment of the First Fleet would have left UK in 1987, it wasn't a race though.

Bob Theman
16th February 2012, 23:06
Many thanks for the info.
Bob

John Briggs
16th February 2012, 23:21
In 1989 the Tall Ships raced from London to Hamburg.

John Gurton
17th February 2012, 10:16
I remember it was chucking it down with rain as they passed Gravesend !

Bob Theman
17th February 2012, 11:52
Driving over the QEII bridge last night I just happened to notice that the clearance underneath to the river was 189feet. Just how tall is the tallest tall ship I wondered. If they could hack off a couple of feet from their topmasts perhaps we could offer to host the event again........could we afford it after the Olympics ?

McCloggie
17th February 2012, 13:01
I was at HMS President then and we provided boats crews and a landing facility on our jetty. A lot of good memories:

The Russians from Krushenstern (sorry about the spelling) would fall in at the of of the jetty and then be marched smartly off the premises! They had absolutely no money at all and we were slipping them drinks and sweets etc.

The Irish ship brought there own inflatable alongside without permission and one of our boats ran over it and punctured it. The Irish blamed us but were told they had no right to be there in the first place!

The Master from Alexander von Humboltd always told the boat crew to wait when they took him back and he would reappear with a case of beer for the lads. He never had to wait long to be picked up!

It was a 24-hours/day job and we were coordinating our boats, some other boats from the PLA, providing liaison staff etc.

When the ships departed, there was a lunch in the Wardroom and the other bars to see everything go. I was living in a riverside flat in the Isle of Dogs at the time so we drove back through Wapping and Limehouse and carried on the party from my balcony opposite Delta Wharf. By this time many of the ships had their sails broken out so it really was a spectacular sight.

Was it really 25 years ago?

McC

Bob S
17th February 2012, 13:20
1989, sadly London can never host the race again from the City as there is insufficient clearance under the QE2 Bridge at Dartford

There have been quite a few large tall ships up river since the QE2 bridge was built, I believe the height would restrict only the largest tall ships although I have heard that even they can pass at low tide.

There some tall ships due during the Olympics according to the PLA cruise ship schedule although no names as yet.

Bosun ken
19th February 2012, 04:28
Hi Bob . I was told ( by a crew member) that the height of the masts of the "Pamir"was 185ft from the deck . However , for my personal satisfaction, I would like to know how tall was the foremast of the "Aquitania" .believe this! as a crew member I was told by the "Bosun" , to rig a chair at the foretop mast,and start chipping!! . I did just that. It was my job. And the masts were raked, good 15 degrees"..........any sailors out there? How did I do it ? Well by shinning up the top ten feet of the mast with a tail block over my shoulder ,making it fast and continuing on with the fore topmast gantling ,shinning back up the mast ,passing it through the block and back down to the top of the crows nest .Then making fast the chair and up .

Bob Theman
19th February 2012, 13:25
K en, you were like most real matelots of those days ready to do the job and bonkers to boot. The H&S Brigade would have had apoplexy had they been at their evil deeds in yesteryear.
Well done you !
Bob

Shipbuilder
15th April 2012, 08:03
I have just measured the foremast of Aquitania from the plan. It was 132 feet from the top of the deckhouse to the truck and about 182 feet from the waterline to the truck!
The very thought of making a climb like that gives me the shivers!
Bob

Bosun ken
16th April 2012, 01:12
Bob. Thanks for letting me know,I was never frighted of heights then , but now like you shiver at the thoughts of doing it and why I don't think the Bosun liked me or was he testing my skill as a young A.B. When painting the funnels four of them , I was the one sent aloft on the dummy gantlin. Fifteen men around the funnel ,I then had to get out of the chair and into the funnel, stand on brackets and pass the chairs around . The last fleet was my own. The funnels if you measure them were 80ft high. With the 'rake' again.We painted two of them in a ' job and finish' . Finished by 10-30am and off ashore.

