The vessel’s Godmother, Heidi Olden, with ABP Southampton Harbour Master Steve Masters
and Sailors’ Society’s Southampton Port Chaplain Frans Sahetapy
ABP’s Port of Southampton has officially named its brand-new pilot launch, Mayflower. In a ceremony that took place in the port’s eastern docks on 20 May 2022, members of the port’s marine team were joined by the vessel’s Godmother, Heidi Olden, and Sailors’ Society’s Port Chaplin, Frans Sahetapy, to name and bless Mayflower before she goes into service next month.
Mayflower, whose name pays homage to the Pilgrim Fathers’ iconic ship’s connection to Southampton, is the first of three new launches for ABP’s Southampton region, and one of nine across ABP’s ports, representing a total investment of around £9m. Each of these faster, more fuel-efficient vessels delivers an approximate 40% fuel saving through an innovative forward ‘beak’ and double chine hull design that enables the vessel to cut through the waves. The vessels are constructed in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, by Goodchild Marine. Mayflower will join the current fleet of launches at the ABP pilot station in Gosport and be used to safely transport Southampton pilots to and from large ships entering and leaving the port.
The ship’s Godmother, Heidi Olden, is married to ABP Southampton’s Marine Services Supervisor Gary Olden and spent over a decade working in maritime, as well as “20 years putting up with my shifts,” says Gary. Naming the boat, Heidi said: “It is my great honour to name Mayflower. May all who sail in her and stay safe and prosper.” In his blessing, Reverend Frans Sahetapy from Sailors’ Society, which offers support to seafarers around the world, asked for protection for “this vessel, those who built her and those who will serve upon her.”
ABP Southampton Harbour Master, Steve Masters, says: “We are very grateful to Heidi and Frans for joining us for this special occasion as we welcome Mayflower to our fleet and look forward to seeing her in action safely transporting our pilots this summer.”