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Monthly Archives: August 2015

Clipper Round The World Race 2015 – The Start

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Photo L Katiyo

After all the preparation and the training, the twelve 70 feet yachts yesterday left the safe harbour of St Katherine’s Dock and the razzamatazz of the start of London to sail serenely down the Thames to begin the World’s longest yacht race properly.

Photo L Katiyo

The first Clipper Race crew left Plymouth in October 1996 and during the race’s 18-year history,  3,000 people have taken part and 55 ports have played host to the Clipper Race. It is one of the greatest endurance tests sailing 40,000 nautical miles to race around the world on a 70-foot ocean racing yacht. Divided into eight legs and 16 individual races, it is the only race in the world where the organisers supply a fleet of twelve identical racing yachts, each with a fully qualified skipper to safely guide the crew.

Photo L Katiyo

Watching the yachts sail around the Isle of Dogs it a worth reminding ourselves the ordeal that face the crews who are a mix of professional sailors and amateurs. Some of the crew will do the entire journey whilst other do individual stages.

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Photo L Katiyo

The first leg sees teams travel 6,000 miles to Brazil’s Rio De Janeiro. then yachts will go on to South Africa, Western Australia. Queensland, Vietnam, China. Seattle and New York.The final leg  sees the yachts travelling from New York back to London, where they are due at the end of July next year.

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Photo L Katiyo

Full Route

Leg 1 London, UK – Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Leg 2 Rio de Janeiro, Brazil – Cape Town, South Africa
Leg 3 Cape Town, South Africa – Albany, Western Australia
Leg 4 Albany, Western Australia – Sydney – Hobart – Whitsundays, Queensland
Leg 5 Whitsundays, Queesnland – Da Nang, Vietnam – Qingdao, China
Leg 6 Qingdao, China – Seattle, USA
Leg 7 Seattle, USA – Panama – New York, USA
Leg 8 East Coast USA – Derry-Londonderry – Den Helder – London, UK

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Photo L Katiyo

Teams

ClipperTelemed+
Da Nang – Viet Nam
Derry~Londonderry~Doire
Garmin
GREAT Britain
IchorCoal
LMAX Exchange
Mission Performance
PSP Logistics
Qingdao
Unicef
Visit Seattle

On a very busy day on the river, the Chilean Training ship Esmeralda left the dock.

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Photo Eric Pemberton

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Photo Eric Pemberton

Royal Greenwich Tall Ships Festival 2015 Fireworks and Round the World Clipper Race

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Photo – L Katiyo.

The Royal Greenwich Tall Ships Festival 2015 literally went off with a bang with a wonderful firework display captured by regular contributor  L Katiyo.

It might be worth reminding people that most of the focus of this year’s festival is in Woolwich but the ships will be making their way up and down the river over the weekend.

The Tall ships Esmeralda and Lord Nelson are in West India Dock till the 30th August.

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Photo – L Katiyo.

Another major river event takes place on Sunday when the Clipper round the world race start begins at St Katharine Docks , there are plenty of activities  before the race listed below.

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Photo – L Katiyo.

RACE START PARADE OF SAIL

The fleet will arrive at the St Katharine Docks on the afternoon of Thursday 20 August, with the full fleet expected to be berthed by 1730 BST. The Race Village will open daily from 1100 to 1800 from Saturday 22 until Saturday 29 August and from 1000-1800 on Sunday 30 August, when the fleet departs.

The Race Village will feature a wide range of attractions and there will be a number of free open boats each day until Saturday 29 August.

On departure day, Sunday 30 August, the entertainment gets underway at 1100 with the official departure ceremony and crews taking to stage in the Centre Basin pontoon stage between 1300 and 1400.

1. St Katharine Docks – The fleet enter the Thames 1415-1500
2. Butlers Wharf – Circuit south of Wapping 1500-1530
3. Tower Bridge – Fleet to pass underneath 1530-1600
4. Canary Wharf 1615 -1645
5. Greenwich 1700 -1720
6. The O2 Arena 1710 -1730
7. Thames Barrier 1720 -1740
8. QE2 Bridge 1820 -1840

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Photo – L Katiyo.

