Tamesis Club

Tall Ship Tales

Tall Ship Tales

Fifty Tamesis members and guests heard Commodore Stewart Colley give a talk on Thursday 2 April on how he sailed across the Atlantic last year from Halifax, Nova Scotia, to London in the Jubilee Sailing Trust’s square rigger Lord Nelson, affectionately nicknamed Nellie by her crew.

Illustrated by many pictures, displayed on a large screen, following supper, his talk covered the 3,678 nautical miles Atlantic crossing with a crew of 47 that included a number of disabled sailors, some of whom were in wheelchairs. They left Halifax on Friday 20 August.

Stewart, who grew a beard during the crossing, could by identified on the pictures by the Tamesis burgee on his cap, wherever he was on the ship, from pulling ropes on deck to reefing sails on the topsail yards. He had hoped to visit Reykjavik and the Faroe Islands during the trip but expressed his disappointment when the Captain wisely decided on Wednesday 24 August to change course to the Azores to avoid a hurricane and volcanic eruption in Iceland. They arrived at Horta on Thursday 4 September.

He gave a vivid account of life on board with the variations in the watch system, from the middle watch from midnight to 4 am, to washing clothes, helping the ship’s cook prepare food in the galley, and maintenance and making music.   The voyage ended with a sail up the Thames to Tower Bridge, arriving on Friday 19 September.

Stewart’s friend and bunkmate on the voyage, Bob Cotterill, was there to make sure he got the story right. Also present was Clive Mence, captain of the Tamesis Offshore Group, who had completed an earlier southern ocean passage on Nellie’s circumnavigation.

John Adams, Rear Commodore House, introduced Stewart and led the applause when he thanked him afterwards.

To view pictures of the Lord Nelson’s arrival in London taken by Michael Colley please click on the following link