Shipbuilder
16th April 2012, 07:03
Hi Ken,
I often think it is far worse going aloft in a steam or motorship than a sailing ship. The reason being, that in a sailing ship, you are surrounded by plenty other rigging and spars etc. In one of the ships I sailed in, the ore carrier Sagamore, we had a tall signal mast on top of the bridge with the ladder going up the back. Once clear of the deck, there was only the thin mast and ladder with nothing else to give a false sense of security. Initially, I found it very unnerving. I have been up it many times (to service the radar scanner whose transmitter was at the top of the mast). The more I went up and down in a short period (few days maybe), the more I got used to it and the less it troubled me. But if I hadn't been up for a few weeks or months, I had to go through it all again! I have been aloft in a couple of small sailing ships and found it a lot easier with the shrouds and ratlines sloping forward, but never felt confident to go over the futtock shrouds. But I was only there as a visitor. In time, I could no doubt have done it!
Bob

TOM ALEXANDER
16th April 2012, 07:25
Hi Ken,
I often think it is far worse going aloft in a steam or motorship than a sailing ship. The reason being, that in a sailing ship, you are surrounded by plenty other rigging and spars etc. In one of the ships I sailed in, the ore carrier Sagamore, we had a tall signal mast on top of the bridge with the ladder going up the back. Once clear of the deck, there was only the thin mast and ladder with nothing else to give a false sense of security. Initially, I found it very unnerving. I have been up it many times (to service the radar scanner whose transmitter was at the top of the mast). The more I went up and down in a short period (few days maybe), the more I got used to it and the less it troubled me. But if I hadn't been up for a few weeks or months, I had to go through it all again! I have been aloft in a couple of small sailing ships and found it a lot easier with the shrouds and ratlines sloping forward, but never felt confident to go over the futtock shrouds. But I was only there as a visitor. In time, I could no doubt have done it!
Bob

When you've done it once, it was actually easier to go over the futtock shrouds than through the lubber hole. Never did have to go aloft on the Sagamore although I got very familiar with the ballast valves in the tunnel. Seems like you might have been on the Sagamore around the same time as me?

Bosun ken
17th April 2012, 06:51
Hi Bob ,I can imagine how you felt , if the mast had been positioned somewhere ashore ,climbing it would have been nothing to you . However ,positioned where it was on top of the bridge ,with nothing surrounding you but space and a long way above the water it's an " eerie" feeling ,(pardon the pun), You eventually got use to it and got on with the job that's great ,now you have something to talk about to your kids.
P.s. They won't listen to you anyway.

Explorer7073
17th April 2012, 08:12
Driving over the QEII bridge last night I just happened to notice that the clearance underneath to the river was 189feet. Just how tall is the tallest tall ship I wondered. If they could hack off a couple of feet from their topmasts perhaps we could offer to host the event again........could we afford it after the Olympics ?
Bob i knew a man who was on the windjammer Olivebank and he said that they had to remove the topmast to get under Sydney Harbour bridge!.
I currently live just north of Pt Victoria Sth Aust and that was the port that the windjammers loaded grain and sailed back to "Falmouth for orders" via cape Horn usually. They had a reunion of Cape Horners at Pt Victoria a couple of years ago which was their last due to the age of the members. There is a good DVD available called "Last of the Cape Horners". has good interviews photos and video if anyone interested. there is a small museum in the old shed at Pt Victoria jetty.

