Replica sails in of the boat that ‘told England Nelson is dead’

SHE has been dismasted in a storm, lost her propeller and skipper Mal Nicholson dare not say how much her restoration has cost him.

A replica of HMS Pickle set sail from Gosport this morning en route to Dover and eventually her new home on the Humber (Crown Copyright)

He and HMS Pickle, a replica of Nelson’s warship, will get a hero’s welcome when they arrive at Hull Marina tomorrow afternoon with an escort from Humber Lifeboat, as well as Royal Naval patrol vessel HMS Explorer.

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The ship, that featured in Tom Cunliffe’s TV series Boats that Built Britain, was bought by Mr Nicholson, Keadby-based owner of the historic Humber sloop Spider T, from a boatyard in Gibralter where she was rotting and close to collapse.

The original “little Pickle” delivered the news from Vice Admiral Collingwood to the Admiralty of the great victory at Trafalgar and the death of Lord Nelson in 1805. Even today the Royal Navy celebrates Pickle Night on November 6. The schooner, built in 1995, was restored for the Trafalgar 200 celebrations in 2005. Afterwards, Pickle was sold and languished in Gibraltar until last year. Mr Nicholson said: “I have rescued her, not for me, but for the nation. Nobody else would have ploughed in the amount of time, effort and money that I have with a view of not getting very much back in return.”