RACE VILLAGE SCHEDULE

Friday 28 August
1100-1145: British Walkabout Trio
1145-1215: Free Paddle Boarding taster in St Katharine Docks marina with Active 360
1200-1215: Free race talk at the Dome with Recruitment Manager David Cusworth on Clipper Race training and interviews
1230-1300: Free Paddle Boarding taster in St Katharine Docks marina with Active 360
1300: SUP Yoga, paddle boarding class with Active 360, £25 per hour
1300-1345: British Walkabout Trio
1400-1415: Free Clipper Race talk at the Dome with Recruitment Manager, David Cusworth on race training and interviews
1415: SUP paddle boarding class with Active 360, £25 per hour
1500-1145: British Walkabout Trio
1530: SUP Yoga paddle boarding class with Active 360, £25 per hour
1600-1615: Free Clipper Race talk at the Dome with Head of Training, Ben Bowley about race training
1645: SUP paddle boarding class and race with Active 360, £25 per hour
1700-1745: British Walkabout Trio
1800-2000: Free Crew Recruitment Presentation *Please RSVP to Vikki Gillard in Crew Recruitment vgillard@clipper-ventures.com

Saturday 29 August
1100-1130: Free paddle boarding taster in St Katharine Docks marina with Active 360
1120-1135: Free Clipper Race talk at the Dome: Interview with race founder and chairman, Sir Robin Knox-Johnston about how the race has evolved
1145-1220: Chinese Lion Dancers
1145-1215: Free paddle boarding taster in St Katharine Docks marina with Active 360
1230-1300: SUP paddle boarding class and race with Active 360, £25 per hour
1300: SUP Yoga, paddle boarding class with Active 360, £25 per hour
1300-1330: Chinese Lion Dancers
1345-1400: Free Clipper Race talk at the Dome: Interview with alumni crew on the race experience
1415: SUP paddle boarding class and race with Active 360, £25 per hour
1500-1530: Chinese Lion Dancers
1530: SUP Yoga, paddle boarding class with Active 360, £25 per hour
1545-1600: Free race talk at the Dome: Interview with alumni crew on the race experience
1645: SUP paddle boarding class and race with Active 360, £25 per hour
1700-1730: Chinese Lion Dancers
1750-1800: Free Clipper Race talk at the Dome: Interview with Clipper 2017-18 Race crew looking ahead

Sunday 30 August: Race Start
1000-1020: Brazilian Dancers
1230: Drummers perform up the fleet’s masts
1300: Drummers signal start of St Katharine Docks departure ceremony and teams presented on Show Pontoon
1415-1500: Fleet slips lines at St Katharine Docks and enter the Thames
1500-1530: Fleet circuits south of Wapping from Butlers Wharf
1530-1600: Tower Bridge opens for fleet to pass under
1615-1645: View the fleet pass down the Thames from Canary Wharf
1700-1720: View the fleet pass down the Thames from Greenwich
1710-1730: View the fleet pass down the Thames from O2 Arena
1720-1740: View the fleet pass down the Thames from Thames Barrier
1820-1840: View the fleet pass down the Thames from QE2 Bridge

The first race will start off Southend on Monday 31 August at 1230 BST (1130 UTC).

STS Lord Nelson in West India Dock – 26th August 2015

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Whilst a number of Tall Ships are gathering for the Royal Greenwich Tall Ships Festival  in Woolwich, the West India Dock welcomes a Tall Ship that has forged a great reputation as a Training ship for disabled and  able-bodied people.

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The Lord Nelson was the first tall ship that was purpose-built with the aim of integrating disabled with able-bodied people.The ship was the fulfilment of the vision  JST’s founder, Christopher Rudd who believed that physically disabled people should be able to sail alongside able-bodied people as part of the crew. The charity raised the money to build the ship aided by a grant from the Queen’s Silver Jubilee Appeal which led to the charity to being called the Jubilee Sailing Trust.

