It /is/ quite a spectacle – and well worth watching from a boat afloat or from the land – the point at Oare Marshes is a good spot.
The current owners have sent out the following email appealing for someone to take over the care of Beric, a well known sailing barge.
‘We are the owners of Beric, a traditional Thames Sailing Barge built in 1896 in Harwich, which we have owned since 2009. She is one of the last remaining all-wood Thames Sailing barges, built originally to carry grain, but at different times in her life she has moved all sorts of cargoes, and been everything from a houseboat to a nightclub. She is registered on the National Historic Ships Register.
‘We would like to ensure that Beric is preserved as a living part of Britain’s maritime heritage but we are forced to face the fact that she is now in need of more work to keep her afloat than we will ever be able to afford. Tim Goldsack has been looking after her at his shipyard in Faversham but she needs a complete rebuild to prevent her from disintegrating. We are not in a position to manage that, so so with enormous regret we are forced to contemplate the break up and destruction of this piece of Britain’s history. We don’t want to do that.
‘Rather than have her broken up, we would prefer to donate her to a charity, trust or individual who has the time and capacity to restore and revive her as a long-term project. This might be a company which has a history of having Thames barges as a part of its own heritage, an individual or family who has a love of or connection with these vessels, or a trust or foundation interested in preserving our maritime heritage. It might be a collection of interested people; there is no reason why ownership could not pass to a group of people with a shared interest. We would remain committed to supporting the new owner or owners in any way we could to ensure that Beric’s legacy continues.
‘Are you that organisation or individual, or do you know of anyone who might be interested? Please feel free to forward this email to anyone who might have an interest, or advertise this opportunity in places where people might see it. We are happy to answer any questions. We are open to any ideas or offers that would give Beric a fighting chance of survival.
‘Our contacting details are as follows: email@example.com and 07772 342724.
‘Alistair and Jo’
The excellent Spitalfields Life takes a trip to Chatham Dockyard, and meets and ancient mariner… See also the Gentle Author’s outings to Sheerness and the Old Royal Naval College at Greenwich.
My thanks to Malcolm Woods for spotting this one.