Category Archives: History

Does anyone know the story of a small yacht called Harnser?

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Harnser as she is now

A chap called Nigel has been in touch to appeal for some background knowledge about a boat he has bought as a project. If you know anything that seems relevant please either add it to the comments below or write to me direct at

Here’s what he says:

‘She is called Harnser and has the place name Maldon on her transom. She came ashore on the rock’s below the world famous Golden Cap cliffs on the Dorset coast. A a rescue took place, but the boat was left to the elements.

Fortunately, the weather improved very quickly and she survived long enough for a rescue attempt to be made, and she was taken into Westbay Harbour, where she was lifted out – at which point the bottom was found to be very badly damaged.

At this point the story took a turn for the worse and the boat had to be disposed of. There was quite a lot of newspaper coverage about it at the time which you can see by putting the boat name in Google!

I enclose a picture of her in her current state. I have the mast and some of the rails, but she was partially stripped for repair work and bits went missing… I’m sure somebody could repair her.

I am keen to trace any history of her past and hope you may have somebody in the know among your readers?

Many thanks, Nigel

The sad story of Harnser’s loss appeared in the Western Morning News.


Refurbished Thames barge Edith May at sea and sailing well

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Thames sailing barge Edith May

Edward Gransden has kindly been in touch with these photos of the Thames sailing barge named Edith May, which has this month been sailing for the first time in ten years or more. Here’s what he says:

‘Please find attached a couple of photos from our first sail. We are intending to charter with individuals and groups up to 12 throughout the summer, operating from Lower Halstow, Chatham and Queenborough.

‘Having spent the past 10 and a half years restoring her, it was a great thrill to be able to take her out sailing for the first time, with her performance proving very pleasing. The Swale Match in August will be the first chance we get to see if she has retained the pace she was once renowned for!’

Thanks Edward! Any time you have photos and stories to share let me know.

It happens that we were over at Lower Halstow this weekend, and found the Edith May in the dock looking very smart. I took some shots with my camera phone – but I’m damned if I can get them out. It’s a better camera than you might think, but the connections and software make me curse!

Here’s an earlier post featuring the Edith May, and here’s a link to the Edith May website.

Alastair Brian Atkin crosses the bar

Alastair Brian Atkin 1930-2010

My father Alastair Brian Atkin – here pictured with his cousin Jean at the fishing village of Chapel St Leonards, Lincolnshire in about 1933-4. The sand hills in the background have long gone

My dear father Alastair Brian Atkin MBE – Brian to many and Alastair to a few – sadly passed away a couple of weeks ago, and I found this photo of him in a fishing boat rigged for sailing at Chapel St Leonards while researching for a speech I was asked to give at a service to give thanks for his life.

Does anyone know anything about this boat please? Is there a story to tell?

Dad knew good times and bad, but in the end I think he had a happy and successful life. He also introduced me to the sea and boating, traditional music and social history – so I have much to thank him for. After the turmoil of the past little while, I went for a long planned couple of days sailing with a friend this past weekend – and I must say that I’m greatly saddened to be unable to tell my father about it.

I should add that Dad was a great fan of Tennyson, a poet closely associated with his home county of Lincolnshire, so it seems appropriate to bring out a poem that’s often quoted at times like these – Crossing the Bar.

Crossing the Bar

SUNSET and evening star,
And one clear call for me!
And may there be no moaning of the bar,
When I put out to sea,
But such a tide as moving seems asleep,
Too full for sound and foam,
When that which drew from out the boundless deep
Turns again home.

Twilight and evening bell,
And after that the dark!
And may there be no sadness or farewell,
When I embark;

For tho’ from out our bourne of Time and Place
The flood may bear me far,
I hope to see my Pilot face to face
When I have crost the bar.