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The Lord Nelson sailed on her maiden voyage in 1986, Since that voyage, the STS Lord Nelson has sailed 461,943 Nautical Miles and taken nearly 29,000 people to sea. Of these, 10,500 people were physically disabled and more than 3,500 were wheelchair users.

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One of the most remarkable aspects of the ship is that Lord Nelson’s has many facilities for disabled crew including flat wide decks, powered lifts, speaking compass, Braille signage and bright track radar for visually impaired crew members. An induction loop and vibrating alarms have been installed for hearing impaired crew members. There are also special cabins, toilets and shower facilities for disabled crew.
However, the whole purpose of these facilities is to enable the disabled crew to work side by side with the able bodied crew, there is no room for passengers, everyone has duties to perform.

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Between 2012 and 2014, the Lord Nelson undertook its greatest challenge by completing a voyage around the world visiting 7 continents and 30 countries. Whilst in Australia and New Zealand she raced in tall ships races and also carried out an Antarctic Expedition.

The Lord Nelson is a 55m barque that usually has a crew of 50, there is a permanent Crew of Master, First Mate, Second Mate, Bosun, Chief Engineer, Second Engineer, Medical Purser, Cook, two volunteer Bosun’s Mates, volunteer Cook’s Assistant and Deck Officer Cadet. The Voyage Crew consists of 38 people, 50% of whom may be physically disabled (up to eight wheelchair users).

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The Jubilee Sailing Trust and the Lord Nelson were pioneers in promoting integration between able-bodied and physically disabled adults through the medium of tall ship sailing. Their success has enabled disabled people to undertake adventures as part of a working crew and earn respect for their contribution. It was this success that led to the Jubilee Sailing Trust to build a second ship, Tenacious, a 65m wooden barque which is the largest ship of her kind to be built-in the UK in over 100 years and undertook her maiden voyage in 2000.

The Tenacious especially is a regular visitor to West India Dock and both ships are a wonderful reminder of what can be achieved by fulfilling a vision of providing  opportunities to people of a wide range of abilities.

The Arrival of the Chilean Training Ship Esmeralda in West India Dock – 26th August 2015

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After the appearance of the Lord Nelson, another ship came into view with the arrival of the Esmeralda (BE-43) which is a steel-hulled four-masted barquentine tall ship of the Chilean Navy. Nicknamed the ‘White Lady’, the Esmeralda was built with the intention of becoming Spain’s national training ship, however the yard in which she was being built was badly damaged by explosions and the ship itself suffered considerable damage. In 1950, Chile and Spain entered negotiations about debts and Spain offered the not yet completed Esmeralda as part of the settlement. Chile took over ownership of the ship and she was launched in 1953.

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Since her commissioning, Esmeralda has been a training ship for the Chilean Navy. She has visited more than 300 ports worldwide acting as a floating ambassador for Chile. In the 1970s, the ‘White Lady’ gained a dark reputation when she was used by the Pinochet regime to hold political prisoners with allegations of torture being used.

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Since then, the ship has travelled the world in her ambassador role , most recently attending the Sail Amsterdam 2015 from the 19th to the 23rd August. The ship has a Length of 113 m (371 ft), Beam: 13.11 m (43.0 ft) and Height: 48.5 m (159 ft) and carries a crew of 300 sailors and 90 midshipmen.

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After the quiet entrance of the Lord Nelson, the arrival of the training ship “Esmeralda” was heralded by a lone piper and then the massed ranks of the crew began singing military marches as the ship entered the dock. A crowd of around 200 Chilean nationals were there to see the ship’s arrival, occasionally bursting into the Chilean national anthem.

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It is likely the ship will be open to visitors whilst in dock, but there are no details at the moment other than the ship leaves on the 30th August.

