After the Battle of Trafalgar and the death of Nelson in 1805, the Royal Navy sent their fast schooner Pickle back to Falmouth and, in 13 days, she carried the news home.

The Pickle had already been a fast and successful privateer when the Admiralty fitted her out with whaler’s sails so that she could move amongst the enemy shipping. If detected, she was fast enough to sail away from trouble. After Trafalgar she returned to spying until being wrecked near Cadiz Bay in 1808.

A unique reproduction of the Pickle was built in 1995. When Mel Nicholson bought her at Gibraltar, in 2015, she was full of water and rotten wood. Mel took the Pickle to Portugal and had 24 tons of new wood put into her hull before bringing her to Hull to be berthed near his Humber sloop Spider T, which does static charters. Mel bought a 2lb King George III cannon and had seven more made to that design. This year the Pickle has had a new suit of sails, by North Sea Sails, made to the pattern of Steel’s rigging book of 1792. The material is ‘clipper’ a manmade fibre produced by Heathcoate, a firm that was owned by Richard Hayward who had made sails for HMS Victory.

On October 24, Pickle left Hull and, after firing a six-gun salute, made a very fast passage of 24 hours to Harwich, and then on to Dover, Eastbourne, and Portsmouth for the ‘Pickle Evening.’ She returned to Harwich, after calling at Dover, and then went up the River Stour to Holbrook Bay. Here a six-gun salute was fired at 11am, off the Royal Hospital School at Holbrook to mark Armistice Day.

More on this and other news in Sea Breezes Magazine - January 2018 Issue
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