Blue Mermaid, said to be the first Thames Sailing Barge built for trade since 1930, has arrived at Maldon and will be at Maldon Hythe Quay for viewing on the 6th-8th July.
The 87ft steel barge, which will be based in Essex, was commissioned by a local charity, the Sea-Change Sailing Trust and will be used for their work with young people as well as carrying cargo. The charity works with disabled and disadvantaged young people as well as those challenged by traditional educational settings, experiencing social exclusion or at risk of offending.
The barge was built at the boatyard of C Toms and Son in Cornwall, and will now be fitted out and rigged by TS Rigging of Maldon.
Blue Mermaid is a replica of a barge of the same name, which was sunk by a mine during World War ll with the loss of her crew. As a traditional Thames sailing barge, she will not have an engine and will be able to transport the equivalent of up to six articulated lorry loads in a low carbon environment.
Sea-Change Sailing Trust’s Chair of Trustees, Hilary Halajko said the that bringing the barge to Maldon marked a landmark in the charity’s ambition to get a new sailing barge into operation. Having raised £450,000, it now has to raise £150,000, but it is hoped that Blue Mermaid will enter service during 2017.
This is the first of a short series by Simon North. Part 2 is here and part 3 is here.
Check his YouTube account for more sailing barge stuff!
The Faversham Creek Trust and local boatbuilder Alan Thorne (see his ad in the left-hand column) are raising funds for a project they’re calling Boat Camp – the idea is to get ten or so youngsters from Faversham’s Abbey School into a workshop for a fortnight this summer to build a couple of legendary New Zealand designer John Welsford’s lovely Joansa skiffs.
The project will be based in the FCT’s Purifier building by the Creek.
Alan has set up a Givey site for donations. The FCT is looking for funding for this from lots of sources including Givey
Another upcoming FCT event is the forthcoming Brents Dinner on the 2nd July. It’s a community fundraiser for the Brents Community Association, which is raising money for the Nautical Festival and for the cost of their planned open air gym. I’m told it was a great night last year, when it was held for the Swing the Bridge fund. Download this poster for details.
Fundraising for a Summer Boat Camp for ten 14-16 year olds from Abbey School, Faversham. Under supervised, expert instruction they will build two 15′ 6″ rowing boats (a ‘Joansa’ design – a lightweight skiff for two oarsmen plus one coxswain) in Faversham Creek Trust’s Purifier Building. The finished boats will then be kept by the school for use on Faversham Creek or elsewhere.