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Royal Greenwich Tall Ships Festival 2015: 27th to 31st August 2015

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After the great success of  last year’s Tall Ship festival, the Tall Ships are returning to Royal Greenwich for five days this August Bank Holiday with up to 15 Tall Ships dropping anchor for the maritime family festival. This year most of the ships will be anchored at Woolwich Arsenal Riverside from which they will be running a series of cruises to Greenwich and Tower Bridge.  This means that for the five days, if you are on the Isle of Dogs, you are likely to see a number of ships going backwards and forwards.

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During the festival, two of the larger Tall Ships will be moored on Tall Ship Island in the river at Maritime Greenwich, and will be open to visitors via Thames Clipper shuttles.

Dar Mlodziezy
Santa Maria Manuela

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The following 13 Tall Ships will be based at Royal Arsenal Woolwich and will be running daily cruises along the river to Greenwich and Tower Bridge.

Thalassa
Wylde Swan
Mercedes
Oosterschelde
Morgenster
Loth Lorien
JR Tolkien
Eldorado
Zephyr
Gallant
Iris
Tecla
Jantje

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Festival Day – Saturday 29 August

The focus of the Festival will be in Woolwich, Tall Ships Festival Day takes place on Saturday 29 August and  features family entertainment from 10am to 10pm.

The line-up for the day includes:
Live music stage with special guests
Bandstands and sea shanties
Roving entertainers
Berkeley Summer Festival
Traditional funfair rides and nautical-themed children’s activities
Vintage vehicles
Food and licensed bars
A fireboat from the Fire Brigade
Information stalls from local and national nautical organisations
Nautical history re-enactors (musket-ball making, dockside rope and cordwaining, plus a Naval encampment and Georgian Naval crews)
Sunset picnic area
Food, bar and activities at the Firepower Museum
Local history and children’s activities at the Heritage Centre
Fireworks grand finale at 10pm on the river.

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There will be  fireworks displays on the river at Maritime Greenwich each night (Thursday, Friday and Sunday) around 9.15pm.

On Saturday 29 August, the Tall Ships Festival event at Woolwich Arsenal Riverside will end with a fireworks display on the river at 10pm.

One of the highlights of the Tall Ships festival is the Parade of Sails when the ships cruise in formation  along the River Thames, followed by fireworks. The Parade of Sail will begin at Greenwich on Monday 31 August from 2pm.

The Tall ships are always a wonderful sight on the river and give us a taste of the what the Thames would have been like a couple of hundred years ago.

If you would like further information, visit the Tall Ships  website here

 

The Strange Story of the Cigar Ship on the Isle of Dogs – 1866

Ross Winans -William Foster 1866 (National Maritime Museum, Greenwich)

The Isle of Dogs was known for its shipyards in the 19th century and hundreds of ships were launched, however one of the most remarkable was the Ross Winans launched from the Messrs. Hepworth’s yard in the Isle of Dogs. It was the fourth ship of a revolutionary design that resembled a cigar, hence they became known as Cigar Ships. The ships were designed and built for the Winans family, a very wealthy family from Baltimore in the USA. The first Cigar ship called Winans was launched in Baltimore in 1858, followed by the second launched in St. Petersburg and a third built and launched in Le Havre.

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First Cigar Ship (Baltimore 1858)

There was great interest in the design, however the Winans were often ridiculed by the press for wasting their money on the ships. An article by the Engineer magazine in 1866 gives us more details.

On Monday afternoon at four o’clock Mr. Winans’ yacht, better known as the ” cigar ship,” was launched privately from Messrs. Hepworth’s yard in the Isle of Dogs. Sometime must elapse ere she is ready for sea, and meanwhile we propose to lay before our readers a fuller and more accurate account of this remarkable vessel than has yet appeared in print.
A ” cigar ship ” is no longer a new thing under the sun. Three have been actually constructed, and launched, and tested, while a fourth,the subject of the present article is approaching completion as we write. Therefore, we shall not assume that engineers are ignorant of the popularly received notions regarding the principles which these vessels are intended to embody, nor that they are utter strangers to their history and general construction.