Bosun ken
18th April 2012, 00:49
Explorer 7073. Seems that you are one of my mob , I married a Moonta girl in the late forties ,sailed on the "Moonta" and lots of other " Adelaide Co ships .to my knowledge ,no Adelaide Co ships ever went to Port Victoria,but plenty of Ketches loading these Cape Horners .The " Olivebank" was torpedoed in the English channel 1939 I think , with a full load of grain from Port Victoria S.A.
To strike the topgallant masts on a ship carrying 'Royals' was difficult and hard to imagine . There was one four masted barque built with her Top gallant masts stepped aback and that was the bald headed Barque "Lawhill" making it more easy to lower.
I have several videos of voyages of Square-riggers which I now have to put on DVD

Bosun ken
19th April 2012, 02:31
I have just found out officially from the " Sydney Ports Committee" that the clearance height under the Harbour Bridge in the dead centre of the Bridge that is ...wait for it .....53.4.meters at low tide. However because of the Bridge curved Span , it reduces 2.4 mrs every 100metres ? Each way.
Therefore, four masted Barques such as the "Pamir " and the " Olivebank" would have to strike it's Top-gallant masts i.e .Lower them.

Bob S
19th April 2012, 17:14
Referring to Tall Ships in London, this might be of interest.

Sail Royal Greenwich 2012

July 25 to August 12

http://www.sailroyalgreenwich.co.uk/

Fleet info

http://www.sailroyalgreenwich.co.uk/en/corporate-hospitality/fleet

The Arrival Parade takes place on Wednesday, 25 July 2012 when an entire flotilla of around 20 Tall Ships will sail in convoy into London to inaugurate the spectacular maritime event Sail Royal Greenwich 2012.
For the impressive parade the Tall Ships will gather in the Thames estuary in Gravesend, Tilbury before sailing into Greenwich.


Regards

Bob

Shipbuilder
19th April 2012, 20:02
Here is a small model I built a while back of LAWHILL. Awful quality photo, but after I put it in a "blizzard" using photoship, it looked a lot better. You can just about make out the t'gallant masts fitted abaft the topmasts - no royals, as Ken has already said!
Bob

Tom,
I was in SAGAMORE 1963 - 65, probably after you left. Captains W. F. Swann & A. L. Wiles.

Bosun ken
20th April 2012, 05:35
It's come back to the original thread, Mast heights and bridges . I stand to be corrected on the clearance under the Sydney Harbour Bridge just look it up on web site , In general there is 49 meters , so the "Lawhill" could clear it ,easily being baldheaded. I have a book written by Capt.Ken Edwards. Call "The Lawhill" and recommend that if possible ,buy it .It is in detail . I have just made a phone call to a friend of mine who lives, just around the corner and was a member of the crew, he tells me that it did sail under the bridge,in fact twice, in Sept 1944 and also Nov. 1945 . In fact I knew a number of fellows who were on the "Lawhill". One in particular was a very good friend of mine . His name was Thor Lindquvist , he was the sailmaker . He passed away last year .I painted the. "Lawhill" for him under lower top-gallants . I suppose it's common property now .I could tell you a lot of stories unwritten about "Lawhill" around the crew members, but I'd need more space than this

Explorer7073
21st April 2012, 05:07
Explorer 7073. Seems that you are one of my mob , I married a Moonta girl in the late forties ,sailed on the "Moonta" and lots of other " Adelaide Co ships .to my knowledge ,no Adelaide Co ships ever went to Port Victoria,but plenty of Ketches loading these Cape Horners .The " Olivebank" was torpedoed in the English channel 1939 I think , with a full load of grain from Port Victoria S.A.
To strike the topgallant masts on a ship carrying 'Royals' was difficult and hard to imagine . There was one four masted barque built with her Top gallant masts stepped aback and that was the bald headed Barque "Lawhill" making it more easy to lower.
I have several videos of voyages of Square-riggers which I now have to put on DVD
Your right about the Olivebank, believe she was the first ship to be sunk in WWII. As a kid we use to swim in the Pt river near where the Moonta and other "M" named adelaide Steam Ships use to tie up at "A" berth, we use to call the swim area "Bondi" as it was the only bit of beach in the area. Remember some guys use to get on board the Moonta etc and jump from the bow into the water. We were all members of the Pt Adelaide Sailing Club just the other side of the Birkenhead Bridge.
The whole area is all changed now, don't know if you have seen it recently. Both sides of my family were in the Ketch trade and owned a number of ketches. One grandfather was captain on the SS Morglay when he worked for the SA Harbour Board My dad use to go away with him when they serviced the lighthouses in it. Currently trying to find info on this tug or one like it so I can build a model. Had one reply in the "SHIP RESEARCH" forum but would like additional info.
cheers

Bosun ken
21st April 2012, 06:37
Yes the "Moonta" use to tie up at "A" berth in the early days , where you use to swim was the broken down derelict "B" berth .It was a sandy spot ,just down from "Birkenhead Hotel" . I've have been told that a new bridge has been built there.What happen to the "Nelcebee" and the "One and All"' which were berthed in between .

