World Ship Society Gloucester Branch 2017/2018

For its Monday 13 February meeting the World Ship Society Gloucester Branch enjoyed a presentation by Branch member Ted Tedaldi entitled "A Year In Gloucester Docks" - chronicling the twelve months from October 2015 and concluding with a Good Friday voyage down the Gloucester and Sharpness Canal aboard Britain's Scottish built twelve metre 1958 Americas Cup competitor "Sceptre". Also seen under restoration were the three masted barque "Kaskelot" with its variable pitch propeller, schooner "Den Store Bjorern" (pictured) and the Bristol Channel pilot cutters Mascotte - dating from 1904 - and Fleetwood built Alpha of similar vintage.Monday 11 September 2017 marked the start of a new season of meetings for the Gloucester Branch of the World Ship Society in a brand new venue: Community Space, Tesco Store, St Oswald Road, Gloucester GL1 2SG.  All meetings will start at 1930 and attendees are requested to sign in at the Customer Services Desk.  Everyone is welcome and the meeting programme is as follows:

 

 

 

Monday 9 October 2017
Severn Area Rescue Association
Deryck Pritchard
Monday 13 November 2017
 Rail and Shipping Entwined
Alan Drewett
Monday 11 December 2017
Photographic Competition and Christmas Buffet
Monday 8 January 2018
Gloucester Docks on TV
Hugh Conway-Jones
Monday 12 February 2018
Transatlantic-Westbound
Keith Reed
Monday 12 March 2018
The Severn Bore
Chris Witts
Monday 9 April 2018
 1960s Steam and Diesel
Peter Evans
Monday 14 May 2018
AGM followed by Ken Guest’s Norwegian Odyssey
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Greenock born Captain Edwin Gregson(1929-1987), master of the MV Tropic, on a summer 1976 voyage from Falmouth to the American Gulf Ports of New Orleans, Port Arthur, Galveston and Houston and thence via a transit of the Panama Canal to Australia, New Zealand and back via the Caribbean.On Monday 11 September our 2017/ 2018 season began at the new venue of The Community Space, Tesco store, St Oswald’s Road, with a traditional WSS Powerpoint presentation of slides taken by Greenock born Captain Edwin Gregson (1929-1987), master of the MV Tropic, on a summer 1976 voyage from Falmouth to the American Gulf Ports of New Orleans, Port Arthur, Galveston and Houston and thence via a transit of the Panama Canal to Australia, New Zealand and back via the Caribbean.
The 6 660 GRT MV Tropic (pictured above) had been built at Burntisland, Scotland, in 1965 as the Nova Scotia for Liverpool based Furness Withy Ltd but was renamed at Falmouth – just before the voyage in the presentation.  Retaining the IMO registration 6501305, MV Tropic stayed under charter to Shaw Savill and Albion until 1978 when she became the Booker Valiant.  A move to Saudi ownership in 1980 saw the name change again to Arab Dabbor and then, from 1986 to scrapping in 1998, to Arab Hind.
Edwin Gregson had previously served on Furness Withy's Vickers-Armstrong built refrigerator cargo ship Pacific Reliance and the liners Ocean Monarch and Queen of Bermuda. Edwin Gregson had previously served on Furness Withy’s Vickers-Armstrong built refrigerator cargo ship Pacific Reliance and the liners Ocean Monarch and Queen of Bermuda. Ocean Monarch, like its chilled out fleetmate, was built on Tyneside in 1951 but sank after a fire thirty years later. Queen of Bermuda meanwhile was a Vickers-Armstrong product of 1933 and became one of the “Millionaires ships”, cruising to Bermuda from New York.  However, her lavish wood panelled interior may have contributed – on safety grounds – to her retirement in 1966, by which time she had been reduced from three funnels to one.
The outward voyage of the MV Tropic, using long range radio navigation (LORAN), coincided with the opening of the Olympic Games in Toronto and landfall was first made in the grain exporting centre of New Orleans.  Further stops were made at Port Arthur ( home of Janis Joplin) to load oil products and also at Houston, sailing past Galveston’s Point Bolivar lighthouse to Houston where the Port Authority celebrated the MV Tropic’s first visit with a commemorative plaque.
Meanwhile, between Sydney and Melbourne, the MV Tropic’s lifeboat helped in the search for the missing crew of the five metre yacht Tiger Shark III which had been reported capsized in the area trying to cross the Bass Straits to Tasmania.  Sadly, two bodies were later washed ashore.  Captain Gregson then set a course for Brisbane where he collected a cargo of combine harvesters and took them, via New Zealand and Jamaica, to San Juan, Puerto Rico.  The voyage ended at Bridgetown Barbados where Captain Gregson relinquished command, flew home and later became the Chairman of the Mid Essex branch of the World Ship Society.