The HATHERLEIGH was originally named SUFFOLK PUNCH (LT 395) and was built in Lowestoft by the Shipyard of Richards Iron Works Ltd as Yard Number 461. She was launched on 4th March 1961. She was owned by Small and Co. The SUFFOLK PUNCH was one of five sister ships all of very similar design and all built between 1960 and 1961.
She’s believed to be one of the last ‘Sidewinder’ trawlers to be built and, at the time, considered to be the fastest of the East Coast fleet and the pinnacle in the evolution of the sidewinder design.
In 1983 she was converted from a trawler to work as a rig support vessel and in 1993 she was bought again by the by print company Pindar Plc in Scarborough and converted for use as a venue for corporate entertainment as well as a support vessel for Pindar’s ocean racing yacht.
During December 2003 she sailed a thousand miles into the Atlantic Ocean to rescue Trans-Atlantic sailor Jean-Pierre Dick who had been dis-masted on his racing yacht VIRBAC. The yacht had rolled 360° in 50 knot winds and waves over twenty feet tall. It was thought to be the longest tow in yacht racing history. The HATHERLEIGH sailed as far as the Mediterranean and some of the world’s most revered sailors boarded the HATHERLEIGH.
In 2006, the HATHERLEIGH made history. She became the first vessel to be boarded by the Russians under the UN Resolutions Act. It was a training exercise and was supervised by the USS BARRY DDG 52; HMS MONMOUTH F 235 and FS DE GRASSE D 612. The Russians used their flagship battleship for the exercise, the RFS ADMIRAL CHENKOV 605. The exercise took place off the English Channel. The HATHERLEIGH and her crew were playing the part of a blockade runner. She was ordered to stop. The skipper said no. They then threatened to fire. The skipper still said no. Eventually the naval vessels blocked the HATHERLEIGH from escaping and the skipper allowed the Russian armed forces to board the vessel. The crew were tied up and held at gunpoint on the main deck and the skipper showed the Russian forces leader their papers. The exercise was a success.
However, Pindar was being hit hard by the beginning of the economic downturn and needed to cut costs. The HATHERLEIGH had to be sold with her first buyer was Dalby Offshore who did very little and she was just berthed in the harbour . Then in December 2009 she was sold to her first private, and current, owner. The owner was a member of Scarborough Sub-Aqua Club. A keen diver, he wanted to use the vessel as a diving expedition vessel.
In November 2013, the HATHERLEIGH was sold to a wine trading company in the Mediterranean. On 5th January 2014 at 0631 hrs, she sailed out of Scarborough Harbour under the command of a foreign skipper. Ten hours later the coastguard were called after she had lost all electronic navigation equipment and the skipper did not have a chart for the area. At the time he was sailing in the Humber estuary, one of the busiest waterways in the country. The Grimsby R.N.L.I. all weather lifeboat was launched and escorted the HATHERLEIGH into Grimsby. It emerged that the skipper hadn’t charged the batteries fully and there were doubts as to whether he was appropriately qualified for the job. About two weeks later another crew more suitably qualified were flown out and sailed the HATHERLEIGH to the Mediterranean.
Images below are of HATHERLEIGH arriving at Valletta, Malta under the command of Capt. Ernest Pulis back to 8th April,2014 –
Photos by Capt. Lawrence Dalli. Do not use these images without my permission. © All rights reserved. Malta Ship Photos & Action Photos – www.maltashipphotos.com