Explorer7073
22nd April 2012, 08:10
The "Nelcebee" is sitting on top of the wharf at No1 dock last I saw her with a temp fence around her. She was lifted out of the water for survey but they said the plates were too thin and wouldn't ok her. The "new" "ONE and All" is tied up near about No2 berth with the company running her broke and looking for sponsers. Think the tug Yelta is near by still in water. You are right about the beach just down from the Birkenhead Hotel...which is now fairly trendy to drink at not like back in the 50's 60's.
Yes new road and rail opening bridge is finished it crosses the river about in the middle of no1 and no2 docks and links into Victoria Rd to feed the trucks to Outer Hrb, rail does the same. No more running along "Dunnicer"?? road from Glanville to service the E, to G berths etc. The road is now called Semaphore rd right through now, and you would remember the train running down Semaphre rd...all gone now. Going to Le Fevre Tech we used to have our swin comps in the Port Canal...all gone, think there is a shopping centre over it now.
cheers, Dave

Bosun ken
23rd April 2012, 06:45
Hi,Dave , thanks for the information on "Port Adelaide" .I then thought that I would try on the Web site .there"s a mass of material there to digest ,as it's been around twenty years I think when I was last there . The place has certainly changed from what I can see in the photos . It looks like the new road passes the old "Colac hotel" the other thing which surprised me was the fact that it had a bridge that opens and a railway line along side of it going to the Harbour. Well I suppose there's a lot of heavy traffic going over the bridge now . As you said that "E" and "G" berths are gone . They must be used for some as that is a lot of land . So it's called the"Birkenhead Tavern" now .....trendy as you say , well the whole area is becoming "Trendy" by the looks of it , flats right up to the rivers edge, not my cup of tea thanks . I remember when there was 39 shipping berths there ,and every one was full ,even a dozen or so at anchor waiting for a berth. Now the place looks like a Museum itself .

Explorer7073
28th April 2012, 07:39
HI ken, Found these photos I took back in 2005 and one I took back in about 1981 of the old girl still working. Thought you might be interested.27341

27342

27343

27344

27345

Bosun ken
1st May 2012, 05:38
Hi,Dave thanks for the photos.the Nelcebee hasn't changed, perhaps it will be put on a vacant block close to the Museum, and re-rigged for display .She must be well over 100 years old , been sunk a couple of times and still going . I noticed that she is discharging gypsum with a shore crane. The last of the ketches .The Falie is still afloat ,re- rigged and taking chartered trips around the gulf I can't see the Nelcebee doing it .....she is ready for the Museum. Thanks a lot for the memorabilia , it's the last time you will see a working Ketch. Ken

Bob Theman
7th May 2013, 12:14
Just heard that on BBC news this evening they will be announcing that the 2014 Tall Ships Race will start from London in 2014.
They may use a couple of seconds of the video of mine which started this thread.
Of note, they have worked out how to get the tallest ship (Sedov ?) under the QE II bridge at Dartford - (?) extra ballast so she rides lower in the water, everyone jumps up and down at the same time, take off the wheels (?) the mind boggles. I gather the clearance is about 6 inches depending on how low low tide is !

Anchorman
7th May 2013, 15:40
They may want to try this Bob. http://www.wimp.com/mastbridge/

Bob Theman
7th May 2013, 15:55
Doing that to SEDOV would be veeeeery interesting.