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The Ross Winans being launched at Messrs. Hepworth’s yard in the Isle of Dogs.

The Engineer had been given permission to inspect the ship and was generally quite enthusiastic about the design.

Messrs. Winans’ last yacht, to which we have now fairly come. This vessel was commenced nearly two years since by Mr. Hepworth of the Isle of Dogs. After she had made some progress, however, Messrs. Winans deemed it best to complete her themselves, and for that purpose they made the necessary arrangements with Mr. Hepworth for the use of his yard and plant. Nothing can so effectually dispel preconceived notions regarding Messrs. Winans’ theory as the actual inspection of this vessel. Every facility for this purpose has been courteously placed at our disposal by her builders, and we have been through her, as she lay on the stocks, from end to end.

The Winans yacht is as strong, perhaps, as it is possible to make a vessel;before we have done, our readers will have an opportunity of judging of the merits of the precautions taken to avoid risk of foundering; and her saloons and state rooms exceed in comfort those of any ship of her displacement (500 tons) whose decks we have ever trod.

The Ross Winans was 256 feet long with a 16-foot diameter, it had superstructure on top of the the hull which was 130 feet long and ten feet wide. The ship  was powered by a 22-foot diameter propeller at each end.

For all of its revolutionary design, the ships did not seem to have any real practical use, they were too small for carrying lots of passengers and had not proved they could travel long distances. In fact, the third ship the Walter S. Winans was towed from Le Havre to West India Docks. The Winans would sometimes take the Ross Winans to the Isle of Wight but other than the novelty value were generally ignored. Eventually, in the late nineteenth century, the Ross Winans and Walter S. Winans were moored near Southampton for many years before they were sold for scrap. This was a sad end to ships that to the modern reader resembles submarines and it is surprising that the Winans did not pursue that line of development. It has been reported that the ‘cigar ships’ inspired  Jules Verne in his creation of the submarine Nautilus in his novel, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea but there is no evidence to support this claim.

MV Hebridean Princess in West India Dock – 17th August 2015

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After stating previously that cruise ships very rarely visit West India Dock, we welcome the MV Hebridean Princess into the dock. The MV Hebridean Princess is considered one of the smallest luxury cruise ship afloat and has an intriguing history and a Royal connection.

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Although the MV Hebridean Princess is now considered the height of luxury, the origins of the ship were much more mundane.

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The ship began life as the  MS Columba which was the last of three car ferries built in 1964 by Hall, Russell & Company, Aberdeen and operated by David MacBrayne Ltd, the ship also took up the Isle of Mull service. She travelled around the various Scottish Isles visiting Stornoway, Mallaig, Oban, serving Coll and Tiree, Colonsay, Iona, Lochaline and Tobermory.

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In 1988, she was acquired by Hebridean Island Cruises to offer luxury cruises. After a major refit she emerged as the luxury cruise ship, the MV Hebridean Princess. She began providing luxury cruises around the Western Isles of Scotland. In recent times , the ship’s itineraries have been extended to include Ireland, the Orkney and Shetland islands, the Norwegian Fjords and France.

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The ship is 72 metres long with a  beam of 14 metres, gross tonnage of  2112 and an average speed 12 knots (14 miles per hour). There are only 30 bedrooms on board, all named after West Coast Scottish islands, castles, sounds, lochs and bays – individually designed in the style of a large country hotel – with 10 cabins specifically designed for single occupancy.  With 50 guests looked after by a crew of around 38, The ship is very popular for cruises around the Scottish Isles where her size allows access to many locations not accessible to larger cruise ships.

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The ships transformation from humble car ferry to luxury cruise ship was given a royal seal of approval when HM Queen Elizabeth II chartered the entire ship for a ‘family holiday’ around the Scottish Islands both in 2006 and 2010. It was estimated the charter cost was £125,000 for the use of the ship.

The ship departs for one of its cruises in the next couple of days, it is one of the most unusual cruise ships in service and a welcome and interesting visitor to the dock.